Open Government Partnership's First Anniversary

Last year we posted about the establishment of the Open Government Partnership which aims to foster

“more transparent, effective and accountable governments — with institutions that empower citizens and are responsive to their aspirations”

Originally a partnership of eight states and when it was established in 2011, 38 countries pledged to join immediately. Today, having successfully seen out its first year, the partnership now has 48 states, meeting minimum openness criteria and constantly looking to improve.

From our perspective, with a focus on Africa, it’s great to see four more countries signing up to these demanding commitments on open government. Tanzania and Kenya join South Africa as full members with Ghana and Liberia following close behind as they complete their action plans for membership.

Other than a burgeoning membership, the Open Government Partnership’s success lies in the development of its Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM), launched on the Partnership’s first anniversary. The IRM will receive and independently scrutinise every countries efforts to realise more open and accountable government. That so many countries will voluntary commit to this process of external and standardised examination is a welcome development.

Upon joining every state submits an action plan for development. Despite large differences in wealth, governmental institutions and capacity it is interesting to see how many of the countries promise similar commitments whether in Europe, Asia, South America or Africa! For us it is even more encouraging to see so many of these common solutions utilising ICT too! Some of the solutions involving ICT include open data portals in Chile, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Peru, Romania, Spain and Tanzania; interactive local water-point mapping systems in Tanzania; and e-petitioning in Ukraine, Slovak Republic, Moldova and Montenegro.