Our workshop has three aims:
First, to showcase ways in which open government champions at different levels (national and across countries) are taking innovative, politically savvy approaches to implementing ambitious open government reforms that work in their contexts;
Second, to give workshop participants an opportunity to share experiences, learn from one another, and reflect on the ways in which they navigate the politics of open government reform in their own contexts;
Third, to provide a space in which participants can work together to generate suggestions as to how OGP and its partners might help them more effectively think and work politically to define and implement ambitious OGP commitments.
By the end of the session, our goal is that participants will have learned about a few cutting edge approaches that pro-reform actors are taking to engaging with and supporting OGP at various levels, have a stronger sense of whether/how those approaches, operationally and practically, might inform their own efforts to implement ambitious OGP commitments, and contribute their insights as to how OGP and others might more effectively support the operationalization of those approaches.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is at a critical juncture. Having expanded from 11 to 70 countries in just five years, the initiative has kickstarted the adoption of thousands of open government commitments, from participatory budgeting in the Philippines to e-procurement reforms in Costa Rica. However, emerging evidence indicates that, in at least some OGP countries, reformers experience challenges in their efforts to leverage the OGP platform to make progress on deep, sustainable reform. Data from the OGP’s own IRM reaches similar conclusions: according to analysis of IRM data, only 12% of commitments are assessed to be potentially transformative and only 6% are potentially transformative and completed. OGP therefore faces a twofold challenge: raising ambition, and closing the gap between commitments and their implementation.
Recent research by Global Integrity suggests that, in order to overcome these challenges, open government champions may benefit from thinking and working politically, and learning to engage with, navigate, and shape the politics of reform in their contexts. But what does it mean to think and work politically? How can doing so support efforts to close implementation gaps, and to pursue ambitious reforms? What are the operational implications of this kind of perspective? And what support to pro-reform actors on the ground need in order to be more effective?
This workshop will engage with just these questions, and do so in a hands-on, collaborative fashion. After a short presentation by Global Integrity, two pro-reform actors working at different levels - national, and across countries - will briefly share their approaches to supporting ambitious open government reform, including the challenges they face, and the ways in which they are thinking and working politically in order to overcome those challenges. Participants will then have the opportunity, in small groups, to:
- Reflect on whether and how the presentations resonate with their own experiences;
- Discuss the challenges they face in their work with OGP, and the ways in which they think and work politically to overcome those challenges;
- Consider the support and resources, if any, they might need in order to more effectively navigate the politics of ambitious OGP commitments.
In the final plenary, each small group will summarize their reflections and discussion for other participants. In doing so, they will have the opportunity to further examine the case for taking politically savvy approaches to open government efforts, and deepen their understanding of what doing so might look like in a practical sense in their contexts.