News 26th August 2016

Invitation to contribute to the Open Government Partnership’s strategic refresh

by Tim Hughes

Originally posted on the Open Government Partnership blog:


by Alejandro Gonzalez Arreola and Manish Bapna

Next month, Open Government Partnership (OGP) will be marking its fifth anniversary. This sets the scene for us to celebrate the achievements of OGP – which at its essence has been about building a growing  movement, currently 70 countries and thousands of civil society organizations, committed to advance open government. As we commend the efforts of governments to make their functioning more open and participatory, we need to also recognize the indispensable role that civil society has played in the journey.

What makes OGP unique is its model – one that puts civil society at the heart of the policymaking process. The perspectives and collective vision of the diverse civil society community are therefore critical to any conversation on the way forward for OGP. The fifth year milestone provides us with an opportune moment to pause and take stock, not just as the Steering Committee and Support Unit, but as the open government community globally. We hope to use this time to highlight our achievements, as well as areas where more needs to be done for OGP to live up to its promise of changing the culture of government. As shared before, there are significant challenges that continue to persist – to strengthen government leadership and ambition; to advance implementation; to ensure that civil society truly has the space to dialogue and work with government; and to ensure that commitments made address material policy concerns at country level and ultimately improve the lives of people.

Strategic Refresh has been commissioned by the Steering Committee. Informed by a mid-term review of the current strategic plan, the strategic refresh will directly determine OGP’s strategic and programmatic choices for the next few years. To this end, the civil society members of the Steering Committee are initiating a series of community conversations to engage the OGP civil society community in the Strategic Refresh. These conversations will help ensure that priorities from the diverse thematic interests, regions, and political contexts of the civil society community, are represented in the ongoing conversations about the future of OGP.

We invite you to participate and draw on your experience from leading OGP in your countries, to tell us how the OGP process is working in your countries; opportunities you see for OGP over the next few years; and the themes that need our collective focus and attention.

We would like this community consultation process to mirror the consultation guidelines as much as is feasible. The civil society members of the Steering Committee will lead several online and offline conversations to surface and co-create the priorities that should inform OGP’s strategic direction. Each of these conversations will be open and accessible to all members of the community, but will be organized by region, to manage logistic and timezone constraints. These conversations will be documented and shared with the full Steering Committee, and will also be shared with the wider community. We kicked off these series of conversations last month during the Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue, hosted by the Asian Development Bank in Manila. We received valuable input from our colleagues there, and are enthused about our engagement with colleagues in other regions.

This letter from the community – signed earlier this year by 64 civil society organizations – came at a time when the Steering Committee had also recognized the need to do more to both broaden and deepen channels of engagement with the global community of civil society. In the spirit of OGP, the Steering Committee hopes to ensure that the process of co-creation governs not just domestic OGP processes, but also key decision points in the global governance and strategy conversations. Furthermore, as highlighted in the Steering Committee’s response to the letter, it set in motion several efforts, which include greater transparency and participation in the selection of the civil society members of the Steering Committee. Feedback from civil society also led to the development of revised co-creation guidelines for the National Action Plan process, which are currently being reviewed by the Criteria and Standards subcommittee. We have provided details about each of the civil society members of the Steering Committee, so that you might know more about our thematic interest areas and how to reach us. In addition, going forward the key takeaways and action items of all meetings of the civil society members are also published online, so that the community is kept informed about our work and can provide their inputs on an ongoing basis. Further, each Steering Committee member now signs a Terms of Reference document, to confirm their commitment to the Open Government Declaration and representing the interests of civil society in OGP conversations.

Please review the schedule below. OGP started as a bold idea that has evolved into a credible, dynamic model for change through open and participatory policymaking. We hope you will share the details of these 45-min conversations with your networks and look forward to our conversations in the coming weeks!



Conversation details Date & Time Led by Registration Link Last date for registration

Language: English

September 6 
1pm GMT/ 2pm London time
(Link to timezone converter(link is external))
Mukelani Dimba, Aidan Eyakuze, Zuzana Wienk is external) September 6 

(one hour before the scheduled time for the call)


Language: Spanish

September 6 
4.30pm GMT/ 12.30pm Washington DC time
(Link to timezone converter(link is external))
Alejandro Gonzalez,
Maria Baron is external) September 1

(one hour before the scheduled time)


Language: French

September 7 
11am GMT/ 12 Noon London time
(Link to timezone converter(link is external))
Helen Darbishire is external) September 7

(one hour before the scheduled time)


Language: English

September 7 
7pm GMT/ 3pm Washington DC time
(Link to timezone converter(link is external))
Manish Bapna, Nathaniel Heller is external) September 7 

(one hour before the scheduled time)


Conversation details Led by
Sofia, Bulgaria
NAP launchSeptember 14
Veronica Cretu
Bucharest, Romania
Govt-CSO meeting on Romanian self-assessment reportSeptember 15
Veronica Cretu
New York City, USA
UN General Assembly meetings and OGP 5-year anniversarySeptember 21
All civil society members of the Steering Committee
Madrid, Spain
International Open Data ConferenceOctober 6-7
Helen Darbishire, Robin Hodess
Panama City, Panama
International Anti-Corruption ConferenceDecember 1-4
Robin Hodess