22 February 2012
The Open Government Partnership now has 52 participating countries. Last week Panama and Costa Rica made commitments to develop the national plans to fulfil the Open Government Declaration. The World Bank is championing membership and providing support for Member States to put these plans, described as an iterative process, into action.
The commitment is novel in most countries because it involves publishing their process for achieving open government and being exposed to international scrutiny. A United States Under-Secretary of State indicated at last week’s World Bank meeting that the idea of planning with a living document was uncomfortable, even for the eight founding countries.
The US, together with the other seven founding Members led the way with the launch of theirs National Action Plans in September 2011. The other governments are scheduled to present their plans at an April OGP meeting n Brazil. However when the OGP co-chairs, (United States and Brazil) asked governments to update their progress with developing action plans, only 20 countries provided the expected status reports.
This means that half the OGP membership seems to be falling behind already. A list of the “defaulters” is perhaps evidence that good intentions and the demands of the Open Government Declaration are a challenge. The missing are: Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the Ukraine.
New Zealand’s tardiness in becoming involved with the OGP may indicate a reluctance to be associated with some of these jurisdictions. There has been no public indication yet that Australia proposes to join the OGP either.
The OGP website is a rich information source.