Open Government Partnership ‘needs more stretching goals’

2 Nov 15

Anti-corruption campaign Transparency International has criticised the Open Government Partnership, saying its strategy is lacking and urged the 66-member group to stretch its ambitions.

Transparency International said the OGP’s primary aim of making governments more transparent was a good first step, but commitments to act to reduce corruption and inequality, protect human rights and ensure more effective and accountable public services should be central to the partnership’s goals.

OGP commitments are less likely to be met in countries with higher levels of corruption, Transparency International said, and voiced concerns that countries could use their OGP commitments to “bolster their reputations” while at the same time closing space for civil society and violating civil and human rights.

Transparency International said that, in more than half of the 25 OGP countries where it work,s OGP national action plans were said to have no new commitments and failed to adequately reflect recommendations from civil society.

It called for a number of changes that it said would help the OGP truly achieve its mission including: a protocol for sanctions and disbarment if OGP governments fail in their commitments; better complaint mechanisms to help keep track of implementation; and improved governance within the OGP Steering Committee, including preventing conflicts of interest.

For example, some civil society members of the OGP’s steering committee are also employees of major donors to the partnership. While there is no suspicion of wrong doing, the campaign said things could be seen as inappropriately muddled when people there in an independent capacity also, in a separate capacity, hold the purse strings.

Last week, United Nations Development Programme administrator Helen Clark addressed the OGP’s third global summit in Mexico and called on member nations to work with the UN to build open and transparent institutions around the world.

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