Some Ineligible OGP Countries Ask How to Join

30 September 2011

Countries who do not currently qualify for membership in the Open Government Partnership have been asking how they could get in the door.

Botswana, Mauritius and Tunisia are among a half dozen ineligible countries that have expressed an interest, according to Caroline Maudlin, Special Assistant to the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs.

The U.S. ambassador to Botswana has responded by discussing the membership standards with the prime minister, Maudlin noted Sept. 28 at a conference sponsored by the American University Washington College of Law. Passage of a freedom of information law would be one thing that Botswana could do to boost its rating. The opposition party there and civil society groups have promoted a bill. (See previous report.)

The approaches from ineligible nations suggest the appeal of participation on the OGP, which was officially launched Sept. 20. (See previous reports.)

Countries joining pledge to write nationl action plans The commitments just made by the founding eight countries have been analyzed bythe group Global Integrity.


OGP organizers established a 16-point rating system to determine which countries had made a commitment to transparency on a number of fronts. There were 79 countries who made the cut and 46 are now members.

The scores of the 79 qualified members have been published, but not the scores of ineligible countries. The scoring system, however, is described in detail on the OGP website.  The expectations for members also are laid out.

The interest shown by ineligible countries affirms organizers hope membership would have its attractions.  also has learned that several of the 33 countries that are eligible but chose not to join also may add their names to the list of members.

The list of 33 countries not joining so far is:

Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Luxembourg, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago and Uganda.

“Whole Lot of Momentum”

Maudlin said there is “a whole lot of momentum” propelling the OGP. She said at the opening event in New York, attended by President Obama and other heads of state, she observed presidents “perk up” and say “this is something we are going to work on as part of our legacy.”

She noted that the OGP continues to evolve and “we are realizing just how big this could be.”

The OGP will soon be issuing statements on disclosure, governance and finances, she said.

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