U.S. Group Builds OGP Website, Plans Teams

9 March 2012

A civil society group in the United States, OpenTheGovernment.org, has established a website to coordinate U.S. CSO activities in the context of the Open Government Partnership and is offering to help CSOs in other nations create websites, too.

The new website unveils plans for creation of 19 “teams” that will work with the government on different parts of the U.S. national action plan and evaluate progress.

All OGP member nations commit to prepare national action plans containing voluntary commitments to improve transparency, and to do so with public participation. The eight founding OGP countries, including the United States, have prepared such plans. Most of the other OGP members are developing plans in advance of the OGP meeting April 17-28 in Brazil.

The U.S. CSOs hope their website and organizational plan will serve as a model for others.

In other OGP-related developments, the OGP announced an internship program and the World Bank issued an invitation to participate in a forum on information and communication technologies.

U.S. Action Site

The website will serve as “a central location for information” for encouraging involvement. A statement on the website explains further:

Once the teams are formed, there will be several accomplishments that we will be working towards:

  1. Connect each CSO team to the responsible individual(s) inside the government to collaborate on the effective completion of the goal.
  2. Develop metrics to evaluate the Administration’s accomplishments of its US National Action Plan commitments.
  3. Analyze the Administration’s success according to these metrics.

It is our sincere hope that the partnerships formed from this exercise will be beneficial to all involved and become self-sustaining. In addition, it is our intention to develop metrics that will credit the Administration for its successes, while simultaneously providing context for what work still needs to be done.

According to the group, “The White House has agreed to set up meetings with each of these teams and the responsible official(s) inside the government.” Some meetings have begun.

Team leaders have been selected but their names have not yet been made public. The team structures align with the commitments in the U.S. action plan.

Encouraging Others

OpenTheGovernment.org  is offering to help others establish other sites.

Another new website invites other CSO communities to set up country sites and offers to help. Moldova is working on one.

World Bank Webinar Announced

Information and communication technologies (ICT) will be the subject for Webinar #3 of the OGP webinar series presented by the World Bank Institute March 7. Register to attend here:  http://bit.ly/xJSE2Q

 This webinar “will provide a comprehensive overview of how governments may reap the benefits gained from citizen engagement and how technology may enhance these processes. It shall look at concrete cases of ICT-facilitated citizen engagement, and how they can be replicated and scaled within different contexts.”

 To join the session online use this link to login 5 minutes before the webinar is scheduled to start: http://worldbankva.adobeconnect.com/ogpweb/

OGP Internships Established

The OGP has offered unpaid internships to undergraduate internships “on an as-needed basis.”

“OGP interns will have an integrated experience at OGP and the opportunity to make substantive contributions to program and online activities. OGP develops specific work plans for each intern and assigns targeted projects to each position. Given that OGP staff members are geographically distributed, students may apply from any location (within or outside the U.S.) to work with OGP, as long as they are able to virtually participate in staff meetings and other calls as needed,” according to the announcement, which also lists qualifications.

New Video Issued

OGP also has issued a new promotional video.

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