OGP May Delay London Meeting Until October

26 July 2012

The leadership of the Open Government Partnership is considering moving the annual meeting from March to October, according to recently released subcommittee notes, which also indicate the OGP is reviewing a new “Strategic Plan.”

The possible new time for the meeting, to be held in London, is one of numerous procedural and policy matters referenced in the notes now on the OGP website (under “About” and  “Governance”).

In addition, the notes indicate that the OGP will not hold a ministerial meeting of the Steering Committee in September in New York. However, an OGP event is being planned to be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York City this September, according to another recent posting.  

The next ministerial meeting is proposed for December, alongside a “peer engagement meeting” to be hosted by the United Kingdom, which holds one of the three co-chairmanship slots.

A “working level meeting” of Steering Committee may be held in October “to report out on work of the sub-committees,” including work on the Internal Review Mechanism, the International Expert Panel that will administer the review system, and the proposed 2013 budget. 

If the annual meeting is shifted to October, as proposed, the organization “would need to figure out how to handle rotation of SC representatives in March, given that voting should take place with the full plenary present, according to the notes of the July 10 call held among members of the Governance and Leadership Committee. “One option is to move plenary voting to online platform, with final tally taken in March.  The GL committee will continue to discuss this proposal.”

Strategic Plan Under Review

The OGP leaders also have begun to review a “Strategic Plan,” according to another new posting, a message from the three co-chairs to the Steering Committee.

The message asks for comment by July 20 on the plan, which has not been released publicly.

The 18-month strategic plan was drafted by a working group on OGP’s Strategy and Hiring. The plan “lays out the activities for our sub-committees, the Support Unit, and the Networking Mechanism,” according to the co-chairs.

The co-chairs go on to note that the OGP is in the process of hiring a new executive director and a project manager for the Independent Reporting Mechanism. They ask for suggestions of names for the International Expert Panel.  

Networking Mechanism Strategy Being Altered

The message also says the Steering Committee members “should have received a new strategy for OGP’s Networking Mechanism, which is managed by our partner Global Integrity.” 

“This strategy has been endorsed by the Peer Learning and Support sub-committee,” the co-chairs say. The strategy has not been posted on the OGP website.

“The Networking Mechanism will be shifting its efforts towards more proactive engagement with OGP countries, to support their action plan process and implementation.

Criteria and Standards Sub-Committee Revises IRM Plans 

Notes from a July 5 telephone meeting of the Criteria and Standards Subcommittee, also recently posted, describe the  decision to move toward annual assessments under the Independent Review Mechanism.

That option is now reflected in the draft IRM proposal out for public comment. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

The minutes of the subcommittee meeting indicate agreement “that a staggered reporting mechanism is unnecessarily confusing.” They continue: “The IRM needs to be a mechanism that is simple/transparent and easy to comprehend.  Additionally in an annual system the political complications are significantly diluted.”

“Even for countries that have an action plan that has a timeline of 24-36 months, the IRM is meant to be a window into that plan and an account of their progress to date,” according to the minutes. “Resources will have to be increased for an annual IRM.  However the first year the IRM will only review the original 8 and then 36.  So resources might need to be increased in year 2 of IRM.”

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