OGP Summer: Mauldin at Helm, IRM Process Plans

13 July 2012

The Open Government Partnership, now with a temporary director, is continuing to work on its plans for the Independent Review Mechanism and still appears to be interesting possible new members.

Libya, Tunisia, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia have started to explore whether to join by talking with existing members, according to notes from a recent meeting of African countries, confirmed by other sources.  And Hungary’s government, which has previously indicated an interest, continues to send  signals that it intends to join.

For the moment, membership stands at 55.  

In the meantime, OGP leaders are focusing on completing construction of the system for the  review of the national action plans that were submitted by most of the members.

Some countries missed the deadline. Some of the tardy plans are apparently in but not yet posted in the approved format (Azerbaijan, Macedonia and South Korea). OGP officials have said they are working with Liberia, Ghana and Mongolia who to not provide action plans. Countries that joined in late 2011 or 2012 have no set deadlines for submitting plans. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

An OGP subcommittee is expected to soon release a complete set of recommendations on the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM), presumably to refine a process already fairly well-defined.  

At the helm for several months is Caroline Mauldin, who served as the top aide on OGP matters to U.S. Deputy Secretary Maria Otero, She will serve as Acting Executive Director of the Support Unit from July 1 until Sept. 15, taking over until a replacement is hired for Julie McCarthy who left on maternity leave and will return as a consultant this fall. The OGP has posted ads for the executive director job and for an IRM program manager.

 In a recent note to civil society groups following the OGP, Mauldin reviewed upcoming activities and reported that the Criteria and Standards Subcommittee is still developing a final proposal on IRM and that it would be posted for public comment when forwarded to the Steering Committee.

“In the meantime, we are planning to move forward on the recruitment of the Independent Experts Panel and the IRM program manager, as detailed in the London minutes,” Mauldin also said.

Mauldin’s message also said that “one of the priorities of the Support Unit in the next three weeks is to bring OGP into full compliance with its best-in-class disclosure policy, as laid out in the Articles.”

She said Ari Greenberg, Senior Program Officer of the Support Unit, will be handling the following tasks: 

  • ·  Create an access to information request form on the website, with address that reaches relevant OGP staff. 
  • ·  Create internal log for all requests, with details on person/organization requesting, OGP responses, dates for each, and a file of information released.
  • ·  Update online information regarding OGP funding, detailing funding committed/received, and timeframe of grant period.
  • ·  Detail vendors and costs for OGP projects.
  • ·  Create staff tab under “about section” with names, titles and contact info for Networking Mechanism, IRM, and all OGP staff. 
  • ·  Create dedicated page on the IRM, including concept note and call for nominations for IEP.
  • ·  Detail OGP sub-committees and membership, and organize meeting minutes in one place. 

European Meeting Planned

In other OGP activity, Croatia and the UK are planning a European Regional Meeting for the greater European area in Oct. 4-5 in Dubrovnik.

The purpose of the meeting is to provide space for discussion and exchange of experiences between European governments and civil society organizations about the progress of implementation of the national OGP action plans and share developments and best practices,” according to the new civil society coordinator for the OGP, Paul Maassen.

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