OGP to Focus on Reviews, Finances at London Meeting

29 November 2012

The Open Government Partnership is running a little behind on country action plan reviews and needs member countries to come through with contributions to support a growing agenda.

These and other topics are on the packed agenda for a Dec. 4 London Steering Committee meeting, according to documents released in advance.

The goals of the independent review mechanism are being tweaked slightly to add emphasis to the process by which the action plans are created and how they conform to overall OGP values, as well as the core test of whether the plans have been implemented.

The names of the experts who will supervise the process are expected to be announced at the meeting, several months later than planned. Revised schedules for the reviews are on the agenda, along with the expanded guidelines for both the government reviews and the independent expert reviews.

On the financial front, the documents state that fewer than half of the governments represented on the Steering Committee have paid the suggested dues. A proposal on the table will be to make the $50,00 per country payments mandatory, along with various other changes, such has raising the contribution level for richer countries, to help meet the demands of a growing budget.

The budget will grow in 2013 to $2.3 million, up from $1.5 million in 2012. This level will pay for increasing the OGP staff from three to five, supporting the new costs of the independent review mechanism, and underwriting outreach to civil society, among other things. The materials released do not detail revenues, but the overall plan is for government contributions to match donations from private foundations.

The 20-member body is expected to confirm a revamped system to add new members and eventually have all elected members in place of the current founding members. With only one of the 10 government members voluntarily agreeing to step off (Norway), as originally planned, the proceedure now being proposed would involve voting by the government members on the committee to decide who should rotate off and who should join the committee. 

On the civil society side of the equally divided governing body, an earlier plan for voting in new members by a polity of over 100 CSO representatives may be replaced by a system where committee-vetted nominees are selected by the CSO members of the Steering Committee.

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