OGP Asks Governments to Contribute $25,000 Each

13 May 2013

Seeking to address financial concerns, the leaders of the Open Government Partnership have decided to ask all 58 members to chip in at least $25,000.

The slow flow of funding from governments was discussed at the OGP meetings in London April 22-24, according to the recently released minutes.  The OGP receives substantial foundation support, but aims to get equal backing from governments. The organization has experienced cash flow problems and projected a $500,000 shortfall in its 2013 budget of $2.37 million. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

 To address this, there will be a call for $25,000 per nation voluntary contributions by the OGP’s second annual conference Oct. 31-Nov. 1. Previously, the Steering Committee had urged member countries to kick in, but not suggested any level.

The OGP leaders further agreed that for 2014, dues will be mandatory for all members, on a “TBD” [to be determined] sliding scale.  

In addition, government members of the Steering Committee, who already have been expected to pony up, will be asked to do more.

In December, the Steering Committee set the levels at $50,000 for low income countries, $100,000 for medium income countries and $200,000 per year for high income countries. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) In the future, the proposed levels are “$100k/year for low income countries, $200k/year for middle income countries and $300k/year for high income countries.”

`Are We Serious?’

Highlighting the urgency of funding concerns was a letter from one of the senior advisors to the OGP Independent Review Mechanism, the system through which national action plan compliance is assessed.

Sudanese entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim wrote in part: “Our credibility will be absolutely dependent on the quality of reports; we cannot afford to compromise the whole process by failing to adequately fund the research teams.”

Ibrahim concluded:

I note with dismay that where the private donors have honoured their commitments, the governments failed to deliver. This raises the question – are we serious?

The OGP is supporting eight ongoing independent reviews and expects to complete more than 30 more by the end of the year. (See related FreedomInfo.org report.)

Concern about support for the reviews surfaced during the meeting. At one point, the minutes note, “There was some discussion in the remuneration for the national level researchers, and whether budget constraints would result in insufficient time for field research and consultation.”

Government Payments Lagging

Governments with members on the Steering Committee have been slow in submitted promised payments.

The minutes indicate that “three countries have already submitted their dues (Norway, South Africa and the Philippines), three announced they will submit by July (Mexico, the UK, Tanzania) and two are still working through internal approval processes and hope to submit by October (Indonesia and Brazil).” This refers to dues for 2013. No mention is made of the United States, but it contributed in 2012 and is expected to contribute in late 2013. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

Looking for help from international aid agencies is one strategy being pursued, with plans being laid for a meeting by July with such organizations.

The plan is to “follow up with the multilaterals to present proposed MOUs [memorandums of understanding] for discussion at the working level in July.”

See related articles on the April Steering Committee meeting concerning:  Reviews, Stretch Goals, Elections.

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