Open Government Partnership Launches New Pilot Program for Subnational Governments
On December 15, 2015, the Open Government Partnership (OGP)—a multilateral initiative that secures commitments from governments to solve public policy challenges, and a partner of WRI—announced the launch of a new pilot program. The program, approved at the OGP Global Summit in October 2015, fulfills the need to engage with local governments and actors to foster transparency.
This groundbreaking program invites various subnational government actors, representing cities and regions of different social and economic backgrounds, to engage directly with the Open Government Partnership. Scaling down from the national program, the OGP will assist subnational governments in developing and implementing commitments and short action plans, which then will be assessed by OGP's Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM).
The initiative aims to foster more diverse leadership, share best practices in urban governance, and develop more effective ways the OGP can best engage and support subnational governments in their efforts for open government reform.
Why Subnational Governments Are Key
Recognizing the crucial role that cities have been playing in tackling global challenges, particularly when political will at the national level is lacking, the OGP found it essential to include subnational governments in their initiatives. This push occurred under stewardship from Manish Bapna, who represents WRI as the incoming civil society co-chair, and Mark Robinson, Global Director of Governance.
The OGP invited subnational governments to the October Global Summit to share their projects, where EMBARQ Mexico team members Adriana Lobo and Gisela Mendez, and WRI Brasil Sustainable Cities team member Daniely Votto worked to represent the experience of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities in this field. At the Summit, decision makers discussed an example from Mexico City that demonstrated how a partnership between the local government and a tech company made it easier for citizens to comply with air regulations through an easy to use web platform. These types of collaborations have proven that local governments offer new and unique opportunities to achieve real reform in cities.
Creating Effective, Transparent Cities with the OGP
The significance of this new program lies in its central focus on subnational governments. Indeed, the innovative, bottom-up methods that subnational governments have implemented change can improve the approach that the Open Government Partnership takes when building open, accountable, and transparent governments. Moreover, working with civil society and local governments to pursue more open governments also strengthens support for sustainability in urban areas like transport, road safety and housing.
The two year pilot program is separated into two separate tiers—each with different responsibilities. The first, the Pioneers' Tier, will include up to 10 subnational governments selected from countries that already participate in the OGP. In short, these participants will develop subnational commitments to be implemented in their country's National Action Plans. The governments in the second tier, the Leaders' Tier, will invite civil society and subnational government actors to participate in networking and learning events; these meetings will encourage members to share knowledge and boost involvement with national action plans. WRI will work with local governments in Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia (all OGP signatories) to encourage the involvement of partners in the two programs. Additionally, WRI will work with civil society and local government to build their capacity around open government and create a lasting partnership between subnational and national governments, as well as local communities.
Those interested in applying should visit here.
Deadline to apply: February 29, 2016