Q. Who is coordinating OGP SA work?
A. The Deputy Minister for Public Service And Administration is the special envoy to the OGP in South Africa which is a Presidential Programme.
Q. What are the OGP SA Commitments?
Q. What are the open government initiatives listed on this site and are they part of OGP SA?
A. The open government initiatives listed on this site are not formally part of the OGP SA programme but are examples of open government in South Africa that we are celebrating. If you have a link to an open government initiative that you think should be added to the list please contact us.
Q. [Other OGP SA questions]
Q. What do countries need to do to be eligible to join the OGP? How many meet these criteria?
To participate in OGP, governments must show a demonstrated commitment to open government in four key areas - fiscal transparency, access to information, disclosure of income and assets of elected or senior public officials and citizen engagement. These are measured by objective indicators and validated by independent experts.
In order to participate in OGP, countries must score at least 75% of the total possible points available to them across the areas that are relevant to them. Once countries have joined OGP, they are regularly assessed to ensure they continue to abide by their commitments and their performance measures are up to date.
Over 70 per cent of those countries which are eligible to join the OGP have done so (based on 57 of 81 nations). Given that the organisation was only formed one year ago, this represents remarkable progress.
Q. What is the OGP doing to increase its membership?
The OGP will accept new members as long as they meet the criteria and are validated by independent experts. We are currently holding discussions with a range of governments and civil society organisations which are not currently part of the OGP and have had new four governments sign memorandums of understanding to unveil action plans at the 2013 annual meeting. We have also been working with countries like Tunisia that are close to qualifying as an OGP member; this which facilitates even broader participation besides the 57 members.
Q. Can countries be expelled from the OGP once they become members?
Once a country's action plan has been agreed, progress is monitored by both other nations and civil society organisations, as well as by the IRM, to ensure all its promises are met. This independent international expert group of the IRM will inform the Steering Committee if they suspect a country is falling below the minimum eligibility criteria. The Steering Committee can then review the participation of said governments. In addition, governments are also being held accountable by civil society and media in their countries and if they perform poorly in three successive reports, participation can be reviewed.
Q. Who are the Support unit members and what are their roles?
The OGP Support Unit works closely with the temporary secretariat that each OGP lead chair establishes within its own government during its chairmanship year.
The OGP support unit team is currently undergoing a shift in staff, but the main contact at present is Director Julie McCarthy. All OGP employees are listed on the governance page of the OGP website (http://www.opengovpartnership.org/governance-staff-donors). There will be an update shortly on the other members of the Support unit staff, which will be updated on the website.
Q. In the context of the IRM, who ensures the independence of the researchers in each participating country? How is the selection process taking place?
The Criteria and Standards Sub-Committee will work with the International Expert Panel (IEP) and IRM programme manager to identify a process for selecting local country researchers, drawing on IEP members' substantial governance and research experience. The process will begin by drawing upon contacts within existing partner networks. There will also be an open recruitment process for local researchers, based on a set of clear and transparent public criteria. The IRM programme manager will then oversee a process of conducting interviews, checking references and working with IEP technical and policy experts to make a final selection of local experts for each country.
Candidates should have a background in academia and/or public policy, with ideally around ten years of demonstrated experience conducting research for publication locally, regionally and/or internationally. They should have a demonstrated capacity and willingness to engage with a broad range of stakeholders in a neutral, apolitical and objective fashion.
Q. If the IRM is supposed to highlight any fault in the government's policies and agenda, could it not be used as a political tool by the opposition?
The IRM report will only cover those policies and initiatives that have been presented in the OGP Action Plan. The mechanism of selecting local researchers (see above) will ensure their neutrality.
Q. How open is the IRM if only a small group of experts are in charge of it? What about citizen and civil society participation?
IRM reports are meant to complement and support independent monitoring of the commitments by civil society in each country, and provide useful recommendations to enhance government performance. For example:
IRM reports will be informed by consultations with a wide range of stakeholders. A key role for the IRM is to listen to as many people as possible, and make an assessment based on these views, information provided by government, including the self-assessment report, and the expertise of the IEP.