This post was written by Helena Hofbauer, Director of Partnership Development and Innovation at the International Budget Partnership.
Today over 400 CSOs (civil society organizations) met as a prelude to the Open Government Partnership Summit in London. In preparation for the days to come, regional break out sessions aimed to identify some of the biggest challenges that OGP faces, at the same time underscoring the opportunities that are brought about by what is a pretty unique effort.
OGP was designed and launched as a space where governments and civil society have an equal seat at the table. That in itself is pretty remarkable. Nevertheless, many CSOs feel that participation, especially in the in-country process of developing OGP action plans, has been limited. That the rules of the game are not clear. That communication is insufficient. The challenges go on.
But there is an equal number of opportunities. There is a huge opportunity around openness, and we have to seize it. Where space is not really being created, we have to push for it. CSOs need to organize, organize, organize — to reach across sectors, build on successful experiences, and grow stronger in our reach into the OGP paradigm.
And the organizing, ultimately, does not happen in London. It has to happen in our countries, on the ground. We are here. We are engaged. And we have to stay engaged and push governments to seriously commit to openness.