Today, CGD is presenting the Commitment to Development Award to The Open Government Partnership (OGP), a consortium of governments and civil society from 65 countries that have made over 2,000 commitments to make government more open and accountable. The OGP has seen those commitments followed through with implementation on procurement reform; political financing transparency; more and better data on revenues, budgets, and expenditures; and company ownership registers and contracts over oil, gas, and mining rights. You can go to their website and track the status of those pledges as determined by independent national experts.
Bulgaria committed to publication of information about the tax expenditures by the Ministry of Finance.
The UK promised to spend up to 5 percent of Official Development Assistance budget support (as additional funds) on strengthening local accountability to support progress towards related OGP goals.
Tanzania said it would prepare legislative amendments and regulations to strengthen asset disclosures of public officials.
Of the 958 commitments currently being monitored, 270 are completed and 204 have seen substantial progress. By sharing approaches, celebrating progress and holding governments to account, the OGP has been a real force for greater transparency worldwide. They are worthy recipients of the award.
I’m particularly excited that 43 out of the 64 countries that are currently part of the Open Government Partnership have made commitments to contracting and procurement processes that are more open and participatory, although progress is mixed according the Independent Reporting Mechanism:
Mexico committed to publish contract data from PEMEX, the state petroleum company. Progress on that commitment is described as limited, with more work needed on basic implementation.
Armenia committed to improving the procurement system and enhancing the institutional capacity of public procurement bodies alongside disclosing more detailed information about procurements made by contracting entities. Again, the Independent Reporting Mechanism suggests progress is limited.
More positively, Croatia has completed a commitment to improve access to information on expending public resources including registers of public procurement contracts in a manner the independent evaluation called ‘transformative.’
Next week in London we will launch the CGD Working Group report Publishing Government Contracts: Addressing Concerns and Easing Implementation which discusses proactive contract publication as well as looking at some common concerns around secrecy and privacy and how to address them. The report provides more examples of countries around the world that have made huge progress on this agenda, including Georgia, Slovakia, the UK and Colombia. And it also provides evidence of impact—open contracting really can help make government work better.
The Open Government Partnership is helping to foster a revolution in transparent governance around the world. And proactive contract publication is front and center as part of that revolution.