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Collaboration between government and civil society is the cornerstone of the Open Government Partnership. OGP’s consultation requirements ask countries to “identify an existing or new forum to enable regular multistakholder consultation on OGP implementation”. As of September, 43 countries participating in the Partnership have an active structured environment in which government and civil society maintain an ongoing dialogue regarding national OGP processes.
This structured environment has a variety of names in OGP countries: in Romania it’s called the OGP Club; the Inspiration Team in the Netherlands, the Secretariat in Mexico, the Council in Mongolia, the Steering Committee in Ghana and Liberia. These Multistakeholder Forums have a variety of functions particular to the local context including: deliberating on National Action Plan (NAP) consultation and implementation, assessing fulfillment of commitments and even coordinating cross-sector efforts to advance open government beyond the NAP.
At the Support Unit we sought to capture the rich and varied experiences of these Forums through a series of tools designed for those in the community who are conducting research on these mechanisms or those are interested in implementing a new Forum or strengthening an existing one. As in all things OGP there is no one recipe for success so we are portraying best practices that can be adapted to local contexts.
Our first tool is “Designing and Managing an OGP Multistakeholder Forum” - a practical handbook with guidance and ideas to help government and civil society actors meet the minimal co-creation standards and go a step further by developing more ambitious mechanisms to enhance multistakeholder collaboration. In this Handbook, author Ernesto Velasco, shows us different approaches to create a Forum and recruit participants, manage the operations of the Forum, develop the National Action Plan, and promote open government principles beyond the OGP.
To accompany the Handbook we also put together a Database in which we sought to capture basic information regarding existing Forums including how the Forum was established, the participants in the Forum, the selection of civil society participants and roles and responsibilities. This database is different from the IRM process database, which also captures data on Mutistakeholder Forums.
The Support Unit has published these tools in ready-to-print PDFs and in open data formats so the community can use the research and databases and their convenience. These contents are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license and can be shared used and reused.
We are also proud to announce a series of weekly blog posts where we will hear first hand the experiences of stakeholders in Honduras, Georgia, Uruguay and Cote d’ Ivoire. Please look out for these posts every Monday. If you would like to contribute to the series please feel free to contact me. Additionally, we will be conducting a Facebook Live Q&A about Multistakeholder Forums on September 29. More information can be found here.
Finally, we will be conducting the workshop “Multistakeholder Forums: Fostering a Partnership to Advance Participation, Innovation and Accountability in OGP” during the Paris Summit. If you wish to know more about our upcoming events and research on Multistakeholder Forums look out for the #OGPCollaborate in social media.
Challenges and Solutions