16 October 2012

OGP considers strengthening country commitments and improving eligibility criteria

The Open Government Partnership Steering Committee (SC) is considering strengthening country commitments and improving eligibility criteria for membership, according to minutes of its meeting held on 26 September 2012.

The minutes released in October, indicate a move by the SC to increase its current support structures to include still unannounced experts who will oversee governments and the independent review mechanism.

Current OGP membership stands at 59 of 79 eligible countries. Eligibility is determined on a 16-point scale, with 12 points necessary to qualify for membership.

The move to improve on the eligibility criteria is further strengthened by the need for continuous monitoring and evaluation of the respective country's commitments to, and implementation of, minimum requirements.  However, the SC pointed out that "it does not want to over emphasise on the eligibility to take away from or compete with the action plan implementation..." It adds that the current criteria should not be altered as yet. Instead the process of assessing eligibility should be constant and continuous, by member states.

The eligibility review process will be guided by the Criteria and Standards subcommittees plans to write guiding principles defining the processes supported. These guidelines will be considered at the next committee meeting.