Counterpart has supported the Open Government Partnership (OGP) since 2012, only a year after this critical program was first launched by Hillary Clinton. A powerful multistakeholder initiative that supports the ability of governments to promote transparent collaboration with citizens and fight corruption, OGP aligns closely with Counterpart’s longstanding commitment to democracy, rights, and governance. OGP creates opportunities for citizens to directly engage with government, and for civil society to bring its strengths and expertise to work alongside ministries. At a time when the call for localization in development is getting louder, OGP has been a sterling example of locally led development for over a decade. At the local and national levels, and in partnership with civil society actors, OGP supports countries in developing strategies—known as National Action Plans, or NAPs—as a way to provide a roadmap towards a stronger, more transparent, more responsive democracy.
Implementation Through Country Programs
Through our governance programs, we have worked with local partners to support the same principles of open, transparent government that are championed by OGP. In Ecuador, for example, our local partner Fundación Ciudadania y Desarrollo is working alongside the National Service for Public Contracting to improve public procurement and combat corruption. This commitment is being implemented under the country’s second NAP, and our partners have been key to ensuring that the plan is technically sound and developed with a high level of civil society collaboration.
In Yerevan, Armenia, the local municipal government and civil society worked together to champion a “Green Seal” certificate as part of their most recent NAP. This Green Seal is awarded to public or private sector entities that follow sustainable procurement practices. The Municipality of Yerevan awarded the first Green Seal to Kindergarten No. 92 for replacing old doors and windows that were contributing to heat loss and higher costs.
Counterpart—often with the support of USAID—has consistently sponsored civil society partners to attend the annual OGP summits that bring together country delegates and international development stakeholders from around the world. The summits are a unique opportunity for civil society to spend time with their government representatives to build stronger professional relationships, establish trust, and improve collaboration.
Facilitating The OGP Process
Counterpart and other international entities have an important role to play in the OGP process. When appropriate, we serve as an intermediary—helping broker connections and offering technical support from behind the scenes, as requested by local stakeholders and tailored to local needs. In Honduras, for instance, we coordinated co-creation efforts, launched websites to share OGP information, and provided government partners with the tools and technical support to streamline the National Action Plan process. In Guatemala, we trained facilitators in OGP co-creation standards and helped translate and edit English versions of their National Action Plans. Having provided this range of support over the years, we are also well positioned to share case studies and guidance with new OGP member countries—as we have done successfully in the Northern Triangle, where we helped convene regional civil society leaders to address common governance challenges.
We also work in partnership with the OGP Support Unit, providing insights and updates where needed, helping them to stay ahead of changing political contexts, and relaying any needs from our partners. We lead critical conversations with donors—particularly the U.S. State Department and USAID Missions—to ensure they are aware of OGP-related developments and are ready to provide diplomatic and/or development support to advance progress. Counterpart supports OGP efforts as a way to help further advance our governance programs and help champion and support locally led open government efforts by our partners around the world.