Editor's Note: This post is a verbatim transcript of a mass email sent out today inviting governments, civil society, private firms, and others with expertise in open government to participate in the Open Government Partnership's Networking Mechanism. Please repost and spread the word liberally…this is an open and non-exclusive invitation to become engaged. To recieve these OGP emails, subscribe here. [Image: Development Seed – cc/by]
Dear colleagues – We are writing with what we hope is an exciting opportunity: a chance to shape the direction of the open government movement globally through participation in the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Networking Mechanism. Below are details for how to get involved and what the benefits of participating in the OGP Networking Mechanism are.
What is the OGP Networking Mechanism?
As some of you know, the Open Government Partnership (http://opengovpartnership.org
The OGP Networking Mechanism (NM) connects aspiring OGP governments with non-profit, private sector, and governmental providers of expertise in specific issue areas to help governments develop innovative, cutting-edge OGP commitments. Its value-added is in providing governments with quick and useful introductions to potential providers of assistance and ensuring that the resultant dialogue is fruitful and efficient. The OGP NM is managed by a steering committee comprising Global Integrity and the World Bank Institute, with Global Integrity currently serving as the chair and initial point of contact for both providers and requesting governments under the OGP NM.
How Do I Get Involved?
The goal of the OGP NM is simple: to connect aspiring OGP governments with thought leaders, practitioners, and technology providers to help those governments develop and implement ambitious open government commitments. But we need your help to do that. During the next several weeks, we are surveying as many suppliers of open government expertise as we can to build rosters of both potential supply and demand. Our aim is to then begin making introductions based on the information provided by those in need of assistance, and those best placed to provide it.
If you are working in government, we invite you to complete both surveys linked below. Many aspiring OGP governments will be both suppliers of expertise and experience to other peer governments, as well as requestors of assistance under the OGP NM. We know that other governments want to learn from your successes and challenges, and we also know that there are dozens of non-governmental groups, private firms, and multilateral institutions eager to provide pro bono and/or low cost assistance to your government under the OGP NM.
If you are working in non-governmental organizations, a private firm, or a multilateral institution, we invite you to complete the “supply side” survey linked below. There are dozens of governments that have already expressed interest in linking up with you to explore potential collaboration and assistance. This is your chance to get involved in shaping the direction of open government reforms in a range of exciting country contexts.
Both surveys linked below provide additional details about participation in the OGP NM.
While we are all committed to promoting the values embraced by the OGP, there are other practical reasons to become involved with the OGP NM. Participating governments and providers of expertise will both be exposed to a range of valuable networking opportunities. They may also have a chance to have their creativity and successes highlighted on a global stage. Participation in the OGP NM offers a chance to increase the visibility of your work and your ideas quickly across this burgeoning community of practice.
Before or after completing the survey, I would warmly welcome a conversation to brainstorm further on how your government, non-governmental organization, private firm, or multilateral institution can best engage under the OGP NM. The NM is an admittedly experimental process, and we plan to learn and adjust our scope and approach in real-time.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with me with any questions, and I look forward to working with you on this exciting and ambitious agenda.
All the best,
LINKS TO SURVEYS
“SUPPLY SIDE” SURVEY (for governments, non-governmental organizations, private firms, and multilateral institutions)
“DEMAND SIDE” SURVEY (for aspiring OGP governments)
Nathaniel Heller // Managing Director // www.globalintegrity.org
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Open Government Partnership Networking Mechanism
What it is and what it can do for you
What does the OGP Networking Mechanism do?
The Networking Mechanism connects OGP governments with providers of expertise in specific issue areas to help governments develop innovative, cutting-edge open government commitments.
The OGP Networking Mechanism is a facilitator and agent of introduction to both peer governments and third-party providers of expertise (non-governmental and private). It is not an implementing entity or a project manager for governments. Its value-added is in providing quick and useful introductions to potential providers of assistance to governments and ensuring that the resultant dialogue is fruitful and efficient, leveraging its role as a broker towards supporting effective OGP commitments development.
Who is the Networking Mechanism?
The Networking Mechanism is governed by a steering committee currently comprising Global Integrity and the World Bank Institute. It is currently chaired by Global Integrity, which also serves as the primary point of contact.
How does the Networking Mechanism work?
When an OGP government approaches the Networking Mechanism for potential assistance and introductions, a dedicated Case Manager will be assigned to work with the government throughout the networking process. The Case Manager, in conjunction with the Networking Mechanism steering committee, will eventually make introductions to governmental and third-party experts that might be able to usefully assist the requesting government in developing or refining their OGP commitments, including implementation plans for mature commitments. In practice, we expect that dialogue to “ping pong” back and forth between various governments and third-party providers as the requesting government explores various options and identifies the most useful assistance.
The Case Manager will ultimately help to guide the government towards a final selection of providers of assistance (whether government, non-governmental, private sector, or hybrid) and help to ensure that clear terms of engagement and expectations are shared by all sides, likely in the form of a written agreement.
How do I contact the Networking Mechanism?
(1) Contact Global Integrity’s Managing Director, Nathaniel Heller, via Nathaniel.Heller@
Examples of the Networking Mechanism in practice
Example 1: Country X aspires to be at the vanguard of reform when it comes to transparent management of its natural resources, in particular its extractive resources. Already an EITI member, the government is savvy around issues of extractives transparency but approaches the NM for assistance in thinking through specific sub-national transparency reforms in key regions of the country that are mineral-rich. The Networking Mechanism Case Manager connects the government with both the Revenue Watch Institute as well as two local-level NGOs in neighboring countries that have worked with their respective local and national governments to develop and implement best practices at the sub-national level for promoting extractives transparency. The Case Manager also connects a tech company with a local NGO that is interested in using geo-referencing software to help Country X map its natural resource concessions in tandem with other local NGOs. Following intensive virtual and in-person consultations with RWI, the tech company, and the local NGOs, the government crafts a cutting-edge set of sub-national transparency reforms that it commits to in March 2012
Example 2: Country Y approaches the Networking Mechanism with a vague request for assistance in implementing “open government data.” When the Networking Mechanism Case Manager explores the government’s interest further, it is clear that there is little appreciation for both the possibilities and limits of open government data; in addition, the government has not identified the types of data it might make publicly available, nor has it identified a theory of change that suggests why the public availability of this information would have a material impact on an OGP commitment area.
Rather than introduce the government to a technical provider to develop a web or mobile solution to opening up government data, the NM Case Manager instead connects the government to experts at Civic Commons who have deep experience in understanding the strategy and objectives behind open government data. That 90-minute conversation helps the government to significantly refine its proposed commitments and request for technical assistance, and when it returns to the Networking Mechanism four months later it has a solid plan of action in hand. The Case Manager then makes introductions to potential providers of technical expertise on a data visualization platform specifically targeted at public service-related government expenditures.