The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative which was launched in September 2011. The OGP seeks to secure commitment from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and utilize new technologies to improve governance. Jamaica’s government demonstrated their commitment to practice open governance and to consider the voice of citizens in their decision making process by joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP). This commitment was reaffirmed and publicized on the occasion of the 4th Global Summit of the Open Government Partnership held in Paris, France, in December 2016.
There are several steps governments must take in order to join the OGP, the first of which involves meeting the OGP’s eligibility criteria. OGP member states are obliged to commit to the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and all other international instruments related to human rights and good governance. Every OGP partner is mandated to submit a National Action Plan (NAP) which contains specific nationally determined commitments to enhance transparency, accountability and public participation in governance. While the OGP does not recommend any specific standards for openness that countries should adhere to, this provision along with other approaches impels governments and citizens of partner countries to get together to define their own priorities for reform and to put measures in place to achieve their goals.
Countries that currently do not meet the criteria, can undertake reforms in order to qualify. Currently there are no official procedures for civil society to join OGP. Civil society can participate in the OGP process by advocating and campaigning for their government to work towards meeting the OGP’s eligibility criteria. Once the government has joined the OGP, civil society can collaborate with the government to develop National Action Plans, assist with the implementation of the plans, and assess the government’s performance.