What is in this guide?

This guide aims to enrich the efforts of parliaments and their civil society counterparts to engage in collaborative processes aimed at developing and implementing openness commitments, either as part of the OGP process or otherwise. The first section focuses on the development of open parliament commitments in NAPs and the variety of ways that parliaments can engage in and around OGP. The second section shares the experiences of a variety of parliaments and CSOs in collaborating in the creation of parliamentary openness commitments and in developing ongoing mechanisms for dialogue on openness. The final section shares some of the types of commitments that parliaments have made to become more open, accountable and engaging of citizens. It also lists additional resources that can be drawn upon to advance parliamentary openness.

Given that parliamentary engagement in OGP and on openness reform generally continues to evolve, updates will be regularly incorporated into the guide, which should be seen as a living document. In order to best capture current good practice, community contributions, suggestions, and revisions are welcome. To contribute to this resource, please email vwelborn@ndi.org to provide comments and suggestions.

History

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was established in 2011 as a collaboration between eight governments sharing a common goal: "to secure concrete commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance." OGP includes a number of novel features: basic eligibility criteria related to government openness, country-owned commitments that are developed collaboratively between government and civil society, and an Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) to ensure accountability. In the six years since OGP's launch, the model has proved very successful.

Recognizing a growing interest in deeper engagement of parliaments in OGP, the Legislative Openness Working Group (LOWG) was established within OGP in October 2013. Chaired by the Chilean Congress and the National Democratic Institute, the LOWG was established in response to the increasing understanding among parliaments, civil society and international institutions of the changing nature of politics worldwide and the evolution of citizens' demands for more open and transparent governance.

Acknowledgements

This toolkit was drafted under the auspices of the Legislative Openness Working Group (LOWG), co-chaired by the Congress of Chile and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The initial draft of the toolkit was drafted by Andrew Mandelbaum with support from the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Support Unit. The toolkit seeks to capture learning regarding open parliament commitments from within the LOWG. Please contact vwelborn@ndi.org to receive the digital version, which will be periodically updated to capture additional developments in legislative openness.