OGP and subnational level

06. December, 2016

More on OGP (Open Government Partnership) summit 2016.

This morning I participated in a really good chat on extending OGP to sub-national level. Regional/municipal level governments do some interesting stuff on open government and citizen engagement, yet their work is not so well known due to traditional focus on national level institutions. I’ve received some excellent tips on where to search for some international benchmarks standards of urban good governance that will benefit my research (the key tip was helping me to locate research conducted by LSE Urban governance program).

One problem that would be quite challenging to solve in order to come up with some universal standards: unlike national level parliaments or governments in democracies, sub-national level is extremely diverse – ranging from huge regions that each has tens of millions of inhabitants and ending with local communes of less than 1000 people. Even more importantly, sub-national units’ competencies and institutional set-ups vary just as much.

Yes, there might be a way around this by bench-marking open data, citizen engagement, new technology achievements (that would be assumed beneficial irrespective of differences in institutional set-ups), but would that not prohibit all meaningful attempts of best-practice sharing which, after all, rely very much on nuances and in-depth understanding of local specificities? Could there be a better alternative in not separating national/sub-national level at all, but instead trying to especially promote those OGP commitments whose implementation require collaboration between different levels of governance?


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