Ibrahim, Machel and Robinson to lead the OGP Indeprendent Reporting Mechanism

Mary Robinson, Mo Ibrahim and Graça Machel join the Open Government Partnership’s new Independent Expert Panel

OGP formally launches an Independent Reporting Mechanism to track progress of participating governments

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is last week launched itsIndependent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) so that stakeholders can track progress and impact among OGP participating governments. Ireland’s first female President and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mary Robinson, Sudanese-born entrepreneur, Dr Mo Ibrahim, and Mozambican politician and wife of Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, have been confirmed as the three senior advisors of its Independent Expert Panel (IEP), which will oversee the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM).

Robinson, Ibrahim and Machel will soon be joined by five technical experts. These three high-profile senior advisors will provide strategic advice during the initial development of the IRM’s overall assessment approach. They will also play a key role in international and regional outreach on IRM report findings and implications. Together with the technical experts they will help ensure that the IRM delivers high quality, credible and independent reports each year on what OGP participating countries are doing to deliver on their commitments. 

The announcement comes ahead of the OGP's Ministerial Level Steering Committee meeting in London on 4 December 2012.

Mary Robinson said: “Over the years, I have learned that good governance is essential to the fulfilment of human rights and to achieving sustainable development. Issues of governance can be measured, which is why I welcome the opportunity to serve as a member of the OGP’s International Expert Panel. Within this role, I hope to integrate issues of human rights, gender equality and true sustainable development into the Independent Reporting Mechanism.”

Commenting on his appointment, Dr Mo Ibrahim said: "My Foundation is committed to addressing governance issues of accountability and transparency from a civil society perspective so I am pleased to be joining a complementary, government-orientated initiative in this space. It is through co-ordination and co-operation between the public and private sectors that we will see real progress made on this agenda. The impressive calibre of my co-panellists Mary Robinson and Graca Machel underlines the integrity and autonomy of the IEP and I look forward to working with them."

Graça Machel remarked: “Transparency and accountability are key to building and sustaining public trust. My contribution is to enhance a conscious, active and constructive citizen movement to engage consistently with government.”

Francis Maude MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office in the UK and co-chair of OGP, said: “The Open Government Partnership is all about using transparency to drive sharper accountability and greater prosperity. That’s why the launch of the Independent Reporting Mechanism, backed by civil society and the media, is so important. The Mechanism will ensure members deliver their transparency commitments.

“It is a tribute to the growing importance of the Partnership as an international force for change that three such distinguished and experienced figures are joining the panel that will oversee the reporting mechanism.”

As well as being a key means to track participating countries’ progress and the implementation and impact of their respective action plans, the IRM serves a key role in ensuring the continued credibility and legitimacy of OGP. It will issue annual independent assessment reports for each participating country.

Technical and policy expert panel members will play a direct role in overseeing the quality control process for IRM report production, including reviewing and approving final reports for publication. Members of the IEP will initially have a two-year term, with the possibility of a one-year extension. 

- Ends -

Minister for the Cabinet Office (UK), Francis Maude, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on the launch of the IRM and the OGP generally, with reference to the role of the UK.

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Notes to Editors

1. About OGP
OGP is an international initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make government more open, effective, and accountable.

The initiative formally launched in September 2011 when the eight founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States), endorsed an Open Government Declaration and announced their country action plans.

In the past year, the OGP has grown from drastically, from the founding eight to 58 participating governments from around the world. The combined population of the 58 countries participating in the OGP is more than two billion, based on the 2011 statistics from the World Bank (the latest available figures), which represents around 29 per cent of the world’s population.

2. About Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson is President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice. She served as President of Ireland from 1990-1997 and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is a member of the Elders and the Club of Madrid and received numerous honours and awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from the President of the United States Barack Obama. She is a member of the Lead Group of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement.

A former President of the International Commission of Jurists and former chair of the Council of Women World Leaders she was President and founder of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative from 2002-2010.

Mary Robinson serves as Honorary President of Oxfam International and Patron of the Board of the Institute of Human Rights and Business, in addition to being a board member of several organisations including the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the European Climate Foundation. Mary is the Chancellor of the University of Dublin since 1998.

3. About Mo Ibrahim
Dr. Mo Ibrahim is a global expert in mobile communications with a distinguished academic and business career. He was the founder of Celtel International, one of Africa's leading mobile telephone companies.

In 2006, Dr Ibrahim established the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to support good governance and great leadership on the African continent. The Foundation focuses on two major initiatives to stimulate debate around, and improve the quality of, governance in Africa. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance provides civil society and governments with a comprehensive and quantifiable tool to assess governance and promote accountability. The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership recognises and celebrates excellence.

Dr Ibrahim is also Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited, an investment fund focused on Africa.

Dr Ibrahim was listed by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

He has also received numerous honorary degrees and fellowships from a range of academic institutions. These include honorary doctorates from Imperial College, the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London), and the University of Pennsylvania, and honorary fellowships at the Royal College of Engineers, London Business School and Cornell University. Dr Ibrahim is the also the recipient of a number of awards including: The Chairman’s Award for Lifetime Achievement from the GSM Association in 2007; The Economist Innovation Award 2007 for Social & Economic Innovation; Ordre national du Burkina Faso (Officier) and the BNP Paribas Prize for Philanthropy in 2008.

4. About Graça Machel
Graça Machel is a renowned international advocate for women and children’s rights and has been a social and political activist over many decades. As Minister of Education and Culture in Mozambique (1975-1989) she led an inclusive movement which increased the primary school enrolment from 40 per cent of children in 1975 to over 90 per cent of boys and 75 per cent of girls by 1989. In 1994, the Secretary General of the United Nations appointed her as an independent expert to carry out an assessment of the impact of armed conflict on children. Her ground-breaking report was presented in 1996 and established a comprehensive global agenda for the protection of children’s rights in conflict situations. She is also Founder of the Graça Machel Trust (GMT), an organisation that advocates for the rights of women and children on the continent, as well as good governance and democracy.

5. About the Independent Reporting Mechanism
The OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) is a key means by which all stakeholders can track progress and impact among OGP participating governments, as well as promote strong accountability between member governments and citizens. In addition to on-going cooperation and collaboration between governments and civil society, the IRM serves a key role in ensuring the continued credibility and legitimacy of OGP.

IRM reports will be undertaken every 12 months for participating countries. Each IRM report will be published no later than four months following the implementation period being assessed. The first round of reports examining action plans from each founding government will be concluded in May 2013.

6. About the International Expert Panel
The IRM will be overseen by an 8-member international expert panel (IEP), which will be made up of five policy or technical experts and the three senior advisors. The technical experts, who will be announced shortly, will play a direct role in overseeing the quality control process for IRM report production, including reviewing and approving final reports for publication.

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