New trust fund focuses on government transparency, accountability and responsiveness

This post was originally published on the World Bank website. 

With the goal of supporting governments and civil society in countries and sub-nationals that participate in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to increase government transparency, improve accountability and strengthen citizen engagement and government responsiveness, the World Bank and development partners have launched the OGP Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF)

The US$12 million Fund will support implementation of open government reforms, an inclusive and participatory dialogue and decision-making process, and build the evidence base on the impact of open government reforms. The design, strategy and governance of the MDTF is rooted in OGP’s founding principles that government and civil society should have an equal seat at the table. With the support of Agence Française de Développementthe Department for International Development UK, and Global Affairs Canada, the MDTF aims to deliver customized support to both governments and civil society in line with the OGP standards and timeframes, and it incentivizes robust performance by all partners while leveraging the World Bank’s technical expertise and country programs.

“The World Bank is supporting both governments and civil society in OGP to deliver country or locally led reforms to build knowledge, and create avenues and opportunities for open government and citizen engagement, and help build and maintain trust between citizens and the state,” said Debbie Wetzel, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Governance Global Practice. “The MDTF is an instrument to leverage the Bank’s technical specialists and in-country presence to support experimentation and innovative approaches to reform, participation, inclusion, and learning to move the needle on open government and citizen engagement.”

Aidan Eyakuze, Executive Director of Twaweza and a member of the OGP Steering Committee said, “The OGP Trust Fund is a very welcome addition to the growing collection of powerful tools for opening up governments around the world. Civil society actors were previously disadvantaged by having fewer financial resources to deploy to this mission than our government partners. This fund helps to further level that playing field.”

The first set of awards have been given to nine civil society organizations to facilitate the participatory process of developing OGP Action Plans in five countries and four sub-nationals. Given the significant demand, this exceeded initial expectations. Eyakuze added, “The superb quality of the CSO proposals, and the decision to fund more than we had anticipated underscore the unique value of this MDTF.”

“There is momentum to increase ambition on open government reforms as more countries are joining the OGP, especially in francophone Africa. The MDTF is a lever to support this ambition both among the civil society community and the government partners,” said Hélène Julien, Public Sector Reform Program Manager of the Governance Department, Agence Française de Développement (AFD). “AFD is therefore very happy to have been the first donor to contribute to the MDTF.”

“The OGP Trust Fund is an exciting moment for the partnership. It has been designed to explicitly support OGP partners around the world in their work, be it co-creation, advancing thematic priorities or implementing ambitious commitments,” said Joe Powell, Deputy CEO of the OGP Support Unit. "We are already seeing high demand from the community and look forward to further discussions at the Global Summit in Tbilisi.”

The MDTF will open calls for proposals throughout the year for awards on a competitive basis to national and sub-national/local OGP participants with a multi-stakeholder forum, and to partners who will support the learning and building of evidence of impact of OGP commitments.

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