One year ago today, we convened 140 representatives from governments, civil society, the private sector and multilateral organizations for the first Global Meeting of Open Contracting in Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting was an important stepping stone for the open contracting movement. Over the course of the event, together with all of you, we defined the path forward for open contracting co-created core work streams and took steps to define key features of open contracting. The Open Contracting Partnership wants to take this one-year anniversary as an opportunity to celebrate, with you, how far we have all come together and to look forward to what’s next for open contracting.
Here are some important milestones we’ve achieved since Johannesburg:
- We have developed a set of Open Contracting Global Principles, for adoption on the international and local levels, which will guide governments and organizations as they work to make contracting more open. In the coming weeks, countries from across regions will be announcing their endorsements of these Principles.
- The G8 took an important step in calling for open contracting as part of the Lough Erne Declaration. In the ten-point declaration, G8 leaders directly highlight the importance of disclosing contract information and of having that information lead to enhanced accountability.
- We will soon be announcing the details of the development of an open contracting data standard that will serve to guide the disclosure of public contracts, to ensure that contract data is made available in as clear and accessible a manner as possible.
- Our Community of Practice is growing. The Partnership is working hard to develop tools, methodologies and other support to advance open contracting locally and globally. Together with open contracting practitioners and partners, we developed the Open Contracting Guide and chapter on Public Contracting in a Guide to Open Government.
- The leadership of the Steering Group of Open Contracting has expanded to a group of 8 stakeholders. That group, called the Open Contracting Partnership, includes Colombia Compra Eficiente, the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Integrity Action, Oxfam America, the government of the Philippines, Transparency International, and the World Bank Institute. We are also getting ready to transition the Secretariat of the Open Contracting Partnership that is currently being hosted by the World Bank Institute to a new home outside of the World Bank. We expect that a new, small Secretariat will be in place by the Fall of 2014.
What is even more remarkable than those milestones, are the changes that open contracting have already begun to make on the ground. At the country level, in Mongolia, public procurement laws have actually been changed to include monitoring of contracts by civil society. In Kenya, citizens are able to monitor the availability of drugs and provide feedback on stockouts. On our blog we have featured many more recent success stories from our partners in Cameroon, Zambia, Ghana, and others.
We still have a long way to go. In just a few days the Open Government Partnership Summit begins in London. We believe that the OGP Summit will be another important milestone for open contracting. We expect that several countries will endorse open contracting as part of their national open government action plans. We are hosting a high-level panel on Open Contracting to celebrate these endorsements, and we have also organized a Principles to Practice side session for practitioners from civil society and government interested in advancing open contracting in their countries.
Beyond the Open Government Partnership Summit we hope to continue to deepen and scale up open contracting on the global and local levels. We will continue to advocate for open contracting in global and national fora, and we will continue to engage a wider set of actors to grow the public momentum in support of Open Contracting efforts.
Most importantly we hope to continue to work with you in making open contracting a reality! We believe in the power of co-creation and collective innovation. Let’s continue this collaboration, and together, we’ll reach more milestone on the way to improving the lives of people all around the world.
Stay in touch with us by emailing Partnership@open-contracting.com, following us on Twitter and by using #OpenContracting, liking our Facebook page, and by becoming a member of the Open Contracting Community. And of course, keep working hard to realize the potential of open contracting.