France launches first OGP action plan

Yesterday, France launched its first Open Government Partnership (OGP) action plan in Paris. Publish What You Fund welcomes the plan and is pleased to see that the document contains commitments for France’s development cooperation to become more transparent (see Commitment 3, p.15). France are taking over as an OGP Co-Chair in October and we’re confident they will translate this plan into action.

France already publishes information on some of its priority countries to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard. The new plan commits France to broadening this publication across more countries and regions, and extending publication across different ministries. This is an extremely important step. We recently published an analysis showing just how little aid is visible in 10 highly aid dependant countries. France is an important donor to the two countries with the least visible EU aid: Myanmar and Cote D’Ivoire, providing in 2013 around 13% and 11% of total Official Development Flows respectively to these two countries. Extending the publication of timely and comparable data to these countries will therefore represent a big leap forward in the amount of visible aid there.

The data does, of course, have to be of a suitably high quality for it to be useful, and we will continue to press the government to improve data quality as it extends the breadth of its publication. Taking the step of joining OGP and developing an action plan has been a key ask of Publish What You Fund – OGP is an excellent vehicle for operationalising and streamlining open data policies at the national level. This week we have seen IATI recognised in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. The lack of commitments at Addis are a concern, but we see initiatives such as the OGP as being good ways to ensure rhetoric is turned into action and we urge all eligible countries to join.

As a final recommendation: We strongly encourage France to now formally join IATI. In doing so, it can ensure greater peer learning and sharing of best practice. It is currently one of the only large European donors not to do so. Joining IATI will help ensure that the new OGP aid transparency commitment is a success.