Its aim is to advance gender equality and better governance through increased transparency, participation, accountability, and government responsiveness. The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board, unveiled the FOGO initiative at the 2018 Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia, on July 19.
Open government is a broad set of practices, processes, and reforms aimed at advancing change by engaging citizens and civil society in policymaking through a process of transparency and accountability.
To that end, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) was founded in 2011 to support government efforts to be more open and accountable to their citizens. To date, 75 national governments, including Canada, and 15 subnational governments have joined. In September 2018, Canada will assume co-chairmanship of the OGP Steering Committee with civil society co-chair Nathaniel Heller of Results for Development. Canada’s priorities for its 2018-19 leadership will focus on the three pillars of inclusion, participation, and impact in open government.
To date, open government practices have been gender blind. Gender is mentioned in only 1% of the 3,000 commitments made by governments, and there are important gaps in how women participate in leadership and civil society. Women’s participation is often limited because of a variety of social and cultural factors. FOGO aims to investigate how improving women’s participation in responsive government decisions improves governance and development overall.
The new FOGO initiative responds to this challenge. It will:
- establish an international coalition of partners to drive effective participation for all in open government processes;
- design and implement new gender-aware OGP commitments; and
- build evidence around the impact that gender equality in open government can have on improving responsive government and public service delivery.
FOGO is one of Canada’s flagship initiatives during its OGP co-chairmanship. It also supports Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy adopted in 2017.
An open call for proposals to conduct research on the potential of feminist open government approaches in local contexts will be launched in September 2018.