In December 2021, the United States government convened the first Summit for Democracy (S4D), which provided a platform for countries to announce commitments to protect and strengthen democracy at home and abroad. Here, we analyze these S4D commitments, their relevance to open government values, their areas of focus, and how they compare to OGP commitments.
- Open government is a strong component of S4D commitments. Roughly one-third of all S4D commitments are relevant to an open government value (transparency, civic participation, or public accountability). About 70 percent of this subset of commitments are related to civic participation (nearly half of which address civic space). In addition, 10 governments mentioned OGP in at least one commitment.
- S4D commitments show key gaps. First, many S4D commitments are vague. Around one-fifth of S4D commitments lack reference to specific, measurable activities, and 15 percent focus on past achievements rather than future goals. In contrast, 99 percent of recent OGP commitments include verifiable elements. In terms of regional gaps, few countries from Africa or Asia Pacific submitted S4D commitments. As for policy area coverage, S4D commitments do not address important topics like natural resource management, fiscal openness, and legislative openness. This points to the importance of the third takeaway below.
- OGP action plans are important vehicles for advancing S4D commitments. S4D commitments and OGP priorities align in several areas, such as civic space, anti-corruption, and inclusion of marginalized communities. Embedding these S4D commitments in OGP action plans would ensure that they benefit from the multi-stakeholder dialogue, peer exchange, independent monitoring, and support that is built into OGP. In addition, OGP co-creation processes can address some of the gaps in S4D commitments mentioned above.