TAI Weekly

TAI Weekly | Open gov pre-teens

By TAI (Role at TAI)


  • Open gov pre-teens
  • “Securitization” at work
  • Data dilemmas
  • Rooted in inequity
  • Energized about energy
  • Balanced portfolio – evaluation style
  • TAI Spotlight


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Open gov pre-teens

Image Source: Roberto Triviño via ResearchGate

As Open Government Partnership (OGP) marks its 10th anniversary, Joe Powell reflects on power shifts and unusual partnerships on the open government journey and their vision for a new version of democracy that is more resilient to authoritarian threats and more responsive to its citizens.

One valuable innovation during that decade – OGP Local – highlights the action plans from municipalities that have joined the partnership. In a nice complement to our Full Disclosure series, see this feature on ex-TAI Steering Committee member and OGP champion Rakesh Rajani.

The Open Contracting Partnership is not quite at the 10-year mark but does have a refreshed strategy. The ideas embedded should have relevance for lots of groups, including the emphasis on immediate value from data (over obsessing on standardization), and recognition that reforms had, “most impact when there was an existing community of reformers who were fixing the system rooted in their own needs.”

The cohort of OGP members with beneficial ownership commitments will no doubt be checking out reflections from the likes of Suneeta Kaimal, John Penrose MP, and Prince Clem Agba from the Beneficial Ownership Transparency Forum held earlier this month. Pair with the data underpinning assessment of the adherence of 62 oil and gas, mining, and commodity trading companies to the Expectations for EITI supporting companies.


TPA Full Disclosure: Accountability Initiative on building capacity towards responsive government

Avani Kapur and Avantika Shrivastava offer insights from the work of the Accountability Initiative research group at the Centre for Policy Research in India. Read the final episode of the first series of our TPA Full Disclosure Series to learn about evidence-based research on state capabilities and public service delivery.


Securitizationat work

Maya Wang finds the Chinese government using claims of protecting national security to clamp down on unions and activists in Hong Kong.  They are far from alone in that tactic, but can there be consequences for repression?

Human Rights Watch is keen that the Sri Lankan government face repercussions for suppression of peaceful protests and the activities of civil society groups.  They are asking the European Union to push compliance with human rights commitments to retain tariff-free access to EU markets.

Torsha Sarkar and Raghav Ahooja also delved into the increasingly evident splintering of the South Asian cyberspace into “micro-internets” that make it easier for governments to implement online censorship.

Under pressure from the anti-democratic protests in Brazil, Fabiana Santos highlights a safety guide for reporters covering demonstrations in the country.


Essential Listening I: Where did big tech go wrong, and what can we do next?

Listen to interview with authors Stanford University’s Jeremy Weinstein, Mehran Sahami, and Rob Reich about their new book, “System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong And How We Can Reboot.” No surprise greater transparency and oversight are integral to proposed solutions.


Data dilemmas

Jamaica’s proposed national identity card system calls for a wholesale sweep of personal data that could leave the poor and venerable exposed. Erica Hellerstein examines the pros and cons of governments storing up citizens’ biometric information – as concerns mount around digital ID systems around the world.

What of the data that INGOs and donors hold? Martha Getachew Bekele worries that data is being used not for security but for power and funding, negatively impacting local actors.

More broadly, are INGOs “stuck” in terms of their role in development? Charles Kojo Vandyck summarizes research that highlights where real opportunities might be for global society to regain momentum.  

Rooted in inequity                                                                                               

Tax Justice UK calls for a tax system that supports fair recovery as research shows how companies cashed out during the pandemic. Steven A. Dean and Attiya Waris bring in a much-needed perspective of race and colonialism to review international tax and call for more inclusive processes.

Plus, check out Tax Justice Network’s new ‘explainer’ video series, where you can learn about tax principles in easy-to-digest bites for ten weeks.

Essential Listening II: Power corrupts podcast

Host Brian Klaas delves into the hidden and often nefarious forces that shape our world. His third series kicks off by looking at shadowy offshore operations. Listen to previous episodes here.



Energized about energy

Do protests empower citizens to hold governments accountable over energy policy? Find answers in this new research on how energy struggles may promote citizen empowerment and institutional accountability, even if they can contest climate goals (remember the gilets jaunes?)

Meantime, nine philanthropies pledged to invest $5 billion over this decade to help local and indigenous communities preserve one-third of the earth’s natural places – lots to be done to reinforce accountability for violations of community rights.

Harvard University announced its long-delayed decision to divest from fossil fuels after years of pressure from students, alumni and faculty members. TAI member MacArthur Foundation follows suit with a bold commitment to divest from fossil fuel and invest in climate solutions – becoming the largest foundation to move money away from the oil and gas sector. Will others follow?


Balanced portfolio – evaluation style

Tom Aston, Florencia Guerzovich, and Alix Wadeson examine how good governance philanthropy is grappling with the idea of moving from individual project level to portfolio-level evaluations, a current MacArthur Foundation practice.

Meantime, researchers at the Center for Evaluation Innovation say private foundations need to be held accountable as they marginalize some grantees and capture others.

Romilda Avila discusses philanthropy roles in building political power at a grassroots level and Carmen Rojas, leader of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, says that philanthropies can support grassroots social movements by providing unrestricted funds. Naomi Orensten and Kate Gehling say don’t stop there. They urge provision in addition of capacity-building support to grantees.

Finally, for all of its negatives, real or perceived, Dr. Beth Breeze says it’s time to stand up for philanthropy and the positive impacts it can bring. One such positive impact is philanthropy becoming a growing revenue stream for local news – and that’s good news for everyone.


Other Stories


TAI Spotlight

Transparency and Accountability Initiative (TAI)’s Executive Director, Michael Jarvis, and Center for Global Development fellows, Amanda Glassman and Charles Kenny highlight four principles essential for governing future global health security financing.

Hewlett Foundation’s Sarah Lucas and Norma Altshuler share what grantee partners are doing to strengthen the capacity, incentives, and systems for evidence use within governments.

Ford Foundation grantee, Press On shares how they are carrying on the legacy of Ida B. Wells to support movement journalists and organizers catalyzing social change in communities to building a just south.

Luminate explains why they are investing in Chicken & Egg Pictures to support women and gender-nonconforming filmmakers whose artful and innovative nonfiction storytelling catalyzes social change, but who may not get the support they require because of the systemic imbalances in the film landscape.


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