Summer 2014 Newsletter
We hope that the summer has been treating you well. Whether you’re about to take (or are just coming back from) a well-deserved holiday, we would love to give you a quick update on what’s new with the Global Integrity team.
Money, Politics & Transparency
Our Money, Politics, & Transparency Project is in full swing in partnership with our good friends at the Sunlight Foundation and Electoral Integrity Project. The project is a major effort to assess the state of political finance transparency in diverse countries around the world. We’ll then use that evidence to begin working with a global community of stakeholders to identify possible norms around what effective and transparent money in politics systems could look like in countries. This month, we’ve just launched in-country fieldwork in 50 countries, working with local teams of researchers to score nearly 50 newly developed “Integrity Indicators” that assess the existence and effectiveness of money in politics systems at the country level (both de jure laws and their de facto implementation and enforcement). Data should be ready for publication and analysis in the coming months. In the interim, we’ve recently assembled a world-class Reference Group of project advisors to help guide and shape the research; you can read all about them on the MPT website.
From the Research Team
In addition to diving into the Money, Politics and Transparency Project, our Research team is launching its third round of the Africa Integrity Indicators, a project assessing key social, economic, political, and anti-corruption mechanisms at the national level in all African countries, in partnership with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. We are also preparing to launch the second round of the State Integrity Investigation, an unprecedented examination of corruption risks in the 50 US states. The first round of the State Integrity Investigation, published two years ago in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International (weâ€™ll be collaborating again with the Center on the second round), showed that not a single state earned an “A” grade for their anti-corruption performance, generating intense debate around the country. Finally, through conversations with dozens of experts around the world, weâ€™re continuing to discuss ways in which a new, updated version of the Global Integrity Report could further promote the global anti-corruption agenda and support in-country reformers with their efforts.
Governance Data Alliance
Global Integrity has a habit of creating big, audacious new things. The Governance Data Alliance is one of them. Following several months of discussion and informal exploration with dozens of partners, in April we convened an exciting 2-day design session at the OpenGov Hub to discuss ways in which the broader community of governance data producers (organizations like us) could better coordinate with other producers as well as strengthen feedback loops and communication with governance data users (both in and outside of government and donor agencies). We’ve cooked up some pretty compelling ideas for taking the vision from discussion to reality and are currently wrapping up the work of four informal working groups to pinpoint practical next steps for some initial joint efforts. Watch this space!
New Policy Agenda
Alan Hudson joined Global Integrity in April as our Managing Director for Policy. Prior to joining us, Alan worked for the ONE Campaign, for the UKâ€™s Department for International Development, for the Overseas Development Institute, for the UK Parliament and – many moons ago – as an academic. Over the past couple of months, weâ€™ve made good progress in setting out a coherent policy agenda for Global Integrity focused on â€œOpening Governance.â€ The starting point for this agenda is our belief that open (transparent, responsive, accountable) governance empowers people to exercise their freedoms – using resources more effectively to pursue their dreams – and helps to ensure that governments are responsive to citizensâ€™ needs.
The next step in articulating a policy agenda has been to work out how best we can contribute to changes in policy and practice that will help to promote more open governance. It seems to us that Global Integrity can add most value by building and strengthening the connections or bridges amongst the different issues, actors and approaches that make up the open governance landscape, to help to make it more than the sum of its parts. This might involve, for instance: strengthening the ecosystem of organizations working to enable people to follow and shape the flow of public money; championing an open governance agenda through the G8, the G20 and the post-2015 process; supporting efforts to improve the quality, use and impact of governance data; exploring ways in which expertise on governance might be brought to bear in the health sector; and, encouraging the open governance community to address cross-cutting issues, such as money in politics, that are not yet on the radar.
The Indaba Platform
The overall theme for Indaba for 2014 has been to expand, expand, expand. We are doing this threefold with our product by: (1) significantly increasing the number of projects and external paying users running projects on the platform; (2) growing our team by hiring a new colleague, Riddhi Mehta, who is scaling up our efforts for project support, documentation and building a comprehensive knowledge base so users can manage Indaba projects easier; and (3) updating the platform with new management, discussion/communication, and analytical features. Five new features are in beta courtesy of an investment from the International Budget Partnership, which is using the new features to run their 2014-2015 Open Budget Survey. All features will be rolled out to projects that want to use them in the next month.
Some of the organizations that are currently running projects on Indaba include Transparency Internationalâ€™s UK Defence team, Global Integrity, the Carter Center, and the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO). The World Resources Institute is also expanding upon a previously run pilot. Finally, we have been working on strengthening Indabaâ€™s brand awareness by launching a new website (www.indaba.io), sponsoring a booth at State of The Map, and hosting informal brown bag events.
Life at the OpenGov Hub
We continue to be excited about our role in the OpenGov Hub. As we quickly grew out of our inaugural location a few blocks east of the White House in Washington, DC, we successfully managed to smoothly move 130 people into our new location on April 1st – now a few blocks north of the White House – and are now happily cohabitating with 28 other organizations also working in the open government field. Our event programming also continues to grow: within our first 6 months, we have run over 60 events with nearly 2,000 participants – including our launch event on June 9th with special guest speakers Jim Wolfensohn and Peter Eigen. Beyond Washington, DC, weâ€™re thrilled to announce that we now have a second location in Kathmandu, Nepal, and have developed a partnership with the Center for Social Innovation to provide reciprocal space for traveling colleagues in Toronto and New York City.