All throughout the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit 2015, which was held in Mexico last October 27-29, I tried to steer discussions around the idea of government financing of citizen participation. I purposely used this opportunity to sound off this idea.
The feedback was promising. In one session, an African noted that it is ideal but would not happen in their country in the immediate future. Perhaps in 50 years, he added. A Sri Lankan remarked that he never thought of that track of support for civil society work on accountability, but it made a lot of sense. The American moderator praised the idea and agreed that institutionalization of citizen participation logically entails financing by the government itself. The Indian moderator in another session opined that it’s a viable arrangement that will require a policy and systems study.
Let me level up the discussion and bravely claim that there are indications that the government can actually pay for citizen participation in public governance. I do not mean only that it should pay in principle; I believe there are also practical reasons that it can do so.