News, views and updates related to the Open Government Partnership (www.opengovpartnership.org). The Open Government Partnership is a new multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. Suggested 'scoops' welcome via @ClaireDevinit Not endorsed by OGP
Extract: "While the government’s decision to join the Open Government Partnership is commendable, a gruelling task lies ahead to change the mentality of most civil servants toward providing open and honest public services. As the government commits itself to promoting increased access to information about how the government operates and releasing data to the public, there are many hurdles to overcome, some of which are very disturbing."
The OpenGov Hub has built upa collection of nearly 20 tenant organizations working in different ways to advance openness, transparency, and participation. They've hosted 97 public events in the first 12 months that brought together nearly 3,000 public visitors and participants.
The IRM Philippines: Progress Report 2011-13 public briefing will take place on Oct, 10th, 9-11:30 am, at Annabel’s Restaurant on Tomas Morato Avenue in Quezon City.
The progress report for the Philippines will be uploaded for public comment by mid-October, on the OGP-IRM website.
Malou Manghas, IRM researcher for the Philippines, produced the report together with PCIJ staff. They conducted two workshops with 31 stakeholders, and secured government’s comments on the research findings, and reviewed relevant documents on the implementation of the Philippines’ OGP Action Plan for 2012.
The OGP summit would like to hear your input and ideas. They have therefore organised a round of conference calls as an opportunity to hear about the latest OGP developments and discuss how best to use the Summit for our CS agenda.
The following call times have been scheduled:
October 8, 10 am EST/16 pm Brussels: OGP Community Call North America and EuropeOctober 9, 11 am Mexico/13 pm Brasilia time/18 pm Brussels: OGP Community Call Latin AmericaOctober 10, 9 am Brussels/10 am Nairobi/14 pm Jakarta: OGP Community Call Asia and Africa
Further detail on telephone numbers to be communicated soon.
All civil society actors are invited to fill in the OGP Civil Society Survey 2013. The Survey is a temperature check of engagement with OGP, and the health of the initiative as a whole.
Response will give a snapshot of the OGP players and provide an insight into experiences of year two at the national level. It will also provide the information needed to improve communications within the OGP community and to figure out what is needed to make OGP a success (and what you can bring to the community).
The Survey is available in Spanish and English. The results will be announced at the OGP Civil Society Day (University of London Union, October 30)
The Open Government Partnership’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) has now launched the second IRM report on Brazil.
The IRM’s goal is to deliver a credible, non-partisan description of the process behind the implementation of a country’s commitments. This also includes the results of those commitments and importantly, technical recommendations for that country as it looks to implement its second action plan.
The IRM research is carried out by an independent researcher under the guidance of the IRM Washington DC team as well as an International Experts Panel, comprised of five technical advisors. The Brazil report was drafted by Vera Schattan P. Coelho and Laura Trajber Waisbich of the Brazil Centre for Analysis and Planning.
This is the draft report detailing the 62 proposed Action Plan commitments generated during the summer’s OGP consultations.
It is open for comments on any significant inaccuracies or omissions. You can leave a comment on the document itself – go to 'Comment' and select 'Point Comment' to leave your remarks in the margins. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
This draft report is available for feedback until noon on Friday 27 September 2013.
The report will be sent to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on Tuesday 1 October 2013.
The Romanian Government is due to send its Annual Self-evaluation Report regarding the National Action Plan for 2012 to the OGP Coordination Committee at the end of September 2013. On 11 September 2013 the Romanian Government published on its dedicated OGP page the draft of the OGP Annual Self-evaluation Report and is available here for public consultation until 25 September 2013.
Steven Friedman offers his analysis of the South Africa IRM report in a OGP Blog. He argues that:
"the route to open government lies not in more formal processes or in anointing a civil society which excludes most citizens as the representative of all. It lies, rather in strengthening practices which enable more citizens to insist that government does what they want; and in ensuring that more and more people can decide how they want to hold government to account, restricted only by the law and the constitution, rather than in more processes in which government decides how it wants to talk to the people."
All this means that the route to open government lies not in more formal processes or in anointing a civil society which excludes most citizens as the representative of all. It lies, rather in strengthening practices which enable more citizens to insist that government does what they want; and in ensuring that more and more people can decide how they want to hold government to account, restricted only by the law and the constitution, rather than in more processes in which government decides how it wants to talk to the people. - See more at: http://blog.opengovpartnership.org/2013/09/analysis-of-the-south-africa-irm-report/#sthash.dvv79EPs.dpuf
At a sensitation workshop for the public sector reform on OGP, the Minister of State for Ghana, in charge of Public Sector Reforms, Mr Alhassan Azong, has said that the Open Government Policy would be implemented in 2014 and work is beginning on its two year action plan.
He stated that, Ghana's decision was borne out of its zeal for the promotion of democracy and good governance, demonstrated through existing provisions enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
The Deputy Director in charge of Research at the Public Sector Reform Secretariat, Mr Dungo, said the OGP commitments could result in four main achievements such as, Transparency, Citizen's Participation, Accountability, Technology and Innovation.
A member of the International Secretariat Committee, Mr Paul Maassen was satisfied with the work at the committee staged, with special attention to the rural communities.
The fourth of eight Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) reports is here.
IRM progress reports are carried out by an independent researcher under the guidance of the International Experts’ Panel. In Norway, Christopher Wilson of The Engine Room and Joachim Nahem from the International Law and Policy Institute comprised the research team. The team carried out a consultative process, reviewing government progress with robust consultation with civil society.
The goal of the IRM is to deliver credible, non-partisan description of the OGP process, results of commitments, and to provide technical recommendations based on the input of government, civil society, and the private sector.
Overall the report states that Norway fell short of OGP’s requirements for process, making no consultation information available online, providing inadequate forewarning, and incorporating little stakeholder feedback into the plan.
All interested parties are encouraged to comment on this blog or to send public comments to IRM@opengovpartnership.org until November 14.
Report from the UK on their first National Action Plan by thought the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM). The UK is currently deep into the detail of developing the commitments which will form its second National Action Plan which will be published at the Annual Summit at the end of October.
Based on the government’s self-assessment, the IRM report finds that 17 of the commitments have been completed, 20 are in progress and 4 have been withdrawn. Of those that are in progress the majority, 14 in total, show only limited progress. To put it another way, just over half of the government’s commitments are either completed, or substantially completed.
The Civil Society Day will focus on the conversations OGP Civil Society need to have amongst themselves in order to prepare for the summit and strengthen the national OGP processes down the line.
The program combines the opportunity for sideline conversations at the unconference with sessions on the pressing topics we need to discuss as a community and space for topics that in some way push the boundaries of open government.
You can express interest at www.ogpsummit.org, and register for the summit itself in one go.
Canada presented its Action Plan in April 2012 and is currently in the process of preparing its first implementation or self-assessment report.
The Centre for Law and Democracy has produced its own Progress Report, complementary to the government’s report arguing that:
- The process of consultation around the development and implementation of the Action Plan was weak, and the specific commitments can only be described as modest.
- An issue that was addressed insufficiently in the Action Plan commitments was reform of the Access to Information Act, despite the fact that almost all informed observers agreed on this is as a key priority.
The CLD calls on the Canadian government to undertake robust consultations as it develops its implementation report for the OGP and again when it develops its second Action Plan, due in March 2014. CLD also requests that the government ensure that the second Action Plan is far more ambitious than the current one.
Here is a one hour recording at the UN General Assembly, of President Obama meeting with heads of state and leaders of civil society, multilateral organizations, and the philanthropic community to discuss growing restrictions being placed on civil society organizations (CSOs) worldwide.
The event marks the beginning of a year-long effort to further intensify our work to support and defend civil society from a rising tide of restrictions.
See scoop below for details about how OGP were involved in this important event.
On September 23, 2013 representatives of the Open Government Partnership participated in a High Level Event Supporting Civil Society hosted by US President Barack Obama.
During his remarks, President Obama issued the following call to action to OGP: “Strong nations recognize the value of active citizens … even when inconvenient for government leaders. … We urgently need to do more to spur global action.”
Alejandro Gonzalez, civil society member of the OGP Steering Committee also spoke to the assembled guests, stating: “At this very moment civic society organizations and leaders are involved in the policy process to shape some of the most relevant reforms taking place in Mexico. The Open Government Partnership has provided a positive and practical framework to have a structured, critical, and at the same time constructive dialogue between government and civil society.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key met with UK Prime Minister David Cameron in London on 19th September and, at the request of the UK, announced that New Zealand will formally express its intention to join the Open Government Partnership later this year.
Mr Key said “The OGP’s goals are consistent with New Zealand values and with our goals for international economic and social development, and I was pleased the UK invited us to join,” .
The Opening Government Guide developed by the Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/A I) is a resource to help countries in developing ambitious national plans.
The first edition of The Guide was developed in 2011 when the Open Government Partnership first started. However, two years down the line there is much more experience of developing action plans and many new standards to draw on.
The new guide will be launched at the OGP Summit, as a resource particularly for the 39 countries that will develop their second action plans after the summit, and others that will follow on the year after.
The conference is on from 17th Sept 3:00am EDT — 18th Sept 12:30am EDT. The 2013 edition is welcoming over 750 participants from 45 countries in Geneva and is the world’s leading open data and open knowledge event.
The Freedom of Information and Privacy Association (FIPA) a non-profit society that works to advance freedom of information, open and accountable government and privacy rights in Canada. This report is their response to the consultation of the Government of Canada's commitment to OGP.
The report reponds primarily to the call for responses to the question: "are there any other comments or suggestions you would like tomake pertaining to the Government of Canada’s OpenGovernment initiative?"
FIPA concluding remarks are:" Lack of transparency is a serious issue in this country, and not just for thisgovernment. However, the Government of Canada labours under the mostarchaic Access to Information law, and has shown no inclination to improvethe legislation. This is despite credible critiques from a series of Commissioners, experts, media and civil society groups.The current OGP commitments are tinkering around the edges of a veryserious problem. This government has in the past made credible proposals forreform which it has seen fit to ignore while in office. Until serious proposals forreform are included as commitments to the OGP, the government’scommitment to open government has to be questioned."
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