News

22 December 2017

OGP in the News - Week of December 18, 2017

A weekly round-up of Open Government Partnership (OGP) media coverage around the world. Want to receive OGP in the News directly in your email inbox? Subscribe here.

OGP news surrounding both the Asia Pacific Leaders Forum on Open Government (#APLF2017) and the OGP Americas Regional Meeting, continued this week.

An article in The Jakarta Post quoted several APLF2017 participants emphasizing the importance of engaging local governments in open government reforms. OGP subnational pioneer Bojonegoro, Indonesia was cited as example of local leadership on open government. Championed by current Regent Suyoto Ngartep Mustajab (“Kang Yoto”), Bojonegoro’s transparency initiatives have helped spur economic growth within the East Java regency. While open government is considered a useful tool for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments Asia Pacific, Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, reiterated the need for support at the subnational level. She explained that “achievement of 65 percent of the targets in the SDGs was related to the efforts of local actions and actors.” Hamong Santono of the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) made a similar point about OGP commitments: “The challenge for Indonesia in the OGP is how to make the issue reach the grassroots level, and the way to do that is to create [other places] like Bojonegoro in the country.”   

The Jakarta Post also featured an interview with Thea Tsulukiani, Minister of Justice in Georgia, which is serving as the current OGP government co-chair. Discussing both the benefits and challenges of open government, Tsulukiani offered some sound advice for other countries in the Partnership. Underscoring the importance of maintaining political will to promote OGP values, she encourages OGP countries to “do everything to entertain that [political] will to reform and change. The will is the most important thing and it should not be extinguished.”  

Appearing on front page of La Nacion, the results of the OGP Data Boot Camp—held as a side event to the OGP Americas Regional Meeting—were broadcasted throughout Argentina. At the boot camp, members of the Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ) and Fundacion Conocimiento Abierto analyzed four years of data from the Judicial Information Center (CIJ) on the distribution of corruption cases across Argentina’s twelve federal courts. What they found was that the current lottery system favors some courts more than others when it comes to corruption cases. Quoted in the article, author of the book Forum Shopping, Pablo Slonimsqui, said the findings surfaced by OGP boot camp participants could suggest manipulation. According to La Nacion, the courts are open to suggestions for improvement.     

In light of last week’s vote by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to repeal net neutrality, French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Secretary of State in charge of Digital Affairs, Mounir Mahjoubi, reiterated France’s commitment to using technology for greater openness. Published in Les Echos, Le Drian and Mahjoubi described the primary objective of France’s international digital strategy as “shaping a digital world founded on cooperation, openness, and trust.” Highlighting the link between technology and democracy, the two Frenchmen called for France’s “active involvement” to advance OGP. Also acknowledging the increasingly important role technology plays in issues of national security, Le Drian and Mahjoubi encouraged all European countries to work closely with the private sector when creating digital policy and regulations. This “multilateral, realistic and pragmatic” approach is the one they said France hopes to adopt moving forward.           

And following an address made by President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta for the 54th Jamhuri Day, Victor Bwire of the Media Council of Kenya penned an opinion piece for Daily Nation. Reflecting on President Kenyatta’s proposed agenda, the author noted that the media will play a critical role in realizing the executive legacy. He explained that communication between the government and media should be a constant dialogue and encouraged the public to track the government’s implementation of key reforms. He also emphasized the importance of “information sharing” for those inside and outside of government, pointing out that this commitment to openness is reflected in Kenya’s membership in OGP. Bwire concluded with a stark reminder that a “minimalist approach to sharing information” can be “dangerous for the country.”    

Last but not least, our OGP in the News writers will be taking a break for the holidays. You can expect the next edition of your weekly OGP news roundup in early 2018!

Of course, we can’t catch everything in our news round-ups, so if you see we’ve missed something or think a particular story ought to be featured, please send it to jacqueline.mcgraw@opengovpartnership.org.