News

17 July 2017

OGP in the News - Week of July 10, 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.

Once again, news of OGP circled the globe with updates on whistleblower protections in Nigeria, open government champions in Italy, open data in non-OGP country Mauritius, and more!

In Nigeria, plans to enact a Whistleblowing Protection Bill are underway. Following a two-day seminar in Abuja, co-hosted by the House of Representatives' Committee on Financial Crimes, the HEDA Resource Centre, and the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Reporting, AllAfrica.com reported that a proposed whistleblower bill was presented before the House of Representatives. Attended by government ministers and members of civil society, as well as OGP and United Nations representatives, the seminar underscored the importance of whistleblower protection in Nigeria’s fight against corruption. Sahara Reporters also covered the seminar, citing a communiqué signed by representatives of each of the event’s organizers, which detailed a few “non-negotiable minimum aspects” of the bill, including the “Role for citizens as potential critical mass with the right to use the law; Protecting the citizen whistleblower; Protecting institutions that are traditionally whistleblowers.” The comminqué also pointed out that the “Whistleblower Act is not an end in itself therefore, what happens after the law is passed is of crucial importance.”

Good news came out of Italy, where the Ministry of Simplification and Public Administration (which serves as OGP’s Point of Contact in Italy) named three #OpenGovChampions, chosen among 241 applications and recognized for embodying open government principles in one of three categories: “Transparency and Open Data,” “Participation and Accountability,” and “Citizenship and Digital Skills.” The “Participation and Accountability” winner, Campania Partecipa, was profiled by Rome-based press agency Il Velino. Spearheaded by Vincenzo De Luca, Chairman of the Legislative Office in Italy’s Campania region, Campania Partecipa is an initiative that was passed in 2015 and requires extensive and diverse forms of public consultations on all pieces of the region’s draft legislation (more information here). Quoted in the article, Lidia D'Alessio of Campania’s Regional Council described the Campania Partecipa initiative as “innovative, characterized by a significant degree of stakeholder engagement, and highly replicable.”

And according to Mexican news outlet 20minutos.com.mx, commissioner of Mexico’s National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI), Joel Salas Suárez, advocated continued commitment to ongoing transparency activities in 24 Mexican states with permanent open government secretariats, offering support from INAI. He emphasized that these local open government initiatives are critical to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and improving people’s everyday lives. Alejandro González Arreola, director of Social Management and Cooperation (Gesoc), OGP representative in Mexico, and a member of the OGP Steering Committee, was also quoted calling for greater promotion of open government among both government agencies and civil society organizations.

Elsewhere in the world, the Philippines’ national business newspaper Business Mirror ran a piece by journalist Henry J. Schumacher outlining OGP achievements in that country. The author detailed several positive steps the country has taken toward openness, including attempts to broaden public consultation during the development of the Philippines’ third OGP National Action Plan (NAP), the passage of an Executive Order on freedom of information, and new commitments to improve public services. Describing each of these measures as evidence of “sustained energy on areas with immediate impact on citizens’ lives,” the author also applauded the current administration for increasing compliance among local government units (LGU) with the country’s full budget disclosure policy. So what’s next on the OGP agenda in the Philippines? According to the author, the country’s “commitment to the OGP aims to bring Philippine competitiveness rankings from the bottom third to the top third in the world by 2017 in Ease of Doing Business Survey.”

Finally, the World Bank advised Mauritius to consider joining OGP. Announced on Mauritius’ government website, the recommendation was made as the government attempts to carry out  other recommendations outlined in the World Bank’s Open Data Readiness Assessment Report to “ensure that opportunities for open data are included in policies on innovation, public financial management, procurement reform, tourism sector, and transport improvement.”

Last but not least, want more insight into the inner workings of OGP? Take a look at the minutes from the most recent meeting of OGP’s Steering Committee in Washington, D.C.  

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.