News

23 October 2017

OGP in the News - Week of October 16, 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.

This week’s OGP media coverage highlighted open government announcements in Madrid, Paraguay, and even non-OGP country Senegal.  

Manuela Carmena, mayor of OGP Subnational Pioneer Madrid, called for “crystal clear” transparency from the Spanish capital’s City Council. According an article in ElEconomista.es, Mayor Carmena has been a longtime advocate of deepening Spanish democracy to embody the principles of transparency and accountability. Also present was Madrid City Council member, Pablo Soto, who made a splash last month at OGP’s “Renewing Trust” event at the 72nd UN General Assembly. He pointed out that Madrid has become an international example of open governance by championing greater citizen participation.

In Paraguay, ABC Color followed the Ministry of Health as it presented the “Toolkit for Transparency and the Fight Against Corruption.” Minister of Health Antonio Barrios detailed the contents of the toolkit, which includes best practices for public health officials, the Anti-Corruption Unit’s protocol for protecting whistleblowers, Paraguay’s third OGP National Action Plan, and the Ministry of Health’s open data portal. The toolkit will be incorporated into a series of workshops aimed at training the nation’s hospital managers on anti-corruption efforts.

Calling Nigeria’s current economic landscape “disturbing”, with a rising debt to GDP ratio and running a deficit of about 31% of the annual budget, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) encouraged the government to move away from offering tax incentives to ensure effective project implementation. In an article in AllAfrica.com, CISLAC Executive Director Auwal Ibrahim Musa said the emphasis must instead be on “maximising tax revenues to finance development and meet SDG goals.” To do this, Musa called on the Ministry of Finance to uphold the National Tax Policy and follow through on Nigeria’s OGP commitments, saying, “This is the only way for sustainable revenues to finance development for our people.”

Not so far away, in non-OGP country Senegal, journalist Denis Ndour questioned the government’s assertion made on International Right to Know Day that “information is accessible, we just need a law to make it official.” While the day’s celebration was part of Senegalese civil society’s efforts to encourage the country to join OGP, the author noted that Senegal must to much more than pass an Access to Information law. The author concluded that Senegal still has a lot of work to do on democracy, transparency, and sustainable development, pointing to recent arrests of journalists and artists, a large number of outdated government websites, and continued opacity around public spending.   

Finally, Tenders Electronic Daily, a public procurement journal of the European Union, published a contract detailing the specifics of the Afghan Anti-Corruption Civil Society Fund. Financed by the Royal Danish Embassy in Kabul, the fund will be devoted to helping Afghanistan fulfill two of its OGP commitments, namely increasing access to information and bolstering citizen participation. According to the contract award notice, the primary objective of the fund is to “promote the understanding and implementation of the Access to Information Law.”    

Last but not least, #RenewTrust discussions continue this week at the Hague, where government and civil society leaders explore ways OGP can help engage citizens in high-income countries. Find out more here.

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.