OGP in the News – August 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.
Many exciting OGP developments happened in August, and the media noticed! From Seoul, South Korea to Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire, OGP made headlines around the world.
OGP staff travelled to South Korea’s capital city Seoul to attend the opening ceremony of the Korea OGP Forum. Covering the event, national news outlets Naver and MK News circulated an interview with OGP Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Pradhan as he reflected on the South Korea’s open government leadership in the region, notably by passing the first information disclosure law in Asia. Citing exemplary OGP commitments on citizen participation in France and Estonia, Pradhan advocated for continued collaboration between government and civil society via events like Korea’s OGP Forum, which brought together representatives from a number of government ministries and close to a dozen civil society organizations. Another Naver article announced that Pradhan, on behalf of OGP, and Secretary General of the World Cities E-Government Council, Dr. Young-sook Nam, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote cooperation around sustainable urban development.
Heise Online recorded important OGP progress in Germany, which finalized its first ever OGP National Action Plan (NAP), with 15 commitments on everything from open data and extractive industry transparency to family benefits. Noting that the action plan represents a “foundation for open government” in Germany, the article also reported general satisfaction among the civil society organizations that participated in the country’s NAP public consultation in March and many of whose commitment proposals were included in the final NAP. According to the article, the German government plans to extend the public consultation period when drafting its next OGP action plan in 2019.
More open government success came out of OGP Subnational Pioneer Bojonegoro, Indonesia, reported national news portal Kumparan.com. The article highlighted the East Java regency as a model in budget transparency for using billboards and village websites to publicize how local budgets are broken down in 430 villages spread across the regency’s 28 sub-districts. Quoted in the article, Bojonegoro Regent Kang Yoto added that implementation of OGP commitments has “grown significantly” since the regency launched its OGP Subnational Action Plan at the OGP Global Summit in December 2016. Another Kumparan article also emphasized that one of the primary objectives of Bojonegoro’s Subnational Action Plan is to rebuild trust in government at the local level.
In Argentina, meanwhile, Executive Director of the Legislative Directory Foundation and OGP Steering Committee member María Baron authored an opinion piece for La Nacion, calling for greater transparency and access to information from the Argentine Congress. Noting that both chambers of Congress joined the country’s OGP framework earlier this year, Baron said that the legislative branch’s failure to proactively publish information and respond to demands made by Argentine civil society stands in “contrast to the highly ambitious commitments submitted by the Executive branch in July, as part of the third National Action Plan.”
In the wake of allegations of federal espionage against activists and journalists made by Mexican civil society organizations—including those formerly belonging to Mexico’s Tripartite OGP Secretariat—new attention has been brought to the fact that Mexico lacks a National Cybersecurity Strategy. El Economista quoted the head of Mexico’s Innovation and Technological Strategy Unit, Víctor Lagunes, responding to civil society complaints about government spying by pointing out that “cooperation among all stakeholders is essential.” Lagunes went on to invite the organizations that withdrew from Mexico’s OGP framework to share their input on developing cybersecurity policy.
Upholding the OGP commitment of making citizens a more integral part of government decision-making processes, ParlamentníListy.cz announced that the Czech Republic’s Ministry for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities, and Legislation conducted a two-week public consultation on the country’s latest OGP Self-Assessment Report. From August 15-29, citizens were invited to share their thoughts on the country’s six current OGP commitments.
Much of this month’s OGP media coverage came out of West Africa. In Sierra Leone, the Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornelius Deveaux, vowed that the government would be transparent in spending relief funds that have poured in from around the world to help the country recover from devastating floods and mudslides. Adding credibility to this pledge, Minister Deveaux pointed out that foreign aid transparency is one of Sierra Leone’s current OGP commitments in a piece for AllAfrica.com. In nearby Côte d’Ivoire, Abidjan.net covered OGP public consultations in both Yamoussoukro and Daloa on the country’s 2016-2018 OGP commitments. The president of the Ivorian technical OGP committee, Chantal Angoua Ehouman, explained that these consultations seek primarily to gauge citizen opinions and thereby bolster the “public integrity” of OGP processes in Côte d’Ivoire.
And in Nigeria, Monday Osasah of the African Centre for Leadership, Strate?gy and Development reiterated the importance of implementing OGP reforms to combat Nigeria’s long-standing reputation for corruption. Quoted in an article by AllAfrica.com, Osasah warned that the government must fulfill its OGP commitments or risk inciting widespread skepticism about its commitment to eradicating corruption.
Finally, OGP made news in non-OGP countries Belgium and Guinea, where open government fans are pushing both countries to join the Partnership. According to LeVif.be, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo touted the potential benefits of OGP before parliament. And in Guinea, Africatime.com covered a meeting headed by the Blogger Association of Guinea (Ablogui) to familiarize national civil society organizations (CSOs) with OGP and discuss the possibility of joining.
Last but not least, if you were hoping to contribute to the second edition of our “Early Results from OGP Initiatives” publication, you are in luck! The deadline to submit case studies (and receive a USD 5,000 grant) has been extended until September 27 – details 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.