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OGP in the News – Week of December 4, 2017

Jacqueline McGraw|

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.

Between last month’s OGP Americas Regional Meeting and the upcoming Asia Pacific Leaders Forum on Open Government, this week’s OGP global media coverage remained strong.   

Sometimes you need to get away to find people who will appreciate you.” That was how CBC News described Canadian Treasury Board President Scott Brison’s recent trip to Argentina for the OGP Americas Regional Meeting in Buenos Aires. In the article, OGP Deputy CEO, Joseph Powell, pointed out that governments are looking increasingly to leadership on open government from countries like Canada, France, and Argentina. This comes at a time, however, when Canada is facing heightened scrutiny at home for its access to information system, which has become “infamous for the long delays and blacked-out pages it regularly produces.” The article reported that even Minister Brison’s proposed Bill C-58 to reform Canada’s information system has been widely criticized. As the country prepares to assume co-chairmanship of OGP in 2018, Mary Francoli, a professor at Carleton University and member of OGP’s International Experts Panel who specializes in open government, reflected that “It is an ideal time for the government to make more ambitious change and to share its best practices internationally.”  

Leading up to the Asia Pacific Leaders Forum on Open Government (#APLF2017) on December 14, the Indonesian President’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Yanuar Nugroho, made the case for continued open data and open government development in Indonesia. Nugroho authored a piece in The Jakarta Post that described open government as the “condition necessary for creating and implementing effective, evidence-based policies to ensure that in development, no one is left behind.” He highlighted the critical role of OGP in developing a reliable, single-reference open data system for more accountable policy making, and said APLF2017 marks an opportunity to exchange ideas on how open government can fortify development efforts.

More APLF2017 news came from GovInsider, which published a piece on South Korea’s “Gwanghwamoon 1st Street” initiative by Sungyeol Shin, Director of the Public Participation Policy Division in the Ministry of the Interior and Safety. This massive open government program produced 180,705 suggestions to improve the government from citizens throughout South Korea, all in just 49 days. Of these, more than 1,700 have been integrated into government policies. A colleague of Director Shin’s at the Ministry of Interior and Safety said in the article that  he “hopes the exchange of best practices at the Asia Pacific Leaders Forum will provide meaningful insight into the government reform efforts of Korea and other nations in the Asia Pacific region.”         

Italian Minister of Public Administration Marianna Madia announced that Milan will be hosting the second edition of the country’s “Open Government Week” in February. According to Corriere Milano, the idea was first introduced by Roberto Maroni, President of Lombardy, at the time that Italy joined OGP in 2011. The article also reported that Italy’s Open Government Week will commemorate the significant progress the country has made on transparency issues, including establishing the Anti-Corruption Authority and passing a decree for access to information.   

Also in Europe, Next INpact announced that France became president of the “Contracting 5” (C5), a group of countries committed to open contracting. The tech news site explained that France has been working to promote greater government transparency for several years, mostly after joining OGP in 2014. Henri Verdier, head of France’s Interministerial Directorate of Information and Communications Systems (DISNIC), attributed C5’s founding to last year’s OGP Global Summit in Paris. Today, it includes six countries: Argentina, Colombia, France, Mexico, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.      

Writing for Mexican news outlet Animal Politico, Maria del Carmen Nava, a political scientist studying accountability, legislative power, and political parties, shared her thoughts on several #OGPArgentina events. She began with the OGP Academy, which featured some 60 speakers and took place a few days before the OGP Americas Regional Meeting. Describing the OGP Academy as “space for reflection with the aim of observing how the opening processes have been sought, what have been the scope and failures,” Nava reiterated points made by keynote speaker Gerardo Munck, who underscored the relationship between democracy and open government. She then discussed the Americas Regional Meeting itself. Critiquing a lack of “horizontal debate” between government and civil society at the sessions on open parliament, she wrote, “Confidence and credibility fall and are weakened at the legislative level; there are not even tables linking the dialogue between civil society and legislators.”       

And in Uruguay, Montevideo Portal presented the preliminary results of a national survey on citizen participation, along with proposed indicators to measure citizen participation and an online catalog of the findings. The article reported that 139 of 169 government institutions have avenues for citizen input with the top three being the Institute of Children and Adolescents (INAU), the Ministry of Education and Culture, and the Ministry of Social Development. Furthermore, the most common forms of citizen participation are round-table discussions, commissions and/or committees, councils, and public hearings. The article also announced that Uruguay is gearing up to launch its 2018-2020 OGP National Action Plan (NAP). Starting in January, the government will begin working with civil society to draft the country’s future OGP commitments – stay tuned for ways you can contribute!    

Last but not least, December 9 was International Anti-Corruption day. To commemorate ongoing efforts worldwide to combat corruption, our friends at Urban GLASS produced a short film. Please watch and share!   

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

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