OGP in the News – Week of February 26, 2018
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.
What do South Korea, Rio de Janeiro, Spain, and Nigeria have in common? All featured news stories about open government and OGP this week.
South Korea is gearing up for its fourth OGP Action Plan, reported Naver and several other national news outlets. Building off recommendations made by OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism to increase citizen participation both in developing and implementing its OGP commitments, the government plans to “set up an exemplary open national government action plan” this year. In an attempt to attract new stakeholders to the OGP process, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security will be hosting a kickoff forum, during which it will also launch an online consultation platform to open up the plan’s development—a first since joining OGP. Staring March 15, Korean citizens will have one month to propose open government initiatives they would like to see included in the country’s final action plan by visiting idea.epeople.go.kr and clicking on the banner titled “Open Government Partnership (OGP) Fourth National Action Plan Idea Contest with Civil Society.” Quoted in the article, representatives from both government and civil society applauded this effort to increase “participation and cooperation with the people.”
Eduardo Gussem, Attorney General of Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro, penned an opinion piece for Journal o Globo. Highlighting the new Law to Combat Criminal Organizations, a growing number of anti-corruption agencies, and greater transparency around access to information, he wrote that “we are experiencing a moment of great legislative progress.” He nevertheless qualified that “much still needs to be done.” With both national and local elections coming up in October, Gussem called on civil society to make use of all the public data now available, thanks in large part to the many transparency initiatives enacted since Brazil joined OGP in 2011 as one of the founding members. He emphasized the importance of collaboration between government and civil society in ensuring continued progress, saying, “These are collaborative, effectively democratic times; a time in which public authorities and civil society need to join forces to rebuild the state and the dignity of its inhabitants.”
In Europe, the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, together with the Ministry of Finance and Public Function, launched an online training course on open government for all educators and citizens interested in the subject. A press release published on the Ministry website noted that this is just the start of a series of training sessions that will continue throughout 2019, as established under Spain’s current OGP commitments. To further bolster the country’s “strong commitment to the values that [OGP] advocates and defends,” the ministries published the first edition of Spain’s Educational Guidelines on Open Government Education. The press released underscored the importance of the principles of open government for the legitimacy of democracy: “Faced with the loss of trust in institutions, the government’s action must be more open and participatory.”
Finally, Uche Igwe, a researcher at the Sussex Centre of the Study of Corruption, took a nuanced look at the implications of the most recent Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for Nigeria and Ghana. Featured in Sahara Reporters, Igwe’s opinion piece observed that, while the two countries dropped by just one point from 2017, the rankings of both nations fell considerably from those of 2016. He also noted that the “screaming headlines” following the results provide good leverage for demanding further anti-corruption reform. He stresses, however, that “CPI remains what it is – a perception” and should not be confused with reality. Igwe explained that in Nigeria, many people are fighting against corruption and in different ways, resulting in a “struggle among these institutions for public attention.” Not only does this “[magnify] the perception of corruption beyond proportions,” wrote the author, it splits valuable resources among the anti-corruption factions. Emphasizing that “a lot still remains to be done,” Igwe also pointed out that “Nigeria has made quiet but considerable progress in implementing her commitment under initiatives like the Open Government Partnership (OGP).”
Last but not least, OGP in the News will be taking a brief hiatus next week. You can expect the next news roundup of all things OGP in mid-March.
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 email@example.com.