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OGP in the News – Week of March 19, 2018

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.

What does CrowdLaw mean, and how is Indonesian regency and OGP Local participant Bojonegoro combating crime? Find out in this week’s recap of OGP news, plus more from Ghana and Mongolia.

After debuting the Crime Alarm System (CAS) application in 2016, the regency of Bojonegoro, Indonesia—an OGP Local participant—is now working to train the public on how to use the application. Quoted in an editorial by Kumparan, Bojonegoro Chief of Police Wahyu S. Bintoro explained that the application falls very much in line with the “spirit of OGP.” Intended to ease crime reporting, the application is divided into three use cases—one for the regency police staff, one for Bojonegoro’s government agencies, and one for the wider public. According to the article, Bintoro presented the application at a gathering of OGP Local participants, where it “gained appreciation from all OGP Forum representatives.”      

OGP staff traveled to Mongolia to meet with several several high-level ministers, including Mongolian Chief of Cabinet Secretariat G. Zandanshatar. Covered by national news outlet Montsame, Zandanshatar briefed OGP staff on the country’s open government developments, pointing to the National Program on Combating Corruption, increased transparency in the extractives sector, and the newly formed Public-Private Consultative Subcommittee established under the Investment Protection Council. Another overview of the OGP visit quoted Deputy Governor of Ulaanbaatar City and Head of Projects on Poverty Alleviation and Employment Issues, D.Enkhtur, explaining that Mongolia’s 2016-2018 OGP Action Plan helps define and strengthen the country’s work around the Sustainable Development Goals. The article also documented discussions on ways to improve public services via the launch of the “Check My Services” application and “e-kindergarten registration.”       

Earlier this month, experts from around the world gathered in Bellagio, Italy to brainstorm ways to include a multitude of “opinions and expertise at every stage of the law- and policy-making process.” Published on GovLab’s website, a reflection by OGP Civil Society Co-Chair, Mukelani Dimba, discussed the democratic potential of CrowdLaw, or a “cutting-edge idea for using technology to enhance public participation in urban law making.” Noting the ever expanding use of mobile phones across the globe, Dimba warned that the practice of democracy “might also fray” should it fail to keep up with technological innovation. He commended the efforts of initiatives like OGP, which unite reformers from government and civil society—including the civic tech community—in leveraging technology to enhance democracy, and encouraged greater overlap between OGP and CrowdLaw.         

In Ghana, civil society is pushing for the passage of the Right to Information Bill. Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia announced that a revised version of the bill was approved by the Cabinet and moved onto Parliament. Inusah Fuseini of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, however, expressed skepticism that the bill would pass this session. Quoted in Modern Ghana, Fuseini said his committee will review and write a report on the bill during the parliamentary recess to assure it be laid before the House as soon as Parliament resumes. The article detailed the RTI Bill’s long history and iterations, noting that it was even included in Ghana’s first OGP Action Plan.    

Last but not least, feeling some #opengov inspiration? Share with the rest of the world either by submitting a session proposal for OGP’s Global Summit or taking part in Open Gov Week!

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