OGP in the News – Week of October 9, 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.
OGP had several big announcements this week, and the world noticed!
Adding new expertise to drive forward the open government movement, OGP was honored to announce four visionary women hailing from every corner of the world as OGP Ambassadors. Mexican news outlet Proceso covered the announcement, noting that Alicia Bárcena, Helen Clark, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Helle Thorning-Schmidt will play a “crucial role” in advocating the OGP agenda on the global stage. These former prime ministers, CEOs, and high-level ministers will join outstanding OGP Ambassadors Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, and Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, to “combat the rise of authoritarianism, public distrust and closed government.”
Alongside the announcement of the new Ambassadors, OGP launched the OGP Envoys Network, a coalition of former Steering Committee members committed to representing OGP at high-level events and continuing to shape the open government agenda. OGP subnational pioneer, the city of Buenos Aires, highlighted one such envoy—Fernando Straface—on its website. Straface, the Secretary General and Head of International Relations of Buenos Aires, will join 16 other OGP envoys in advising governments and sharing open government best practices and innovative initiatives. Quoted in the article, Straface said, “The invitation to join this network signals the leadership of the City of Buenos Aires in open government at the subnational level and the quality of its open government ecosystem.”
Across the Pacific in South Korea, Ohmynews.com published a piece encouraging Korean leaders to make greater use of the OGP platform to restore trust in government and deepen democracy. Noting that OGP has largely become known as an information disclosure movement, the author underscores OGP’s citizen participatory mechanisms, which they believe are the true drivers behind more open and democratic governance. And while South Korea has made progress on this front by launching the Korea OGP Forum, the author calls for an overarching paradigm shift away from “authoritarian and closed attitudes.” Emphasizing the role of OGP in bringing about this change, the author writes, “This [OGP] movement, which is well suited to the demands of the era of abolition, can greatly help solve the problems facing our society.”
In Nigeria, the government’s performance on Freedom of Information (FOI) reporting is a mixed bag. Referenced in an AllAfrica.com article, an assessment by civil society organization Right to Know (R2K) found that just 54 of Nigeria’s total 800 government departments and agencies submitted annual FOI reports. The Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ), and Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), however, have ranked high in compliance with the FOI Act. R2K Coordinator Ene Nwakpa even credited these three institutions with “[ensuring] that development of [a] FOI portal is now a mandatory line item on the access to information components of the Open Government Policy (OGP) National Action Plan.”
On to Europe, Norway launched the Statsregnskapet.no web portal as part of the country’s OGP commitment to shedding greater light on public spending. Announced in a press release on the government’s website, the portal provides an easy-to-access and understandable overview of government revenues and expenses. Calling the portal a “step in the right direction,” Norwegian Finance Minister Siv Jensen explained why fiscal transparency is so important: “Openness is a prerequisite for trust and credibility. As authorities, we have an additional responsibility for openness, because we manage large resources on behalf of the community.”
Finally in Pakistan, the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) reviewed Pakistan’s progress in drafting its first ever OGP National Action Plan. Quoted in Pakistani news outlet The News, CPDI Executive Director Amer Ejaz reported that all stakeholders—both from government and civil society—must “gear up their efforts” in order to finalize the plan. He also encouraged greater civil society representation in Pakistan’s OGP Forum, which will review the draft action plan.
Last but not least, are you looking to join the OGP fun at our Americas Regional Meeting in Buenos Aires from November 21-22? Don’t forget to register 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.