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Expanding Inclusion in Open Government for First Nations, Quilombola and Indigenous Women

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Since 1995, the 9th of August is commemorated as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, to take cognizance of the specific needs of Indigenous communities and First Nations. However, in the context of the OGP Global Summit 2019 held in Ottawa, Canada, a group of organizations discussed the exclusion of women of these groups from both national and global action plans and commitments. As a result of a session focused on exploring efforts and challenges of bringing First Nations and Indigenous Women into open government conversations, the participant organizations* put together a set of propositions for the OGP community to push forward policies that aim to achieve real inclusion of First Nations and Indigenous Women. 

Implement an Intersectional Approach

The aforementioned recommendations are linked to the Break the Roles campaign, which aims to strengthen gender perspectives and increase the participation of women in OGP. However, it is necessary to assure the inclusion of ALL WOMEN in these campaigns. Governments must allocate sufficient resources to design open government policies with an intersectional approach in order to address the multitude of intersecting exclusions and to develop strategies focused on tackling specific exclusion gaps, such as gender, ethnicity, race, age, religion, historical, social and political context of Indigenous Communities and First Nations, including Quilombola women**.  

To achieve more inclusive processes and commitments in OGP,  the community must consider marginalized groups like Indigenous and First Nations Peoples, especially women. bearing in mind that neither of them nor their public problems are homogeneous. It is urgent to increase their representation across all levels of government and in OGP Committees in decision-making and advisory positions.

OGP needs to create more discussion spaces on gender, decolonial and multi-cultural matters and develop advocacy strategies that ensure inclusion. It is imperative that OGP adapt its structures to take into consideration different ways of demanding the government and requiring information, in order to really include all kinds of manifestation. It is also crucial that OGP and its members invest in capacity building for First Nations and Indigenous women, including education and training for politics, research and data careers, so that they can acquire the knowledge and capabilities required to participate in OGP on an equal level.

Design Inclusive Co-Creation Processes

On the other hand, it must be acknowledged by all open government actors that digital platforms are inaccessible to a significant part of marginalized populations that could benefit the most from OGP, mainly in developing countries. Therefore, there should be alternate means of requesting and accessing information for people that do not have access to the internet. In that sense, national action plans must include specific lines of work aimed at innovation in terms of proactive transparency so that useful and reliable information is available for them and their communities, through culturally relevant channels and in their own languages. 

Shift from Advocacy to Action

It is critical that OGP fosters the creation of commitments to strengthen independent media by First Nations and Indigenous Populations, as well as specific commitments to ensure that Indigenous Peoples have adequate access to information on concession permits on Indigenous territories, with special emphasis on women’s needs.

In conclusion, OGP must use gender perspectives and an intersectional approach in the development of alternative means to include voices of First Nations and Indigenous women in future OGP summits and consultations, guaranteeing their effective participation and influence in making decisions and commitments. Only by implementing these tools will it be possible to truly ensure that commitments, summits, and national action plans are based on the needs of all women – especially Indigenous, Quilombola and First Nations.

Learn more about OGP’s current work with marginalized communities here.

 

* Article 19 Mexico and Central America Office, Article 19 Brazil Office, First Nations Information Governance Centre (from Canada) and Indigenous People’s Alliance of the Archipelago.  

** Quilombola women sought a society free of oppression and racism, fought against the sexist structures in force in different historical periods, and stimulated a series of popular uprisings in Brazil.

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