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Legislative openness comes to OGP

Daniel Swislow |

This blog post originally appeared on the OpeningParliament.org Blog and has been republished with permission from the author. 

Last Wednesday  (24 July 2013) in Bogotá, Colombia, Senator Hernán Larraín, Chair of the Chilean Congress’s Bicameral Commission on Transparency, announced efforts to create a new thematic working group on legislative openness within the Open Government Partnership (OGP). This effort to address openness of the legislative process through OGP will be led by Chile in partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

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The announcement came amidst the fourth meeting of La Red Parlamentaria Latinoamericana Pro Transparencia, Acceso a la Información Pública y Probidad, which brought together parliamentarians from nine Latin American countries at the Colombian Congress to discuss advancing an agenda for open legislatures in the region. The OGP working group aims to enable constructive engagement between parliaments, governments and civil society on issues of legislative openness and citizen participation in the legislative process. The Minister Secretary General of the Presidency of Chile, representing Chile to OGP, is extending invitations to all OGP Member Countries to participate in the group.

How it will work

The working group will hold its first meeting at the 2013 OGP Summit in London on October 31. Thereafter, parliaments and governments working on legislative openness—such as e-petitions, codes of consultation, open legislative data, etc.—will team up with experts from civil society and share experiences with their peers. Over the course of the next year, this virtual and in-person engagement is expected to lead to stronger commitments and OGP Action Plans, enhanced implementation of commitments, and growth of a multi-stakeholder community around legislative openness.

How you can help

In the spirit of OGP, the working group will engage governments, parliaments and civil society organizations (CSOs). Drawing on the expertise of communities focused on legislative openness like OpeningParliament.org, the working group will aim to foster productive dialogue and will create a number of opportunities for CSOs to provide input into the group’s activities. We are open to suggestions as to the topics that might be addressed by the group. As membership will also include legislators or legislative staff, we need your help in identifying parliaments that might be interested in participating in the working group. Over the next few months before the October meetings and beyond, we will continue to post about opportunities to get involved and update you about the working group’s activities. If you have ideas for how to best engage your national parliament in this initiative, or other ideas for the group, please contact me at dswislow@ndi.org.

For more information, we have put together a draft concept note to help explain the working group more in depth—view it here.