A series providing a round-up of media attention received by the Open Government Partnership throughout the world. Want to receive OGP in the News directly in your email inbox every Monday morning? Subscribe here.
This week, OGP news came from OGP and non-OGP countries alike, with updates from as far north as Norway and all the way down to Paraguay.
OGP Deputy Chief Executive Officer Joe Powell and Director for Civil Society Engagement Paul Maassen met with representatives of the Georgian government and civil society to discuss the country’s “vision, plans and expectations” as Georgia prepares to follow France as the lead government co-chair of the OGP Steering Committee in October 2017. News of the meeting appeared in articles on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) website and in Agenda.ge, with televised coverage posted to YouTube by the Georgian Ministry of Justice.
Further north, from a building overlooking the snowy mountains of Leikanger, Norway, employees of Norway’s Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) are working to upgrade the “most important tool for journalists.” In a piece for Medier24, journalist Fredrik Drevon explains how the Electronic Public Records (OEP) database, which allows Norwegian citizens to find and request access to various government records and documents, will soon be replaced by a platform instituted through one of Norway’s current OGP commitments, eInnsyn. The eInnsyn platform will streamline and automate many OEP processes, publish documents in full, and offer new search functions.
Shifting away from the national level, urban planning and sustainability news site Citiscope called Paris a leader in civic technology and explored how France’s beloved capital has “[experimented] with digital tools for citizen participation,” and explored the results it has reaped from these efforts. The article reported that Paris “renewed its commitment to using digital tools” in December 2016, when it joined 14 other OGP subnational pioneers in unveiling action plans aimed at expanding the OGP model to the local level. While Paris’ trend toward digitization has resulted in a few challenges—namely processing ever-increasing amounts of data and engaging broader communities—it has also helped government officials to view citizens as relevant stakeholders with potentially valuable contributions.
More subnational news came from Jalisco, Mexico, another pioneer in OGP’s subnational pilot program. Spanish-language news aggregator Terra and 20minutos.com.mx featured articles about Caroline Toro Morales of Mexico’s Secretariat of Planning, Administration and Finance (Sepaf), as she outlined the details of Jalisco’s OGP action plan and encouraged maximum participation in the plan’s execution with the catchphrase “if you participate, it works.”
During the 58th Assembly of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Paraguay, meanwhile, representatives of Open Government Paraguay discussed the country’s open government challenges and achievements, notably the passage of the Law on Access to Public Information, which took effect in late 2015. IP Paraguay noted that the country is in its third OGP action plan cycle with commitments aimed at using new technology to achieve increased transparency and access to information, as well as greater civic engagement.
Moving on to Africa, The Guardian Nigeria ran an article about an upcoming workshop organized by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) to highlight the important role Nigerian journalists and civil society can play in battling corruption by encouraging government agencies to engage in OGP processes and follow through on OGP commitments. ANEEJ Executive Director David Ugolor explained the desired outcomes of the workshop:
We expect as well that the participating journalists should be able to use their platforms to report the issues they learnt during the workshop, identify gaps in domestic laws in compliance with [United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)] and also report on the implementation of the OGP National Plan.
The Executive Director of Accountability Lab, Blair Glencorse, examined the extent to which persistent and massive illicit financial flows continue to hider development in Liberia in a piece for the International Bar Association. Glencorse concluded that Liberia is not alone in its struggle to establish effective regulation of fiscal transactions, stating that “Sub-Saharan Africa loses as much as $70bn annually in illicit financial flows.” His message did, however, have a silver lining as he pointed to the growing number of international initiatives, such as OGP, that are inspiring progress in Africa.
And while China is not an OGP country, the partnership nonetheless figured prominently in an analysis of country’s government data policy that appeared in several major national news sources. Exploring the link between open data and anti-corruption, the report’s’ authors credited OGP with people’s growing “awareness of the importance of data,” particularly in terms of government transparency.
Finally, in a Devex article, OGP co-chair and vice president of the World Resources Institute (WRI), Manish Bapna, spoke to the importance of civic engagement in furthering renewable energy development: “If we’re serious about a 100 percent renewable energy future, there needs to be broad public support for what that vision would be and what choices need to be made.”
And last but not least, did you miss Global Co-Creation week? Not to worry! OGP’s got you covered with a Storify recap of the week’s highlights.
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.