OGP in the News – Week of August 22
This week, top press coverage came out of Africa with a number of member countries making headlines in connection to OGP.
On Tuesday the U.S. State Department released the transcript of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech delivered in Sokoto, Nigeria, which has since been republished by Nigeria’s Channels Television, Human Rights Today, Foreign Affairs New Zealand, and many other media outlets. The powerful speech described how fighting the root causes of terrorism – such as that inflicted by Boko Haram in recent months – extends well beyond military action and requires a firm commitment to anti-corruption. Kerry congratulated Nigeria on the steps it has already taken to this end, invoking President Buhari’s announcement to join OGP as proof of progress:
Last May, I joined him at the Anti-Corruption Summit in London, where he announced that Nigeria would join the Open Government Partnership – a step that will further strengthen the country’s anti-crime efforts, and advance institutional integrity, economic development, and citizen engagement.
In the Côte d’Ivoire, one of the most popular francophone news sites, Abidjan.net, reported that an OGP delegation led by Regional Civil Society Co-Chair for Africa and the Middle East, Maureen Kariuki, met in Abidjan to assess the OGP’s evolution in the country. And last Friday in Sierra Leone, the nation’s top-ranked Concord Times ran an article—reproduced in the Awareness Times and AllAfrica.com—about Vice President Victor Bockarie Foah commending members of both OGP and Open Government Initiative (OGI) for their “highly consultative process” of promoting commitments to open governance. Finally, the Ghana News Agency reported that four million of the six million registered taxpayers in Ghana did not pay their income taxes–a problem that Albert Kan-Dapaah, the head of the University of Professional Studies’ Centre for Public Accountability, believes is related to an overall absence of open governance measures. Fortunately, he thinks OGP is a way forward for Ghana:
[The] OGP platform presents an enormous opportunity for Ghana to demonstrate to its good people and the international community of its deepest commitment to pursuing open government.
In Europe, OGP continued to garner attention from last week’s Guardian article about the high-tech governance measures being adopted in the United Kingdom. Such innovations reflect the spirit of the commitments made in the UK’s 2016 OGP National Action Plan (NAP), which pushes for open data and civic contribution to the political discourse. Indeed, the website Slugger O’Toole announced that, inspired by the UK’s OGP commitments, Ireland will host a “community-generated uconference” called GovCampConnect on September 24 for all who are interested in the intersection between digitization and government.
In Latin America, OGP made news in Mexico, where budget transparency was a hot issue. Local newspaper El Debate de Culiácan berated the government of the city of Culiácan for not fulfilling Mexico’s OGP commitment to open data by posting budget documents in inaccessible PDF formats. Commissioner of the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (NACI) Joel Salas Suarez mirrored this sentiment in an article published by Mugs Noticias, in which he emphasized that budget transparency must be a priority for Mexico’s 2016-2018 NAP.
On Friday morning, the Jakarta Post released an op-ed piece calling the United States’ engagement in Indonesia “limited” compared to its engagement in other nations in the Asia-Pacific region. While OGP was cited as an example of positive collaboration between the two countries, the author encouraged the United States and Indonesia to construct a concrete strategy aimed at forging a stronger relationship.
And last but not least, the Global Government Forum reminded us that the OGP New Zealand co-creation workshop kicks off today in Wellington. For all you Kiwis, it’s time to step away from the rugby field and participate! Details 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.