OGP in the News – Week of February 27, 2017
A series providing a round-up of media attention received by the Open Government Partnership throughout the world.
Next to coverage of Open Data Day, this week’s OGP news came overwhelmingly from Eastern Europe.
On March 4, over 250 events took place worldwide in celebration of International Open Data Day. Reiterating Chairman and Co-Founder of the Open Data Institute (ODI) Nigel Shadbolt’s call for openness “now more than ever” during the 2016 OGP Global Summit, an article in The Guardian highlighted promising open data initiatives in six different countries (all OGP countries) including the digital ambitions of one of OGP’s newest countries, Burkina Faso.
How has the Ukrainian government transformed from what was once widely considered a “bastion of corruption” to a global leader in transparency in under four years? Ukraine’s ambassador to France, Oleg Shamshur, examines this transition in a piece for France’s oldest daily, Le Figaro, pointing to recent successes like government procurement platform and 2016 Open Government award winner ProZorro.
Cristian Botan, the brains behind Romania’s public recruiting platform PublicJob.ro, made national news when he wrote a Facebook post listing five ways the Romanian government is committing hiring fraud. Picked up by several major news outlets, Botan’s testimony underscored the fact that PublicJob.ro was recognized as an international best practice in anti-corruption at the 2013 OGP Global Summit in London. Botan went on to say that despite being adopted by the Romanian government, the portal alone cannot undo the the pervasive culture of nepotism and corruption within the Romanian public sector.
Slovakia’s national news magazine Trend reported discussion of the Slovak Republic’s 2017-2019 OGP NAP during a meeting between Prime Minister Robert Fico and representatives from several NGOs, including Transparency International (TI) and the Fair Play Alliance (representatives of both sit on the OGP Steering Committee). According to the article, the action plan’s primary initiatives will focus on “active disclosure of open data, educational resources, research results, as well as promoting participatory public policy-making.”
News also came from the ranks of the open government movement’s youth reformers when a Croatian news source profiled Kaja Pavlinic, a member of the winning team at last year’s Open Data Youth Academy for creating Tinja, a solar panel installation platform. Kaja, along with the five other Tinja entrepreneurs, then participated in #OGP16, where she reported receiving “praise and constructive criticism that will help us in further development.”
In Southeast Asia, the Philippines fulfilled a key OGP commitment from its 2015-2017 National Action Plan (NAP) by launching the Philippine Statistics Authority open data portal and mobile application, Presyo. Published on the World Bank website, the announcement was delivered in a speech by the World Bank Country Director for the Philippines, Mara Warwick, who called the portal “one element of a broader movement towards greater transparency and freedom of information in the Philippines.”
In Mexico, Terra and a number of other news outlets covered a meeting between the head of the Secretariat for Public Administration (SFP), Arely Gomez, and commissioners of the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) during which they reportedly discussed issues related to OGP.
Furthermore, Reforma.com reported that Gomez organized a working group to improve Mexico’s public procurement platform, Compranet. This move was also a response to accusations made by members of Mexican civil society who claimed Gomez violated Mexico’s OGP civic participation commitments outlined in its 2016-2018 NAP when she used a “closed procedure” to appoint 42 people to the Internal Control Body of the SFP.
Finally, the Nigerian Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, urged the National Assembly to pass a pending whistleblower protection bill. In statements published in The Punch and Today.ng, Malami said this measure is part of the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption agenda, first announced at the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit in London during which Nigeria joined OGP.
Last but not least, International Open Data Day is just the start of a whole host of open gov activities for the month of March. From March 27th to 31st, OGP will be hosting Global Co-Creation Week – an opportunity for YOU to make a difference by contributing to your country’s new OGP action plan!
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.