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OGP in the News – Week of May 1, 2017

Jacqueline McGraw |

A series providing a round-up of media attention received by 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’s OGP coverage included news on the results of the French election, the Global Open Data Index in Argentina, e-government in Tunisia, open contracting in Nigeria, and more!

Big news came out of France where the country’s 2017 presidential elections culminated in a victory for Emmanuel Macron. OGP responded with a press release welcoming the new President-Elect and OGP Co-Chair: “We welcome the election of President-Elect Emmanuel Macron, who will now chair the Open Government Partnership until September, and who has been an important voice on the virtues of openness and tolerance.”

In a piece for Medium, Felix Zimmermann of the OECD Development Communications Network explored how government institutions can more effectively sing the praises of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to inspire action among citizens. Emphasizing the need to understand public attitudes and tailor SDG messages to specific audiences, Zimmermann also spoke to the importance of trust and dialogue between government and citizens: “[Government institutions] will need to become more open, building trust, pursuing an honest dialogue and finding new ways to collaborate with citizens, both offline and online.” Fortunately, the author has already observed progress, pointing to Indonesia, Georgia, Peru, Tanzania and the many other countries that are “leading the way” by joining OGP.    

The Open Knowledge Foundation released the most recent Global Open Data Index. Argentina’s move from 54th to 20th place inspired an article in Lavoz.com.ar that outlined the measures taken by the government, which led to this 34-place jump, including greater use of consultapublica.argentina.gob.ar to garner citizen feedback, implementation of the Electronic Document Management (EDM) system, and the launch of the public procurement platform, Compr.Ar. It also quoted government representatives, “Argentina has become an important reference for open government in Latin America to the point that the Open Government Partnership accepted the nomination of the country to host the Regional Summit this year.”

Following last week’s 2017 E-Government conference hosted in Hammamet, Tunisia by the  Association of Management Sciences (TMSS), Director of the Executive Electronic Administration Unit, Chiheb Bouchnak Bouchnak acknowledged the country’s considerable open data progress, citing Tunisia’s 2014 accession to OGP. In an article for Webmanagercenter.com, Bouchnak nevertheless concluded that Tunisia still has some work to do in creating an “open data culture.” He referenced a study conducted by the European Union to highlight the importance of open data, claiming that “opening up data could generate between 20 and 100 million dollars for Tunisia per year.”

More OGP news came out Nigeria, where citizens are pushing to open up data about government contracts. A Medium article by the Open Contracting Foundation reveals how lack of transparency around procurement processes in Nigeria has had devastating consequences, particularly for the country’s youth: half-built schools, insufficient textbooks, understaffed health clinics. Luckily, President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to change this and included an open contracting commitment in Nigeria’s first OGP National Action Plan (NAP). Furthermore, civil society groups like the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) have developed software, including an online platform called Budeshi (meaning “open it” in Hausa) that “links government budgeting data to procurement contract data,” to ease the work of building an open contracting portal.  

Also in Nigeria, national news source Thisday Live reported new strides in Nigeria’s fight against corruption. As part of its newly launched “Not in My Country” anti-corruption campaign, the Akin Fadeyi Foundation (AFF) struck a historic partnership with the Nigeria Police, long considered some of the “most corrupt officials in the country.” Intended to promote “open governance and transparency in the country” and establish a more positive reputation of the national police force, the collaboration was largely viewed as furthering key OGP principles of “transparency, accountability and excellent service delivery.”  

And in Australia, The Mandarin covered the country’s creation of a permanent dialogue mechanism—a staple of the OGP process to help monitor and implement OGP commitments. Until May 19, the government will be consulting citizens to hear how the Multistakeholder Forum should be appointed, structured, and run.

Last but not least, did you know that even Silicon Valley hotshots have worked on OGP? CEO and co-founder of Crowdpac Steve Hilton described OGP’s launch at the United Nations General Assembly and the importance of open government in an interview on technology news site Recode.

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 jacqueline.mcgraw@opengovpartnership.org.