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OGP in the News – Week of November 14, 2016

Jacqueline McGraw |

A series providing a round-up of media attention received by the Open Government Partnership throughout the world.

Current President of the United States, Barack Obama, mentioned OGP in remarks delivered at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center in Athens, Greece, which were then picked up by a number of publications, including the German daily Handelsblatt.com:

We have to make clear that governments exist to serve the interest of citizens, and not the other way around. And so this is why, as President of the United States, I’ve pursued initiatives like the Open Government Partnership that promotes transparency and accountability so that ordinary people know more about the decisions that affect their lives.

Some fifteen Spanish-language news publications, including Yahoo! Noticias, Terra, and El Economista, ran articles about the newly-appointed Mexican Secretary of the Secretariat for Public Administration (SFP), Arely Gómez González, calling on the national and state comptrollers of the Mexican government to redouble their efforts in implementing the National Anti-Corruption System (SNA). Gonzalez noted the importance of the SNA at a time when the “legitimacy of the political system, as well as the country’s democratic progress, are at stake” and confirmed that “innovative and citizen-centered government processes will be fostered through the Open Government Partnership.”

In Chile, Cámara de Diputados de Chile covered the Third Open Parliament meeting conducted by United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), officials from Chile’s Chamber of Deputies and legal advisors. According to the article, a commitment to promote this Open Parliament initiative is being developed in Chile’s OGP National Action Plan (NAP).

In other news, a Canadian Huffington Post blog authored by Nick Vlahos, a PhD Candidate at York University, drew comparisons between the Social Union Framework Agreement (SUFA)—a 1999 bilateral agreement drawn up by the Canadian government intended to restore trust in government—and OGP. While OGP lists enhancing citizen engagement among its key priorities, Vlahos argues that OGP, like SUFA, depends too heavily on stakeholder engagement, which, he writes,“many experts have argued is an underwhelming form of public participation in policy-making.”

The Sydney Morning Herald ran an article about Australia’s first draft NAP. With commitments for greater whistleblower protection, uniform Freedom of Information (FOI) laws and the creation of a beneficial ownership registry, Katherine Szuminska from the Open Australia Foundation said this draft NAP “has been a long time coming after multiple setbacks.”

Philippines-based citizen journalism news site Rappler announced that the Asia Society Philippines and the International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance (INCITEGov) will host an event called “Transparency 5.0: From Theory to Action” on December 5. A series of panel discussions will tackle issues such as the application of open government, and the Philippines OGP co-chair Ching Jorge encouraged the country to continue its push for transparency: “Open Governance is happening; And the Philippines, as [a] founding member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), has committed to various initiatives towards transparent governance. The Filipinos, likewise, must do their part in making Open Society a reality…”

Atlasinfo.fr reported that France’s Secretary of State for State Reform and Simplification, Jean-Vincent Placé, invited Morocco to participate in the 2016 OGP Global Summit following a meeting with Moroccan Minster of Urban Development and Planning on the sidelines of COP22, currently being held in Marrakesh.

NextINpact, meanwhile, featured an article about the proposal of National Assembly Deputy, Monique Rabin, to double the budget of the French government’s Open Data taskforce, Etalab, in order to reinforce President François Hollande’s OGP priority (one of three) of preserving digital commons. As reported by the article, the increased budget was not approved.

Finally, FreedomInfo.org reported that Ghana’s parliament failed to pass a right to information bill, thereby renigging on its promise to do so in the country’s most recent NAP.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the two-day Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, “OGP in the News” will be taking a week off to be grateful for stuff while enjoying some Tofurky (Vegan turkey – OGP in the News comes to you from California). We’ll be back with a two-week round-up on December 2.

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.

 
Filed Under: OGP News