OGP in the News - 5th Year Anniversary Edition

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

On September 20, 2016, OGP celebrated its fifth anniversary on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Attended by both high-level government officials and civil society representatives, the event attracted widespread media attention throughout the world and can be relived at any time on the U.N. website.

Nearly 40, mostly Indian news sources circulated an article originating on the Hindi news channel Sahara Samay that summarized the main messages from each of the speeches made by the Heads of State and civil society members represented at OGP’s fifth anniversary event. Outgoing OGP co-chair President Jacob Zuma of South Africa received additional media in several African publications for his address at the event, including two articles in AllAfrica.com, one of which was also published in South Africa’s Polity.org.za. French President François Hollande also received coverage in the French outlet Next INpact. President of Slovakia Andrej Krista’s attendance was mentioned by top Slovakian news agencies Cas, Topky, and Aktuality among others, while the participation of Romanian Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos leading up to and after the event was catalogued by more than ten different national news platforms such as Romania TV and Agerpres. Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s presence did not unnoticed either, with highlights from his speech featured in Indonesian outlets Metro TV News, Antara, Kabar24 and several more. Finally, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili of Georgia was featured for his contribution at the event in two articles from the multilingual Georgian news source Agenda.ge.

And aside from acknowledgements in nearly thirty different countries with many articles recording reach of over 1 million, OGP’s fifth-year celebration made an impressive splash on social media. Despite fierce competition from hype-worthy topics such as the refugee crisis and the tragic demise of Branjolina, #5YearsOGP was the number one trending Hashtag in New York on the evening of September 20.    

Additionally, OGP made headlines in other sessions of UNGA. Over 30 different news outlets, including CNN and Time magazine in the United States, Haaretz.com in Israel, and Maclean’s in Canada, picked up the transcript and/or video coverage of U.S. President Barack Obama’s final UNGA address during which he listed OGP as one of many achievements realized over the course of his eight-year presidential term:

Together, we established an Open Government Partnership so that, increasingly, transparency empowers more and more people around the globe.  

The pan-African news web portal AllAfrica.com reported that President Obama singled out OGP again at the U.S.-Africa Business Forum where he emphasized the inextricable relationship between good governance and good investment:

So through our efforts like our Open Government Partnership, and our Partnership on Illicit Finance, we’re going to keep working to encourage transparency, stamp out corruption and uphold the rule of law.  That’s what’s going to ultimately attract trade and investment and opportunity.

At the same event, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had similar words about OGP and corruption. His address was redistributed by some of Nigeria’s largest news sources, such as Vanguard, The Nation, and Sahara Reporters, in addition to AllAfrica.com. Buhari assured Nigerians and the international community that joining OGP signified a “clear demonstration of our commitment to a radical departure from a past characterized by large-scale state-enabled corruption.”

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto also made headline-worthy comments about OGP. Peña Nieto penned an op-ed in the international Spanish news publication El Pais saluting OGP’s growth over the past five years,  which was republished by the local Diario de Campeche as well as Argentina’s Total News Agency. Summarizing Mexico’s own advances in open government reforms, he signed off the piece with the following statement:

It is important to understand that open government is the new reality to be fostered with creativity, concrete action and collaborative work between civil society and the government.

French Secretary of State Jean-Vincent Placé, who was seen alongside President François Hollande at OGP’s five-year event, shared his thoughts about OGP in an article for France’s Le Huffington Post. Placé described the measures France has already enacted toward a more transparent and participatory form of democracy - France will be OGP’s new government co-chair for the 2016-2018 cycle. As the title of the article suggests (“La COP21 de la démocratie, c’est parti!”), France hopes this year’s OGP Global Summit will generate the same kind of international attention about democracy as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference last December did for climate change.  

In addition to heads of state, other notable OGP voices garnered press coverage during this week of celebration. Outgoing steering committee member Martin Tisné recounted his personal OGP story on the popular online publishing platform Medium, while Gayle Smith, the Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development, wrote a piece that briefly underscored OGP’s role in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined at last year’s 2015 UNGA and was then published on the State Department blog DipNote.

OGP also made news outside the framework of UNGA. Apolitical, a reporting network of civil servants, quoted Executive Director of Ecuador’s Laboratory of Innovation Quito Carolina Pozo in a  Huffington Post blog  that mentioned OGP.  Pozo described the kind of people drawn to the ever expanding and revolutionary sub-culture around open data:

They’re people who have international connections, because you know the whole open government movement goes around the international Open Government Partnership, the Open Data Institute and collaboration between cities.

Indeed, the growth and scope of the open data and civic tech movements can be seen by the number of projects and initiatives it has prompted across the globe. Whitehouse.gov, the official website of the White House, released a press statement announcing that the United States’ most recent OGP National Action Plan will include a commitment making  climate-related data more readily accessible. In France, the weekly news magazine Le Point highlighted the innovations in open data championed by the country’s Open Democracy Now initiative, including a series of hackathons, one of which was held on September 21 at Civic Hall in New York to develop an “OGP Toolbox.”

It has been an exciting week for OGP, and the fun will only continue as we near OGP’s next Global Summit in Paris. Indeed, French news publication Acteurs Publics announced that France just unveiled the preliminary program of #OGP16 events, which can be accessed here! And to learn more about the many remarkable achievements of OGP in the last five years, as well as its vision for the next five, watch the recently premiered 5 Years OGP film.  

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
Tags: UNGA