OGP in the News - Week of February 6, 2017

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

This week, media coverage of OGP poured in from around the world with top stories spotlighting open government concerns in Azerbaijan, #OGP16 civic tech innovations in France, and renewed commitment to OGP from Nigeria and Sri Lanka.

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan convened with the leaders of the European Union in Brussels this week to discuss building a renewed partnership between Azerbaijan and the European Union. Prior to President Aliyev’s visit, a number of NGOs sent a joint letter encouraging the President of the European Council and other top European Union officials to “use this high-level visit to insist that President Aliyev commits to concrete, lasting human rights reforms in Azerbaijan.” Published on the Human Rights Watch website, as well as by Publicnow in Canada and Press Release Point in Indonesia, the letter cited OGP’s decision to make Azerbaijan “inactive” in May 2016 as evidence of the necessity for change.

In Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku, meanwhile, Report Informasiya Agentliyi reported that Azerbaijani Minister of Foreign Affairs Elmar Mammadyarov met with a delegation led by the French Minister of State Reform and Simplification, Jean-Vincent Placé, to review Azerbaijan’s e-government system that is being implemented as part of the government’s OGP commitments.   

French finance news site Journal du Net interviewed the executive director of France’s Interministerial Directorate for Information and Communications Systems (DINSIC), Henri Verdier. While discussing France’s 2016 Law for a Digital Republic (or the “loi Lemaire”) requiring French municipalities of more than 3,500 inhabitants to implement open data measures “by default,” Verdier referenced the many impressive open data projects that came out of OGP's 2016 Global Summit.

In Ukraine, a national news source ran an article about one such innovation highlighted at the OGP Global Summit: the open-source platform, dubbed Prozorro, that monitors government procurement data and won first place in the 2016 Open Government Awards.

Following the release of Nigeria’s first ever National Action Plan, Vanguard and several other Nigerian news sources ran a press statement by Abubakar Malami in which the Attorney General and Minister of Justice reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to becoming a more open and responsive nation. Speaking of implementing Nigeria’s new OGP commitments, Malami underscored one of greatest strengths of the OGP model:

[T]he uniqueness of the OGP process lies in the implementation of the National Action Plan as it provides an organising framework for networking in addition to establishing a domestic policy mechanism through which government and civil society can have an ongoing dialogue.

Sri Lankan ambassador to the United States Prasad Kariyawasam similarly conveyed Sri Lanka’s commitment to the principles of open government in a meeting with OGP CEO Sanjay Pradhan that was covered by the Sunday Times Sri Lanka, NewsDog in China, and the Asian Tribune in Thailand among others. The articles noted Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s attendance at the OGP Global Summit in Paris where he reportedly “observed the importance of OGP values to build trust in government, and highlighted the reforms being undertaken by the Sri Lankan government to uphold the vision of transparent, inclusive and participatory governance.”

At a forum on beneficial ownership transparency, GhanaWeb quoted Ghanaian Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia discussing plans to develop a beneficial ownership regime in order to combat corruption, particularly within the extractive sector. Bawumia pointed out that such plans will help Ghana’s government uphold beneficial ownership standards encouraged by OGP and the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). Less encouraging was an article published by News Ghana, which recorded widespread disappointment among members of Ghanaian civil society when the Right to Information bill failed to pass despite eight years of review in Parliament, five years of national participation in OGP, and the “global movement” around Access to Information that has led to successes elsewhere in the world.

In one of OGP’s newest member countries, Pakistan, the Daily Times published an opinion piece by the Governance and Advocacy Advisor at Individualland Pakistan, Hamza Khan, who challenged Pakistani civil society to capitalize on the country’s new participation in OGP:  

However, is it ok if I call it a test for our civil society to see how it reacts to the OGP? Do we act in the same manner as always and suggest that it’s nothing but a smoke screen or do we try to gain as much as we can from it?

Finally, a piece in Venezuela’s Entorno Inteligente detailed possible implications for open government and OGP in the United States under the Trump administration, noting, for example, the conspicuous removal of the “Open Government” page from the White House website.

Last but not least and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, show us your love by participating in OGP’s Instagram photo challenge!
 

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