OGP in the News - Week of July 25, 2016

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

This week, while news items related to OGP emerged from all over the globe, coverage was particularly strong from outlets in Africa as well as official government sources in Europe and North America.

From the United States, the State Department posted a blog article – reproduced in the Huffington Post – on “Combating the Global Menace of Corruption through Fiscal Transparency.” The piece discussed OGP as a sign of the increasing importance being placed on transparency around the world and of National Action Plans as a means to bring about such change, stating: “Fiscal transparency commitments made up around one third of all the commitments in the first 51 OGP action plans.” In addition, the State Department, as well as EIN News, published remarks made by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Michael Kozak at a July 27 meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS). During his presentation, Mr. Kozak spoke repeatedly of OGP and of the recent Americas Regional Meeting. Addressing the body, he said:

The Open Government Partnership, OGP, plays a more important role than ever. Through OGP, governments are able to demonstrate to their citizens a firm commitment to accountability and transparency. OGP brings citizens and governments together to formulate joint goals…. I conclude, Mr. Chairman, with my country’s pledge for continued partnership on transparency and open government, here at the OAS and within OGP. The United States released our third National Open Government Action Plan last year. I encourage each of you to review our Plan and share your observations with us. Every country should take an honest look at its own performance, identifying the areas where we are falling short – and that includes the United States.

In a similar vein, the government of the United Kingdom published a July 28 address made by the Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria at the opening of a workshop in Abuja on OGP and the London Anti-Corruption Summit. Speaking of the “prominent role” that Nigeria played at the Summit, the Deputy High Commissioner said that it had provided the country with “a chance to stand on the world stage and share real life experiences of the devastating consequence of endemic corruption,” which he called a “cancer at the heart of so many of the world’s problems.”

At least 20 articles by a variety of sources within Nigeria itself also reported on the meeting. The dailies Vanguard and P.M. News of Lagos, as well as Pulse.ng, AllAfrica.com and several other sources, published articles on the event and on a challenge issued by a Nigerian official – who defended himself from accusations of corruption – that all citizens hold the government accountable ‘by asking relevant questions and demanding satisfactory answers.’ The remarks came as the country’s Attorney General spoke of how ‘Nigeria’s membership in OGP is a boost to its fight against corruption.’ And in a piece from earlier in the week entitled “Why Nigeria Intends to Join Open Government Partnership,” the Attorney General was further quoted as saying: “Joining the OGP will help Nigeria improve transparency in the management of natural resources and public funds, as well as citizen participation in governance.”

Elsewhere in the world, Devex ran an interview with OGP Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Pradhan from last week’s OGP Asia-Pacific Regional Dialogue in Manila, in which he spoke of using the meeting as a means to raise ambition regarding openness commitments, “co-creation” in National Action Plans, and civil society organizations serving as the “voice” of the people. Access Info published a story on the city of Madrid adopting “one of the most progressive sub-national transparency regimes in Europe” – this, as part of its participation in OGP’s subnational pilot program. And on the subject of subs, Diario Libre of the Dominican Republic reported on the country’s participation in a subregional open government gathering in San Salvador alongside fellow OGP members El Salvador and Guatemala. Finally, FreedomInfo.org included OGP in its weekly ‘Freedom of Information Notes’ in relation to the Paris Global Summit, as well as an op-ed in South Africa’s Business Day entitled “The inconvenient truth about the Open Government Partnership” by Mukelani Dimba, director of the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC) and OGP collaborator.

And last but not least, you may have seen the story of the White House Global Development Summit, but have you seen the Stori-fy?

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 alex.vedovi@opengovpartnership.org.

Authors: Alex Vedovi
Filed Under: OGP News