Open Up: Giving the Indonesian Parliament the OGP Treatment
The House of Representatives, Republic of Indonesia together with stakeholders declared Open Parliament at Gedung DPR RI, Jakarta (29/08)
When OGP was founded back in 2011, Indonesia understood that by adopting open government initiatives that encourage governments to be more open and accountable, citizens would renew their trust in government institutions, making it more inclusive and responsive to its people. The effective development and implementation of these initiatives can have a significant impact on society as a whole, but it can only accomplish so much. Open government trends need to be strengthened by certain sets of regulations, laws, and reforms which often require the joint efforts of several government institutions at different levels.
In this sense, involving the legislative branch in supporting the implementation of openness and accountability is indeed important to the success of open government in a country. And I think Indonesia has come to understand that. Committed to advancing open government and celebrating its 73rd anniversary, the House of Representative of the Republic of Indonesia (DPRI) officially launched Open Parliament, an initiative to encourage parliament to be more open, transparent, accountable and inclusive.
As a founding country of Open Government Partnership, it makes sense for Indonesia to push this initiative – after all, the purpose of Open Parliament is aligned with OGP. To stress the importance of this important step for Indonesian politics, the Speaker and Vice Speakers of DPR RI as well as a number of high-level government officials (including representatives from the Presidency), and civil society organizations attended the launch of Open Parliament.
The declaration of Open Parliament is the beginning of a transparent and modern parliament that is aligned with open government values, including transparency, participation, accountability, and innovation. Open Government is a global initiative to encourage governments to become more open and responsive to the people. Representatives from the President’s Office even expressed this showed the government’s commitment to respectfully and accurately represent the country in OGP.
Indonesia’s Open Parliament Action Plan is comprised of five commitments including the enhancement of services that provide data and information about governance and legislation; strengthening the use of parliament information technology; the reinforcement of DPR RI openness and public information; the development of the Open Parliament Indonesia roadmap; and institutional arrangement of Open Parliament Indonesia.
So what’s ahead? For starters, the government and civil society organizations will follow up and deepen this new action plan as well as setting a new point of contact for Open Parliament Indonesia. The Secretariat of Open Government Indonesia (OGI), which serves as the government point of contact for Open Government Partnership. OGI also encourages the transparency of Regional Representative Council through the 2018-2020 OGI Action Plans.
But why is this important?
In Indonesia, this open parliament initiative will enable society to monitor the legislative process inside the DPR RI, especially in enhancing citizen participation in every legislative process and bringing members of Parliament closer to the people they represent. As such, the Open Parliament initiative will ensure the publication of minutes and summaries of a number of meetings and detail the stages of policies the Parliament is discussing. That way, the citizen will be aware of all the policy-making processes and will be able to provide their input as well as get involved in the debottlenecking process. Moreover, the citizen will have the opportunity to propose new appropriate policies.
It is a huge breakthrough for Indonesia’s legislative body to be able to start their journey of openness at the parliament level. Indonesia could actively play its role in Asia Pacific by encouraging others in the region to replicate the initiative. Although a significant number of countries in the region are members of Open Government Partnership, only a few have implemented open parliament initiatives. It is widely known that the parliament, as the legislative actor, has important roles in supporting the implementation of open government, particularly in making effective regulations. The implementation of not one but two initiatives that advance transparency and is aimed at fighting corruption can prove to be very advantageous for a country from an economic, social, and political point of view.