CIVICUS

OGP: Shaping an African agenda on open government reform

This piece originally appeared on the Huffington Post blog. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a bold initiative between governments and civil society organizations that seeks to make governments more open, accountable and responsive to citizens. In less than five years, 69 governments have joined. The OGP is where new global norms for government transparency are now being set.  This year the OGP is co-chaired by the Government of South Africa and emboldened by the African Union’s...

The Partnership Question

¿Quieres leer este blog en español? Close to a thousand delegates from the African continent and beyond are descending on Cape Town for the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Africa Regional Summit from 4 - 6 May 2016. At this grand market of ideas, African countries will take stock of how they have fared in promoting transparency and accountability in the conduct of public affairs and management of scarce public resources. Delegates will consider such tools as open budgeting, open...

La cuestión de las alianzas

Want to read this blog in English? Casi mil delegados del continente africano y de otras regiones se reunirán en Ciudad del Cabo para la Reunión Regional de África del 4 al 6 de mayo de 2016. Además de intercambiar una gran cantidad de ideas, los países africanos harán un inventario acerca de sus avances en el impulso a la transparencia y rendición de cuentas en los asuntos públicos y el manejo de recursos, tan escasos. Los delegados reflexionarán acerca de herramientas como los presupuestos...

¿Qué tiene que ver el gobierno abierto con el espacio cívico?

Want to read this blog in English? El cierre del espacio cívico es una tendencia preocupante que está ocurriendo en diversas regiones del mundo. En este momento activistas de Azerbaiyán a Turquía y de Hungría a Honduras están enfrentando situaciones en las que sus libertades de operar y hablar con libertad e incluso, en muchos casos sus vidas, están amenazadas. Según el Centro Internacional para la Ley sin Fines de Lucro (ICNL por sus siglas en inglés), desde el 2012, 71 países han...

What’s Open Government got to do with Civic Space?

¿Quieres leer este blog en español? Closing civic space is a worrisome trend surfacing across regions. As we sit reading this, civil society activists from Azerbaijan to Turkey, Hungary to Honduras, are facing situations where their freedoms to operate and speak freely and - in many cases - even their lives, are under threat. According to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), since 2012, 71 countries put into place 146 policy decisions that restricted civil society space -...

New OGP-Oxfam Alliance: Supporting Civil Society to Hold Decision Makers to Account

A month ago we saw the ink dry on the dotted lines of the Sustainable Development Goals, which were painstakingly crafted with the critical input of civil society. Furthermore, two weeks ago the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, an alliance of civil society groups -- one which Oxfam is proudly partnered with. At a cursory glance, there is reason for us to be encouraged by the strength, self-determination and impact of civil society itself. There is,...

Working together to protect civic space

There can be no doubt that we are witnessing a global trend that devalues and restricts the role civil society can play in building just and equal societies. This trend cuts across categories of wealth, geography, and political system, with countries in the global north and south seeing increasing restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly. According to CIVICUS, in 2014 serious threats to civic freedoms occurred in 96 countries. In short, in too many contexts civil society’...

Civic space set to take centre stage at the OGP Global Summit

Some important discussions on civic space – in other words, the basic conditions needed by civil society to hold decision makers to account, represent the voiceless and mobilise citizens – are due to take place during the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Global Summit in Mexico at the end of this month. Given the timing of the Summit – immediately after the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – its organisers are keen to make a strong link between more open governance and...

Vital for the OGP, Civil Society Needs Sharper Tools to Defend Civic Space

A few weeks ago on 28 August Mozambican journalist and publisher Paulo Machava was shot dead while jogging.   Machava was involved in a campaign supporting an economist and two reporters who are facing national security and defamation charges. Their case arose from an open letter written in 2013, which criticised the former president, Armando Guebuza. Shocking as it is that a journalist should be gunned down for simply doing his job, many cases like this have little or no chance of...

Playing the “Inside” game: Does engagement equal co-option?

On September 24 2014, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and Ford Foundation hosted a Civil Society breakfast meeting of senior civil society leaders and open government advocates from around the world. These reformers came together to talk about what is and is not working in the task of making governments more responsive. Being keenly aware that despite significant advances, there is a long way to go for citizens to regain trust in governance, for innovations in government transparency and...

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