OGP Concludes Summit With New Commitments, Goals

1 November 2013

By Toby McIntosh

Thirty-seven members of the Open Government Partnership offered “brand new  commitments” during the Oct. 31 – Nov. 1 London OGP summit.

The list was announced near the end of the summit.  Also revealed was the addition of Sierra Leone as the 62nd member after passage of a freedom of information law made them eligible. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.)

The closing plenary session summit also included reflections by OGP leaders and statements on their aims. The incoming Indonesian co-chair announced the creation of an open government awards, with the theme for the first prize to be “public participation.”

More than 1,800 delegates attended the two-day conference, including 450 representing governments, according to official figures.

Stretch Commitments Made

Because OGP leaders worried that some national action plans lacked “ambition,” member countries were asked to bring an additional “stretch” commitment to the session.

The Tanzanian government promised to pass a freedom of information, a pledge highlighted on the first day of the summit. Georgia said it would strengthen its FOI law, adding an information commissioner.

The United Kingdom won praise from civil society organizations attending after Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to create a public central register of corporate ownership information.

Several countries said they would sign the G-8 “Open Data Charter.” A number of others call for more transparency about public expenditures. Mexico said it plans to build a portal to support communities affected by affected by storms.

The one-liners provided about the goals may not do them justice, but some seem would not seem to require much stretching. Mongolia and Spain appear to have promised to complete the national action plans that are required of all members. Several countries said they would sign the G-8 “Open Data Charter.” The list says more commitments are expected.

(The text of the list is below.)

Leaders Look Ahead

The next summit will be held In Indonesia, whose government is assuming the position of lead co-chair. The time and place have not been determined.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the director the Indonesian Presidential Delivery Unit, said during the final plenary session that he hopes to improve the quality of the action plans and to facilitate more sharing of successful ideas.

“We are sitting on a fairly rich set of experience,” he said. “The real challenge now is how we share this; how we promote this.”

Rakesh Rajani, head of Twaweza East Africa in Tunisia and the incoming CSO lead co-chair said he wants to focus on the quality of the engagement, the quality of delivery and what does it mean in peoples lives.

“It’s not a picnic,” Rajani said, stressing that the process requires governments and civil society to work together. He said he had learned that governments are not monolithic and that CSO need to learn to where to make compromises and understand collaboration, but also to hold the government’s feet to the fire. He also adviced OGP participants to listen to sceptics

The process through which the national action plans are reviewed is one of the most powerful aspects of the OGP and needs to be perfected, Rajani said. The first reports of the Independent Reporting Mechanism were discussed at the summit. (See previous Freedominfo.org report.)

Suneeta Kaimal, the new civil society co-chair and deputy director of Revenue Watch, said the IRM process needs “teeth.” She expressed concern that some governments are “closing of civic society space” and that the OGP “doesn’t have mechanisms to deal with that.” An effort within the Steering Committee to set up a task force on the topic was turned down. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) She noted the possibility of strengthening the eligibility requirement in this area.

Text of OGP List of Stretch Commitments

Summary of London Summit Commitments

On the 31 October and 1 November London hosted over 1,000 delegates from civil society, business and government at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Annual Summit.

At the summit, 37 governments made ambitious new commitments to open government, covering a wide range of priorities, including commitments to:

Open Data: Radically open up government data to boost entrepreneurship, growth and accountability

  1. Philippines – “Launch Open Data Philippines: Transparent, accountable, and participatory governance through open government data”
  2. Panama – “Open Data Charter”
  3. South Korea – “Govt 3.0 Initiative”
  4. Ghana – “Ghana commits to implement a new initiative to transform the way government administrators work and empower citizens for feedback on governance”
  5. Moldova – “Develop an Open Data Policy”
  6. Canada – “Open Data Canada”
  7. Trinidad & Tobago – “Building an Open Data Approach in the Public Service of Trinidad & Tobago”
  8. Greece – “Further open up public sector information with a view to enhancing government integrity and transparency and developing an ecosystem of open, interoperable services for government data sharing and re-use”
  9. Chile – “Regulation of a national archives and records management which is the responsibility of  the Council for Transparency”
  10. Georgia – “Taking Freedom of Information to the next level: New FOIA, Proactive Publication and E-request at data.gov.ge”
  11. Ireland – “Ireland will sign up to the Open Data Charter”
  12. United Kingdom – “Creating a central registry of company beneficial ownership information”

Government Integrity: Open up their governments further to fight corruption and strengthen democracy

  1. Albania – “Improvement of the Public Administration Recruitment service through more transparent, merit-based and efficient process”
  2. Estonia – “Creation of Database Aggregating Declarations of Financial Interest to Optimize Prevention of Corruption and Conflicts of Interest”
  3. Uruguay – “Citizen services: close, easy and modern”, “New stage towards paperwork reduction” and “Evolution of public procurement”
  4. Romania – “Open contracting in Romania”
  5. Serbia – “Prevention of corruption:  Adopting the law on inspection control”
  6. Colombia – “High Level Reporting Mechanism – A mechanism for the participation of the private sector in identification, prevention and prosecution of corruption cases”
  7. El Salvador – “Integrated government, integrated public. Public institutions ensure accounts and budgets are public, maximise the availability of public information, citizen participation and prevent corruption. Establishing coordination between departments. Achieving this through information technology and new technologies”
  8. Latvia – “Empowering Citizens” & “Improve Corruptions Perception Index”
  9. Norway – “Municipality reform”

Fiscal Transparency: Greater fiscal transparency to ensure taxpayers can follow their money

  1. Brazil – “Restructuring the Brazilian Transparency Portal”
  2. Dominican Republic – “Continuing E-Procurement Implementation”, “Completing the Process of Creating Single Account System of Treasure”, “Access to Information Single Application”, “Public Vacancy Portal”, “Open Data Portal”
  3. Croatia – “Open Spending – Development of the searchable online database on all payments executed from the State Treasury Single Account, according to the prescribed budget classifications”, “GOV.HR – Launching Single Government website”, “Strengthening the implementation of new Access to Information Act” & “E-consultations – Single Access Point to Public Consultations on new laws, other regulations and acts”
  4. Mexico – “Ensure transparency and accountability in natural disaster relief expenditure”
  5. Turkey – “Enhancing integrity, transparency and accountability of public institutions is one of main objectives of our national OGP agenda”

Natural Resources – Extractives: Work towards a common global reporting standard for natural resource transparency, ensuring that payments for extractives and natural resources are transparent and used for public benefit

  1. Armenia – “Electronic Mining Database”

Empowering Citizens: Further empower citizens, transforming the relationship between people and their governments

  1. Mongolia – “Mongolia succeeds to develop first Action Plan Draft of the Open Government Partnership”
  2. South Africa – “School’s Connectivity Project”
  3. Tanzania – “Enabling the Public to Access Public Information”
  4. Lithuania – “Continuously improve public services for citizens using new technologies, best management and good governance practice”
  5. Czech Republic – “Adoption of an Act on Civil Servants, to ensure depoliticisation, professionalisation and stabilisation of the public administration”
  6. Finland – “A Clear Language Campaign for Civil Servants in the Finnish Public Sector”
  7. Azerbaijan – “To increase the number of electronic services and expand the geography of “ASAN-Service” Centers (Public Service Halls)”
  8. Indonesia – “Catalyzing Sustainable Change: Meaningful Youth Engagement on Open Government”
  9. Spain – “New Action Plan”
  10. Costa Rica – “Develop a Judiciary´s Open Government Policy”

Further information on these commitments will be published in due course.

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