Aruna Roy Rocks OGP Regional Summit in Bali

6 May 2014

Judging by enthusiastic tweets, the Open Government Partnership regional summit in Bali got off to a rousing first day, in part because “the spirit of Aruna Roy is contagious!” as one person wrote on Twitter.

Roy, the Indian social activist and a leading force behind the Right to Information law, received a lot of Twitter attention on #OGPBali, in part for leading a chant: “The right to know is the right to live.”

Hers was one of many opening day speeches. The website for the Bali event includes the texts of  plenary speeches and talks from some of the other sessions. Some are being live streamed.

There was news that Papua New Guinea will join the OGP this year.

Steering Committee Mum

But the OGP Steering Committee, which met for several days in advance of the summit, has not indicated what decisions it made on major issues before it, including how to encourage member countries to ensure civic space. (See previous report.)

Action on that front was urged by CSOs in a statement following their own pre-summit meeting. (See previous report.) The Steering Committee usually issues minutes of its meeting several weeks after they are held. e-mails to OGP officials about the SC meeting went unreturned.

Paul Maassen, the OGP civil society coordinator, wrote May 6 about plans for selecting new government and civil society members to the Steering Committee.

Quotable Roy

Many lines from Roy’s speeches were tweeted out. She was quoted as saying:

“It’s not enough to speak truth to power; we also have to make truth powerful.”

“We have to talk truth to power, make truth powerful and power truthful.”

“We’ve learnt how to speak truth to power…but when will be listened to?’

“Through transparency we expose corruption, but then there is no action taken against the corrupt”

“If governments don’t understand there will be discomfort, I don’t think we’ll be able to take open government further.”

“The OGP is something that has brought the world community together.”

“Those who have power don’t want to share it. Those who don’t must struggle to get it.

“Through transparency we expose corruption, but then there is no action taken against the corrupt.”

“The most important thing the OGP has done worldwide is that the mysticism of government has been unpacked.”

“Transparency can be used to expose corruption but accountability is needed to fight it.”

“We need to create accountability laws – we need to take action against the corrupt, beyond transparency.”

Quotes From Other Speeches

Indonesia Minster Kuntoro Mangkusubroto was quoted as saying, “OGP elevates openness to a collective pursuit of good governance.”

Alejandro Gonzalez, Director General of the Mexican CSO GESOC and a Steering Committee member, said, “OGP builds trust between government and civil society, but just as importantly between civil society itself’.’

Roberta Solis Ribeiro, Chief International Affairs Advisor, Office of the Comptroller General of Brazil, said, “OGP is both a platform & opportunity to learn & share.”

One summary of tweets was prepared:

#OGPBali has been chirpified!

Flying Crane Backdrop

One longer summary on the first day was written by Michael Canares. It begins:

The plenary room of Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center was jam-packed at 845 in the morning, with representatives from different countries in the Asia-Pacific region and all over the globe joining the first regional conference on open data hosted by the Government of Indonesia.  The conference stage backdrop depicts a million colourful cranes moving in one direction towards the OGP logo, perhaps signalling an unprecedented wave of aspirations, commitments, plans, and actions towards a more ‘open’ governance within the region.  Then a few minutes later, President Yudhoyono arrived and the two-day gathering (6-7 May 2014) of roughly 500 people started.

Canares also reported on the second day.

Tweet Sample

Other tweets conveyed the variety of interests and excitement:

“You know the tech, you know the issues, bridge the gap!”

“By marrying FOI and #OpenData, we want to bridge the supply and the demand side of access to information.”

“PDFs are where data goes to die” – true words at #OGPBali #gov2au” love it!

“OGP is both a platform and an opportunity”

For other reading, The Guardian interview nine experts offer their thoughts on making open data initiatives work for all citizens

Streaming Dublin

The two-day OGP European regional summit begins May 8 in Dublin. Some sessions will be live-streamed. A CSO summit will be held May 7. Archive

For more than 200 articles on the OGP since its conception visit here.

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