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April 2015

May 19-21, 2015
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

The Government of Tanzania will host the second-ever OGP Africa Regional Meeting on May 20-21, 2015 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. A civil society day will take place on May 19, 2015. The theme of the meeting is "Enhancing Accountability through Open Governance". You can pre-register to attend the event and submit a proposal for a session.  The deadline for submitting proposals is April 15, 2015. 

The 2015 OGP Africa Regional Meeting will bring together government and civil society leaders, decision-makers, thinkers and doers from the region. The meeting will highlight interesting open government initiatives from across the region including the presentation of new OGP national action plans by governments. The meeting also provides an exciting opportunity to exchange ideas, lessons, experiences, and expertise on open government reforms among government and civil society participants.

More information about hotels, media and the agenda will be posted here in due course. 

Using OGP to caucus for bigger and better results

by Paul Maassen

The Open Government Partnership is a dynamic platform where issues, interests and actors come together on both the national and international level. . When it all comes together, this platform is a fertile base for partnership, achievement and, at times, even constructive conflict. It is a vibrant market place where deals are made and open government becomes reality.
Civil society has been a vocal participant on the platform from day one, when it was optimistic about the potential of the idea of OGP but critical of its design. As the platform became more familiar civil society understood better how to more effectively talk to, trust and work with government. Some transitioned into strategic advocates that were able to achieve realistic reforms while not giving up on its bigger goals. It’s no coincidence that some of the strongest OGP success stories are those where civil society is active and strategic....continue reading here.
In this column, OGP features interesting and ambitious commitments from participating countries. We encourage readers to dive deeper and follow their development and implementation.

Country: Ghana
Commitment: Fiscal Transparency
Action Plan: 2013 - 2014

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP) proactively worked to improve fiscal transparency: it produced a simplified version of the budget, published expenditure reports and the 2014 Citizens’ Budget, and organised frequent consultative budget meetings. As MOFEP collaborates with stakeholders to work effectively on these items, fiscal transparency and accountability should improve drastically. As citizens gain tools used to track government expenditures (especially on government projects), project execution efficiency will likely be enhanced.  

Read more in Ghana's IRM Progress Report. To find more interesting commitments being implemented this year, read What's in the New OGP National Action Plans?

Faces of Open Government

Seember Nyager
Chief Executive Officer
Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) 

(Nigeria is not an OGP participating country)
How does open government make a difference in people's lives?
In the context of Nigeria, there is currently a lot of distrust between custodians of Government and the people. This creates tensions; so much so that when the Government launches a potentially great initiative, the lack of trust acts as saboteur. The distrust being felt in Nigeria is a natural consequence of State capture by a few people. The way to start rebuilding trust is to allow people the means to verify the performance of Government. This is only possible where adequate mechanisms are implemented to ensure that people can participate in Government. 

Describe one important OGP commitment your country should consider championing in the future.

Nigeria needs to make a commitment towards open contracting. This is because the entire contracting cycle is critical to the quality of every public service delivery. We currently have contracts that are highly inflated to cover kickbacks that must be provided before jobs are obtained...continue reading here.

Latest news on OGP    

Slovak Republic publishes National Action Plan

Read the recently-approved Slovak Republic Action Plan which has interesting commitments on opening educational resources and access to the results of scientific research.

Letter of concern regarding Azerbaijan

The OGP Support Unit has received a letter of concern regarding Azerbaijan, under the OGP Response Policy. The letter was jointly issued by CIVICUS, Publish What You Pay and Article 19. Click here to read the full letter.

To defend civic space, let's get serious about cyber space

Nathaniel Heller argues that many of the key backers of the “defend civic space” movement are simultaneously dismantling privacy and anonymity protections in cyberspace. Read on to see his ideas on how to correct this trend.

Insights from the New World Justice Project Open Government Index

The Index data has two major and related findings on the relationship between OGP and open government practices. First: for all levels of economic development, OGP members rank significantly higher on open government outcomes than non-OGP countries. Second: longer membership in the OGP contributes to higher levels of open government outcomes. Read more here.

Nordic countries exchange OGP experiences

In October 2014 OGP-executive officers from the public administration in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden met in Berlin to exchange experiences on OGP Action Plan development and civil society engagement. Public administrations in all the Nordic countries find it a challenge to make civil society sufficiently involved in questions concerning OGP. Read more here.

Past recorded webinars now available

Learn about key open government issues through our Webinars with expert speakers available here.

The buzz on Open Government

Open Government Progress - The untold story

Mary Beth Goodman & Nick Sinai write that although open government is an important part of U.S. foreign policy, it doesn’t make headlines. Despite a lack of resources, the yet untold story is that the federal government has been making progress on open government - from Freedom of Information Act implementation, to natural resource revenues transparency to citizen science programs. Read more here.

The GovLab Digest is a curated selection of major developments, findings, and views related to how we improve people's lives by changing how we govern, delivered weekly.
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