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June 2015

Launch of the OGP Explorer!

The new OGP Explorer was launched to great fanfare at the Third International Open Data Conference in Ottawa. 

OGP's civil society team worked several months on this groundbreaking data visualization tool, which includes all 2000 commitments made by the OGP's 65 countries. Paul Maassen, OGP's Civil Society Engagement Director, provides easy to use guidance in a blog and video.

The OGP Explorer will allow the entire OGP community - civil society, academics, governments, journalists - to easily access the wealth of data we've collected over the past four years. From now on it will be easy to find answers to questions such as 'what have countries promised - and what have they delivered?", "Which countries have commitments on fiscal transparency?", "How many starred commitments does Albania have?" or "What happened to the UK promise on beneficial ownership?"

We hope this tool will inspire and enable all OGP stakeholders to come up with unique insights, generate new analysis, and advocate for greater accountability and transparency in government!

OGP Africa Regional Meeting 

Scores of government officials and civil society leaders from across Africa and further afield, gathered in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, for OGP's second Africa Regional Meeting.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete inaugurated the series of workshops and plenaries on the subject of "enhancing accountability through open government". The three-day event garnered extensive media coverage, including a front-page story in the Citizen, one of Tanzania's top daily newspapers.

During the meeting, civil society organizations issued a statement with concerns about the closing of civic space in Africa. They provided a list of recommendations for governments and civil society groups in OGP countries that included suggestions pertaining to the post-2015 development goals and measures to protect freedom of expression and freedom of the press, particularly in Africa. There are currently 8 OGP countries in Africa.

Maureen Kariuki, OGP's Civil Society Regional Coordinator for Africa and the Middle East, underscored the importance of public debate of critical reforms not only for Tanzania, but for every country in the world.
Fostering Peer Exchange and Learning in the European Region
by Alonso Cerdan
Tomorrow the first ever European Region Government Point of Contact (POC) conference will begin in Tbilisi, Georgia. This conference will bring together more than 50 public servants from 21 Open Government Partnership (OGP) participating countries in order to share experiences, learn from each other and build stronger networks of government reformers. 

Government points of contact are the civil servants responsible for all OGP activities within a country: from drafting new action plans with civil society, to liaising with Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) researchers and everything in between. Since they are in such an important position the Support Unit has hosted “POC Camps” as side events during the Americas and Africa regional meetings in order to provide updates, showcase the resources available to them and encourage peer exchange. However, the Tbilisi conference is our first ever stand alone two-day Government POC meeting and... continue reading here.

Faces of Open Government

Giorgi Kldiashvili is Director of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) and co-chairman of the OGP forum in Georgia.
How does open government make a difference in people’s lives?

Open government is something that was unrealistic even to imagine in Georgia 15-20 years ago, not speaking about Soviet times, when everything was classified and secrecy was in every corner of the government and society. Democracy is possible to achieve only with the open government. Without open government people cannot see development, prosperity, in closed societies people cannot feel themselves free and equal, they cannot deliver concerns, their priorities, raise their voices to those who are elected by them and thus should be representing and carrying out their interests...continue reading here.
OGP Research
Did you know that open data is the third most popular topic in OGP action plans (after participation and access to information)? We wanted to know how successful open data commitments are and how they might be made better. Calling on the OGP's Open Data Working Group - which includes the World Wide Web Foundation - to help analyze the data, Joseph Foti, OGP's Program Director of the Independent Reporting Mechanism and Sonia Khan produced the report: "Aligning Supply and Demand: Open Data in the Open Government Partnership.For readers on-the-go, we offer "top-ten take-aways" from the report.

Latest news on OGP    

OGP Support Unit Executive Director Linda Frey has announced she will step down before the end of the year. We are sad to see her go, and are now conducting an international search for her successor.  

Paul Maassen, OGP's Director of Civil Society Engagement, shares some highlights from the April OGP Steering Committee meeting in Mexico City. 
New National Action Plans due in June

Eighteen countries are due to submit their new National Action Plans by the end of June 2015. Is your country one of them? Check the calendar.

OGP's new Logo Usage Guide 

OGP partners are invited to use the new Logo Usage Guide to learn how and when to employ the OGP logo and color bars.

Buzz on Open Government

UK Civil Society Network leading on open government.

UK civil society organisations have put together a list of their suggested open government priorities for incoming Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock. Their aim is to safeguard the country's position as a leader in open government.

From Openness to Real Accountability: A Think Piece on Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives

Brendan Halloran from the Transparency and Accountability Initiative (T/AI) writes on the need to better understand whether and how multi-stakeholder initiatives like OGP make a real difference in contributing to government accountability. Find the article here.

Why open contracting matters to the OGP agenda in Africa 

Following the OGP regional meeting in Dar es Salaam, Open Knowledge/ Code4Africa Open Government fellow Seember Nyager from Nigeria says African countries can improve on the delivery of public services by embracing the spirit and practice of open contracting.

GPSA Knowledge briefing note

The latest briefing note from GPSA Knowledge highlights key points from the discussion on interaction and cooperation between citizens and accountability institutions such as Supreme Audit Institutions and Ombudsman Institutions. Read the latest insights in “Does Collaboration with Civil Society Strengthen Accountability Institutions? An Exploration"

Upcoming Webinars
and Events

Wednesday, June 3, 10:00 am EST

Webinar - The Global Partnership for Social Accountability Knowledge Platform hosts 'Funding, Learning and Impact: How do Grant-Making Practices Help and Hinder Real Grantee Learning?' More info and registration here

Wed-Thurs June 3-4

The OGP European Regional Meeting for Government Points of Contacts takes place in Tbilisi, Georgia on June 3 and 4. 

Friday, June 12

Open Aid Partnership is hosting Open Impact Day, a one-day conference that will bring together the leading actors in open data to discuss the impact of open data initiatives on development. The event will be held at FHI360’s Washington DC offices. Questions can be addressed here.
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