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September 30, 2014

OGP High-Level Event at the United Nations

Outcome Statement

Last week, the Open Government Partnership celebrated its three-year anniversary. Since its launch in 2011, OGP has grown from eight to 65 participating countries, and from a handful of founding civil society leaders to hundreds of organizations engaged in OGP around the world. OGP countries have made over 2,000 open government reform commitments as part of 87 National Action Plans. OGP’s rapid growth demonstrates that there is strong demand for more open and accountable government around the world, and that the opportunity to change the culture of government has never been greater.

On September 24th, at the United Nations Headquarters, support for OGP was reaffirmed by the presence of 10 Heads of State and Government, over 30 Ministers, and more than 300 civil society leaders from around the world. At the event, OGP formally welcomed Bosnia and Herzegovina as the 65th country to join OGP. Read the full outcome statement on the OGP blog.

Speakers at the High-Level Event

Ten Heads of State and over 300 global civil society leaders were present at the high-level event. Below are links to some of the speeches.

The President of Indonesia and outgoing lead co-chair Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's welcoming speech can be viewed via this link. The keynote speeches of President Barack Obama of the United States and incoming government lead co-chair President Peña Nieto of Mexico can be viewed here and here.

The remarks of incoming civil society lead co-chair Suneeta Kaimal  can be watched here and her remarks can be read on the Natural Resource Governance Institute blog. Outgoing civil society lead co-chair and session moderator Rakesh Rajani's speech can be viewed at this link, and his written statement be read on the Twaweza website. 

The event was recorded and can be viewed in full on the UN stream. It will shortly be posted on the OGP's YouTube channel
OGP Video: "Changing the Culture of Government"

Watch OGP's new video, launched on September 24th. "Changing the Culture of Government" has three core messages: "Open by Default; Policy by the People; Accountability for Results.”

Open Gov Awards: A well-deserved celebration at the United Nations

Last week, in the presence of 10 Heads of State and hundreds of civil society leaders from around the world, OGP hosted its first annual Open Government Awards (Awards) ceremony at the United Nations. Government and civil society teams stood up among the audience as Alejandro Gonzales announced the top 10 finishers, greeted by enthusiastic applause. It was an exhilarating moment for OGP and a celebration of concrete results through a rigorous and transparent global competition.

A few months earlier when OGP was designing the 2014 Awards competition, there was unanimous agreement that the theme should reflect one of the core values of OGP – citizen engagement. The theme was essentially asking the question – how are governments involving citizens in designing and implementing public policy and services, how has the process benefited both government and citizens, and is it a sustainable program? We wanted to shine the spotlight on those government reformers who were breaking barriers to implement and scale up ideas, actively partnering with civil society and truly inviting citizens to engage with their government. The Awards were acting as the incentivizing vehicle to draw out these reformers, and stimulate a race to the top among OGP participating countries. Read the full blog post here

The OGP Policy on Upholding the Values and Principles of OGP adopted, and other highlights of last week’s OGP events

Last week, the Steering Committee adopted the proposed OGP Policy on Upholding the Values and Principles of OGP, a draft of which was made available before the meeting. This new policy basically operationalizes some of the elements that currently exist within OGP, especially around civic space and how civil society can play their part in OGP and open government reform more broadly. The policy spells out in detail how civic actors can raise their concerns and what processes will follow, while acknowledging that this is unchartered territory that will need to be refined along the way.

The aim of the policy is twofold. First, to try and assist the country in question to overcome difficulties and to help re-establish an environment for government and civil society collaboration. Second, to help maintain OGP’s credibility and safeguard its long-term future. Read full post on the OGP Civil Society Hub.

Latest news on OGP

What's in the new OGP Action Plans?

A new briefing paper provides an analysis of 34 new Action Plans with over 500 individual reform commitments. It also presents examples of solid civil society engagement in the public consultation process. Read the paper here.

IRM Technical paper analyses first IRM reports.

Last week, the IRM launched its first Technical Paper. The report analyses data from the first 43 country progress reports. Details and the most important findings can be found in the Executive Summary.
Open Data WG to support research projects exploring the technical and practical implications of open data.

As part of its on-going commitment to support governments in implementing their open data commitments and developing more ambitious action plans, the OGP Open Data Working Group is undertaking a new funding initiative called Open Data for Development (OD4D). The deadline for proposals deadline is October, 24th. The Working Group also recently published its 2014-2015 OGP Open Data Work Plan.

The buzz on Open Government

OGP Civil Society Steering Committee member Martin Tisne wrote a three part blog series on OGP last week. Read the blogs "OGP as a platform", "What can OGP do for me?" and "Testing the boundaries of OGP".
Article 19 together with 130 other civil society organisations sent an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling on him to recognize freedom of expression and information in his Post-2015 report. Ban Ki-moon and his team are drafting a report on Post-2015 which will kick off formal negotiations for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) next year.
The Centre for Law and Democracy's latest press release "A 100 RTI Laws: Much to celebrate but still a long way to go" analyses the 100 RTI laws that are currently in place worldwide (with Paraguay having joined last month). Celebrating a fast increase in the number of countries adopting RTI laws in the last two decades, there's still much to improve as weak laws and poor implementation remain a problem.
Celebrating the global Right to Information Day on 28 September, the Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) together with its members launched the first issue of the State of the Right to Information in Africa Report. The report provides a reflection of progress African countries have made in advancing the right to information from a regional perspective.
For Your Calendar
October 7, 2014, 10-11:00 EST:
Spanish Webinar on Gobierno Abierto en América Latina: Experiencias y Desafíos. Details and registration here.

November 17, 2014: OGP Civil Society Day prior to Americas Meeting. San José, Costa Rica.

November 18-19, 2014: OGP Regional Meeting Americas. San José, Costa Rica.
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