These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
A Working Definition of "Open Government"
"I’ve been spending a non-trivial amount of time lately watching and pondering the explosive uptake of the term "open government." This probably isn't too surprising given Global Integrity’s involvement in the nascent Open Government Partnership (OGP). As excited as I've been to witness the growth of OGP, the continued progress of the open data movement, and the emerging norms around citizen participation in government internationally, I've also been worrying that the longer we allow "open government" to mean any and everything to anyone, the risk increases that the term melts into a hollow nothingness of rhetoric.
My most immediate concern, which I've been chronicling of late over on this Tumblr, has been the conflation of "open data" with "open government," an issue well-explored by Harlan Yu and David Robinson in this paper. I've also been publicly concerned about the apparent emphasis put on open data - seemingly at the expense of other open government-related priorities - by the current UK government, which is slated to take over the co-chairmanship of OGP shortly. (An excellent unpacking of those concerns can be found in this letter from leading UK NGOs to the government.)" READ MORE
"Africa plans to launch a fund to harness the financial resources of its citizens based in the Diaspora which will be used for development projects on the continent.
The proposed African Diaspora Development Fund and Remittances will be unveiled at the Global African Diaspora Summit to be hosted by the African Union (AU) Commission in collaboration with the South African government in Johannesburg from 23-25 May." READ MORE
"Over the course of 2011's momentous Arab Spring uprisings, young women in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen used social media and cyberactivism to carve out central roles in the revolutionary struggles under way in their countries, according to a new study commissioned by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.
The study, "Unveiling the Revolutionaries: Cyberactivism and Women's Role in the Arab Uprisings," explores the activism of several key figures, including Egypt's Esraa Abdel Fattah, who became widely known as "Facebook girl," as well Libya's Danya Bashir, Bahrain's Zeinab and Maryam al-Khawaja and Tunisia's Lina Ben Mhenni, who became known as the uprising's "Twitterati," dubbed by influential media and pundits as 'must-follows.'" READ MORE
Southeast Europe Struggles with Effective Law Enforcement
"Law enforcement agencies are considered key agents in peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction efforts. For that reason, massive resources from the international community have been channeled to democratizing and professionalizing police institutions in Southeast Europe.
However, although legal reforms of the police force have been fairly successful in the four Southeast European countries covered in the 2011 Global Integrity Report - Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia -, the implementation and enforcement of these laws are found wanting in our latest assessment." READ MORE
Financial Task Force
G8 Action On Asset Recovery For The Arab World
"The G8 have just released an ambitious and comprehensive asset recovery action plan as part of the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition.
It is timely and necessary to reinforce the momentum behind stolen asset recovery processes. The first step by G8 countries was to freeze the accounts of the authoritarian leaders Mubarak, Ben Ali and Gaddafi after their fall from power last year, based on the allegation that the assets held had been illicitly acquired from state coffers. However, there has been too little progress made in returning those assets.
In times of meagre state budgets the G8 now seems to now have acknowledged the need for facilitating the process to return these assets, rumoured to be in the tens of billions." READ MORE
Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomite