Open Government Partnership: Global Dialogue on the Preparation of the National Action Plans

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As part of the World Bank supported South-South knowledge exchange on Open Government, on February 28, the ICT Sector Unit in partnership with the World Bank Institute organized a videoconference-based workshop that provided a core group of policy makers from Macedonia and Moldova with relevant and timely input based on experiences of Brazil, the United Kingdom and the US. The program enabled the client countries to develop bold but focused Action Plans to be submitted to the Open Government Partnership at the April 2012 meeting in Brazil. It also helped strengthen their ability to enable public sector reform, improve competitiveness and drive open innovation.
Randeep Sudan and Robert Hunja outlined the World Bank’s approach and their high expectations of the effects that open government will have on development. Randeep Sudan described the innovative approach towards building an open government in Mongolia, including the introduction of the microwork platforms. 
UK examples presented by Lisa Evans from the Guardian and Ed Parks from the Cabinet Office were of high value for participating stakeholders. For instance, the UK experts explained how predictive policing became possible with open data. Participants from Macedonia and Moldova took the opportunity of the videoconference to consult and collect ideas for further development of their action plans and for re-affirming their commitments to the open government agenda. Caroline Mauldin from the State Department emphasized the shifting culture within the US government agencies, which expects the agencies to put documents online, including the ones in a draft form.  She said that presenting data in a “consumable way” for citizens became a priority for the US State Department.
Chris Vein, Deputy CTO of the US, shared that all US agencies have developed individual action plans and are actively pursuing them. The US government is now encouraging the private sector in the country to open up their data. He also spoke about the use of blogs and social media tools to shape US OGP action plan. In order to create more trust among US federal agencies, “speed dating exercises” were launched. They helped create the energy and new partnerships between organizations. Participants also discussed how the US OGP action plan turned into a truly national plan, despite the rush in the consultation process. The US OGP action plan bears a special seal reflecting its national nature. 
Thomas Blanton, Director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington suggested looking at the documents that are put online as “living documents”, which reflect the inside consultation process.  He suggested incorporating national consultations into OGP action plans.
Brazil shared their valuable experience in building partnerships with the civil society for the OGP consultation process. Civil society organizations in Brazil have organized themselves to strongly push the government to open data agenda.
Finally, representative of the private sector described the three roles, in which businesses see the value for themselves in the open government ecosystem: 1) they can be beneficiaries of the released data; 2) they can be involved prizes and competitions; 3) they can become contractors for implementing the OGP agenda. 

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"The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a new multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. To become a member of OGP, participating countries must embrace a high-level Open Government Declaration; deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation; and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward. The Open Government Partnership formally launched on September 20, 2011, when the 8 founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States) endorsed an Open Government Declaration, and announced their country action plans. Since September, OGP has welcomed the commitment of 43 additional governments to join the Partnership". (Source: www.opengovpartnership.org)

Recorded webcast can be found here

The even page can be found here

Authors

Elena Kvochko

Information Communication Technologies Specialist