Points of View 29th October 2015

Report from the 2015 OGP Global Summit: OpenTheGovernment.org hosts a workshop on civil society experiences | OpenTheGovernment.org

by Tim Hughes

On Tuesday I was fortunate to moderate an in depth discussion, convened by OpenTheGovernment.org, to share practice on how civil society can best work together and with government on the OGP. Below is OpenTheGovernment.org’s summary of the workshop. I’ll be posting some of my own thoughts here shortly.

On October 27, 2015, OpenTheGovernment.org hosted a workshop on Civil Society Day during the OGP 2016 Global Summit in Mexico City. The workshop provided a venue to draw on civil society experiences from across the globe to share knowledge and discuss experiences from a wide-range of civil society actors deeply engaged in the OGP process.

During the workshop, presenters and participants shared their experiences, identified commonalities, provided lessons-learned, and started to identify strategies to strengthen CSO-government collaboration in developing and implementing national action plans. Participants discussed opportunities for civil society engagement, and addressed areas where OGP could be use to advance openness agendas.

Notably, the summit has placed a spotlight on Mexico’s national context as an example of strong civil society engagement, and, at the same time, calling attention to the agenda of Mexico’s openness and human rights community. As reflected during our workshop, this agenda includes combating impunity and achieving justice for the widespread and systematic human rights violations. During the summit, Mexico civil society leaders released a statement signed by over 190 civil society organizations that calls for the OGP to better address Mexico’s human rights issues, and to better promote openness as a concept that involves not only transparency but accountability for abuses.

The workshop was moderated by Tim Hughes, the Open Government Program Manager at Involve and Coordinator of the UK Open Government Network – a coalition of transparency, participation and accountability reformers working on the OGP in the UK.

The workshop featured the following speakers:

Nanda Sihombing – Open Government Specialist with Indonesia’s Center for Regional Information & Studies (PATTIRO), which is part of the CSO Core Team in Indonesia.

Giorgi Kldiashvili – Director and founding member of the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) (Georgia), and Co-chairman of the Open Government Georgia’s Forum

Ugonna Ukaigwe – Human rights lawyer advocating for the promotion and protection of the rights of citizens particularly in their engagement and participation in governance processes. Ugonna is the Project Coordinator for the right to information coalition in Ghana.

Hilda Ajeilat – President of the Jordan Transparency Center. JTC is dedicated to providing accountable and transparent community in Jordan and the region, and participated in the development and implementation of Jordan’s first and second National Action Plans.

Héctor Rubio – Advocacy program coordinator with the Mexico City based civil society organization GESOC (the Center for Social Management and Cooperation) and the organization’s representative in the OGP national process.

Following the presentations, participants divided into break out groups to discuss the following questions: What lessons have you learned from your OGP experiences? What would you do differently, and what would you suggest other CSO collaborations might want to do?

OpenTheGovernment.org is working with the presenters and participants from the workshop to compile the lessons learned from the workshop and will update this blog with further analysis, and will be presenting the findings to the OGP Civil Society Engagement Team.

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