Civil Society Coordination Newsletter
- supporting independent engagement with the OGP
London SC Meet-ing highlightsfrom the Civil So-ciety Coordinator
Self-AssessmentReports availablefor OGP foundingmembers
News from Italyon FOI implemen-tation
FOI setbacks inHungary
2013 No. 7
Inside this issue:
FOI Setbacks inHungary
Self-Assessment Reports Available
CS Comments onSouth African As-sessment
In Case You MissedIt...
Italy: The Silent State
Upcoming Eventsand Webinars
African Model Access to Infor-mation Law
from UNCAC Evalu-ation Mechanism
OKCON Call for Proposals
Achieving Results Through OGP
The London OGP meeng 2 weeks ago had a packed agenda; let me give you three pieces to chew on.
The rst piece is linked to the discussion of melines. One of the things agreed in principle was the idea tobegin moving toward a biannual calendar for acon plans and IRM reports. This links to the discussion onhow to encourage ambion and stretch in the acon plans
something that was envisioned in the designof OGP, but has not everywhere come out as such. Many commitments are actually dened to bedeliverable within a year. From that perspecve longer melines can drive ambion – if balanced byeorts to keep the local dynamic going and maintain pressure on the naonal process.
One of the challenges in the coming months will be to work out how to improve the OGP guidance andmechanics in a way that brings addional quality and ambion to the naonal dialogue and to the aconplans: what can be done to facilitate and strengthen CSO advocacy and monitoring eorts, how can wemove from
ongoing dialogue and partnership
? Geng this right can bring more depth and
quality to the naonal processes
At the heart of the SC meeng was the presentaon of the acon plans of the newest OGP members, thefuture plans of the founding members and a dialogue between the both of them. This worked best wherecountries had both government and civil society at the table like in the case of Costa Rica and Hungary.Costa Rica
with the hands
on support of the Networking Mechanism and our team
managed to turnaround their process and deliver a promising acon plan and lay the basis for a good permanent dialogue.The case of Hungary brought about a spirited dialogue on balancing polical space versus creang spacefor CSO priories and on how dicult it is to consult and provide feedback in a way that works for bothsides. Our discussion took place before Hungary drascallycurtailed the FOI space.
This last point brings me to the second piece: what to do about countries that clearly backslide againstthe principles or eligibility criteria of OGP? How to deal with this clear restricon of the FOI in Hungary orthe very obvious restricons of CSO space in Russia and Azerbaijan? The OGP Steering Commieegenerally does not collecvely comment on progress or lack thereof in an individual country – as the localdynamic is leading
except in the exceponal circumstances. OGP reiterated this inFebruary
will connue to pop up and each case will ask for a tailor
made reacon. The toolbox might need to belled with more opons I think – from diplomacy via publicity to ulmately suspension. More guidance isneeded on making processes and plans beer at the start of each round, keeping a focus on strong(independent) monitoring and being prepared to act if countries lose ground on openness. All these ele-ments are needed to improve the performance of the current 58 members.
Although there was general agreement that the next phase of OGP should be about deepening the com-mitments and actual change in these countries, there was also consensus on the need to broaden parci-paon in certain regions (Africa, Asia) where more countries are geng ready to join. The latest update of the eligibility criteria made 6 addional countries eligible, including Malawi and Venezuela. Much morecan be found in the minutes the Support Unit will release, by the end of the week, via the regular chan-nels. This includes new thinking on peer learning and support as well as agreement on the next rotaon(October 2014 – with an addional seat being created).
A nal point to chew on is the OGP Summit (31 October and 1 November). There is no strategic outline oragenda yet from the side of the UK government. But the buzzwords point in the right direcon: energec,fresh format, smart use of technology, co
creaon programming, plenty of space for civil society meengsbefore and during the Summit. A planning commiee is about to be created— hopefully we will have anoutline (soon) and a dra agenda before summer.
That’s was my quick take on what happened in London. The ocial minutes and nal documents will beonline by the end of the week, and the next Steering Commiee meeng is in July.Kind regards,