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CSC Newsletter April 2013 No. 7

CSC Newsletter April 2013 No. 7

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Published by emilenemartinez17
OGP CIVIL SOCIETY COORDINATION NEWSLETTER
OGP CIVIL SOCIETY COORDINATION NEWSLETTER

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Published by: emilenemartinez17 on May 09, 2013
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Civil Society Coordination Newsletter
- supporting independent engagement with the OGP 
Highlights
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 
2
Self-Assessment Reports Available
2
CS Comments onSouth African As-sessment 
2
In Case You MissedIt...
2
Italy: The Silent State
3
Upcoming Eventsand Webinars
3
 African Model Access to Infor-mation Law
4
NGO’s Excluded
from UNCAC Evalu-ation Mechanism
4
OKCON Call for Proposals
4
 Achieving Results Through OGP
4
Dear colleagues,
 
The London OGP meeng 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 acon plans and IRM reports. This links to the discussion onhow to encourage ambion and stretch in the acon plans
-
something that was envisioned in the designof OGP, but has not everywhere come out as such. Many commitments are actually dened to bedeliverable within a year. From that perspecve longer melines can drive ambion – if balanced byeorts to keep the local dynamic going and maintain pressure on the naonal 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 addional quality and ambion to the naonal dialogue and to the aconplans: what can be done to facilitate and strengthen CSO advocacy and monitoring eorts, how can wemove from
consultaon
to
ongoing dialogue and partnership
? Geng this right can bring more depth and
quality to the naonal processes
 
At the heart of the SC meeng was the presentaon of the acon 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 acon plan and lay the basis for a good permanent dialogue.The case of Hungary brought about a spirited dialogue on balancing polical space versus creang spacefor CSO priories and on how dicult it is to consult and provide feedback in a way that works for bothsides. Our discussion took place before Hungary drascallycurtailed 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 restricon of the FOI in Hungary orthe very obvious restricons of CSO space in Russia and Azerbaijan? The OGP Steering Commieegenerally does not collecvely comment on progress or lack thereof in an individual country – as the localdynamic is leading
-
except in the exceponal circumstances. OGP reiterated this inFebruary
.But cases
will connue to pop up and each case will ask for a tailor
-
made reacon. The toolbox might need to belled with more opons I think – from diplomacy via publicity to ulmately suspension. More guidance isneeded on making processes and plans beer 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 parci-paon in certain regions (Africa, Asia) where more countries are geng ready to join. The latest update of the eligibility criteria made 6 addional 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 rotaon(October 2014 – with an addional 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 direcon: energec,fresh format, smart use of technology, co
-
creaon programming, plenty of space for civil society meengsbefore and during the Summit. A planning commiee 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 ocial minutes and nal documents will beonline by the end of the week, and the next Steering Commiee meeng is in July.Kind regards,
 
Paul
 
 
Hungary to Drascally Curtail FOI Space
 
April 2013 (#7)
Page 2
Self 
-
Assessment Reports Available on OGP Site
All self assessment reports of the eight founding members arenow available on the OGP website. Click to see and comparethe reports of theUK, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, Indone- sia,theUSA, South Africa andNorway.  The South African government published its self assessment of the country’sacon plan last week. According to Alison Tilley, execuve director of the Open Democracy Advice Center(ODAC),the report shows lile progress on open government. “Ironically released in the same week that the Secrecy Bill waspassed by a commiee in the lower house of parliament, thegovernment set up seven commitments as part of the ‘race tothe top’ on transparency and openness, but only reported suc-cessful achievement of two of them.”
 
South African Civil Society Comments on OGP Self 
-
Assessment Report
 
Last week, Sandor Lederer, from the Hungarian NGOK
-
Monitor shared with us his concerns regarding proposed restricons andexempons to the Hungarian FOI law:
 
“Only a week aer Hungary presented its OGP acon plan inLondon, making a commitment to enhance transparency andopenness at government and public instuons, MPs of thegoverning Fidesz party iniated the amendment of the FOI actwatering down exisng legislaon by liming access to data of public interest for only two government oversight bodies, theState Audit Oce (ÁSZ) and the Government Control Oce(KEHI) and restricng public access to informaon.The dra bill allows public instuons to deny FOI requests if they can be considered as ‘excessive’, not dening what can beconsidered so. Moreover, several data and informaon requestswill be excluded from the scope of the FOI act ruling out legalacons. Hungarian NGOs regard this as a major setback in Hun-gary's FOI and an
-
corrupon environment.K
-
Monitor Watchdog for Public Funds, the invesgave portalatlatszo.hu, Hungarian Civil Liberes Union and TI Hungary havecalled the leaders of the parliamentary groups of the govern-ment pares to vote against the act. In a leer, they warned theMinister of Public Administraon and Jusce that the amend-ment makes civil cooperaon in the government’s an
-
corrupon working group useless.Despite a huge public outcry the Parliament accepted theamendment this morning. The amendment was iniated onSunday through an urgent procedure, thus civil consultaon wasprecluded. NGOs assume that government pushed this amend-ment to hide details of the dubious tobacco retail tender thatbecame a naonal scandal last week.The aforemenoned NGOs jointly with leading online news por-tals submied a FOI request regarding the details of the tenderbut since the amendment extends its eect also on ongoing FOIrequests the transparency of this case in endangered.According to K
-
Monitor's point of view this amendment is themost aggressive and harsh aack against freedom of infor-maon in Hungary since the adopon of the FOIA in 1992.”
 
Recently, Transparency Internaonal also heavily cricized thebrand new Hungarian OGP Acon Plan, stang that the actualcommitments do not guarantee a more open and transparentgovernment.
 
In Case You Missed It...
More news from
South Africa
, where the Secrecy Billpassed in parliament— in the same week in which the OGPself 
-
assessment report was published. The South AfricancampaignRight2Know has closely been monitoring the pro- cess. A cause for concern regarding the Secrecy Bill is that itonly hasnarrow protecon for whistleblowers and publicadvocates (not a full Public Interest Defence) that excludesa range of maers in the public interest like shady tender-ing pracces or improper appointments within key stateagencies. Right2Know started a peon to stop the SecrecyAct. You can nowemail president Zuma to let him know you don’t agree with the passing of the law.
The
Internaonal Budget Partnership
published their 2012Annual Report calledAcon and Reecon. 
TheHewle Foundaon has a job opening at its Global De- velopment and Populaon program. More informaon canbe foundhere. 
The World Bank is running asurvey in order to get a beer understanding of the demand for open nancial data—allare welcome to parcipate!
 
If you have any informaon or materials that you would wantfor us to include in our next newsleer please send them toNout van der Vaart (n.van.der.vaart@hivos.nl)or Emilene Mar- nez (emilene17@gmail.com).
 
Page 3
Civil Society Coordination Newsletter
Italy: The Silent State
 
Last week, at the Internaonal Journalism Fesval in Perugia, Italian NGODirio di Sapere andAccessInfo Europe published the reportThe Silent State.The report focuses on the responsiveness of the government to FOI requests of cizens and the media.Both organizaons carried out a extensive monitoring on access to informaon pracces in the country. The report foundthat only 13 % of responses to requests provided requesters with the informaon they had asked for and that 73 % werenot adequately answered by the Italian public instuons.‘In Italy, corrupon is esmated to cost taxpayers as much as €60 billion per year. At present journalists have no way of tracking where this money is going because we simply don’t have the data’ stated Andrea Menapace, founder and spokes-person of Dirio di Sapere.Helen Darbishire, founder and Director of Access Info Europe added: ‘The current economic and polical crisis in Italy isalso a crisis of transparency. Cizens are ill
-
informed about what is really going on in government and do not have the dataneeded to parcipate nor to hold the polical class accountable’.For more informaon contact Andrea Menapace atinfo at diriodisapere.it
. 
 
Upcoming Events and Webinars
 
WEBINARS
 
May 15
th
2013
; 10:00AM–12:00PM EST
Learning by doing: Mexico and Peru in the OGP
(presented in Spanish)
 
Presenters:
Gabriela Segovia Cantú (General Director for Access to Informaon Policies Coordinaon at IFAI Mexico) andMariana Llona Rosa (Public Administraon Secretary at the Council of Ministers in Peru). Register for this webinarhere.To  join the session please usethis link to login 5 minutes before the Webinar is scheduled to start.
 
May 21, 2013
; 10:00
-
11:00 AM EST
Assets Disclosure
 
Presenters:
Ivana Rossi (World Bank) and Irakli Koteshvili (Director of the Civil Service Bureau of Georgia). Register for thiswebinarhere.To join the session please usethis link to login 5 minutes before the Webinar is scheduled to start.
 
June, (TBC)
 
Engaging Demand Side of Open Government Data Iniaves
 
Presenter: Dr. Jennifer Shkabatur (World Bank), Country experience presenter (TBC)
 
OTHER EVENTS:
 
May 17, 2013 Bosnia and Herzegovina OGP Meeng
, Sarajevo. Organized by TI Bosnia and Herzegovina.
 
OGP civil societycoordinator Paul Maassen and Helen Darbishire from AccessInfo Europe will be aending the event.
May 28
-
30
 
OGP Africa Regional Meeng
, Mombassa Kenya. Agenda TBD.
 
June, 14, 2013 OGP Armenia Conference
, Yerevan, Armenia. The event will focus on the Armenian OGP process. Foreignparcipants are very welcome to join and share their experiences.
June 26
-
27, 2013
 
Conference on Open Data in Lan America and the Caribbean
in Montevideo, Uruguay. More infor-maon availablehere. 
July 2
-
4
Peer
-
exchange meeng for CS leaders from past, current and future OGP chair countries (London).
July, 10,
 
2013
: OGP Steering Commieemeeng in London.

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