For one week in Tbilisi, Georgia, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Government of Georgia hosted over ninety governments, hundreds of civil society organizations, and thousands of engaged citizens in Tbilisi to advance open government and strengthen political processes everywhere.
In a press statement, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, revealed that the Summit hosted in Georgia from July 17-19, 2018 was attended by 2,240 people, and which featured more than 81 sessions.
Isah disclosed that five heads of state and six heads of local government, including: Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze, President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Muhammetkalyi Abulgaziev, and Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić; Governor of Nariño, Colombia Camilo Romero Galeano; Mayor of Tbilisi, Georgia Kakha Kaladze, Governor of Elgeyo-Marakwet County, Kenya Alex Tolgos, Governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria Malam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai, Governor of La Libertad, Peru Luis Alberto Valdez Farias, and Mayor of Kigoma, Tanzania Hussein Ruhava were in attendance too.
He said the Summit was an opportunity for reformers inside and outside of government to share transformative innovations that empower citizens to shape policies and services that impact their lives.
He quoted Mr. Sanjay Pradhan, Chief Executive Officer of OGP as saying that, “My hope is that we will scale these up as new global norms, and join forces to reinvigorate democracy and push back against closing government.”
New Steering Committee Leadership
During the summit, the OGP Steering Committee met to discuss ways to build a stronger coalition to build a positive force for openness and deeper democracy.
Specific plans were discussed to leverage OGP action plans to open civic space, protect the legal environment for civil society, and ensure the rights of journalists and human rights defenders.
As the government of Georgia ends its term as Government Chair of the OGP Steering Committee, members of the governing body of OGP also unanimously confirmed the Government of Argentina – represented by the Minister of Modernization, Andrés Ibarra – and Robin Hodess of the B Team as incoming co-chairs.
Their term will start on October 1, 2018. Minister Ibarra looks forward to working with all members to shape the future of OGP.
“This is a recognition of the commitment and work that the Government of Argentina is doing, along with local governments, civil society, and the legislative and judicial branches.
“We are living in an era of change; citizens are increasingly demanding enhanced participation and transparency.
“In that sense, OGP is the central platform to elevate that standard and advance processes that put the State at the service of the people,” added Ibarra.
OGP Heads to South Korea and Canada
At the closing session, OGP also announced that the Government of South Korea will host the OGP Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting on November 5-6, 2018, bringing together government leaders and practitioners to share experiences of open government initiatives and practices in their countries.
Vice-Minister of the Interior and Safety, Bokyun Shim, recognized the need to increase space for citizen voices.
“The governments cannot solve all social problems alone. With an increasing number of concerning problems, we need more than a single practitioner. We need collective intelligence,” said Vice-Minister Shim.
“At this OGP Regional Meeting, I hope we can share our views on how governments can expand civic spaces and encourage citizens to more engage in policy-making.”
The Asia Pacific Regional Meeting will take place in Seoul, Korea on November 5-6, 2018.
During the closing ceremony, President of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Scott Brison, who will become Lead Government Co-Chair of OGP on October 1, 2018, called on governments and civil society to convene in Ottawa, Canada in May 2019.
Minister Brison will share the OGP Co-Chairmanship with Nathaniel Heller, Executive Vice President of Results for Development.
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable.
OGP was formally launched on September 20, 2011, on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting, when eight heads of state, along with an equal number of civil society leaders, endorsed the Open Government Declaration and published the first cohort of OGP Action Plans with specific open government reform commitments.
OGP has since grown to include over 70 national governments (representing a third of the world’s population), 20 local governments, seven multilateral bodies, and hundreds of civil society organizations.
OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) holds governments accountable for their commitments by producing thorough, impartial reports that track progress on OGP Action Plans.