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Fwd: OGP Civil Society Reports and Advocacy Opportunities

  • Subject: Fwd: OGP Civil Society Reports and Advocacy Opportunities
  • From: "Theodoros G. Karounos" <karounos [ at ] eellak [ dot ] gr>
  • Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2013 20:56:11 +0200

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: OGP Civil Society Coordination <emilene17 [ at ] gmail [ dot ] com>
Date: Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 6:18 PM
Subject: OGP Civil Society Reports and Advocacy Opportunities
To: info [ at ] eellak [ dot ] gr

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           NEWSLETTER December 3, 2013        Dear colleagues,

This is an interesting period of the year. After the hectic days of the
summit itself, we now finally have some mind space to reflect on the year
ahead.. The (draft) IRM reports provide a humbling way of gaining some
national insights and, in combination, a global impression. Equally
interesting are the national civil society reports that are being released
in some countries. Two in particular caught my attention.

First, a draft - to be published - Indonesian report, published by a range
of CSOs that are involved with the OGP process but are not members of the
national OGP core team. It is a particular strength of Indonesia that it
has sufficient CSO engagement revolving around OGP, and that there can be
people watching the process on the outside while others are trying to
critically engage from the inside. As the lead chair, Indonesia will have
to be a shining example when it comes to OGP – in terms of both process and
ambition – and this gives national actors a great advocacy opportunity. A
link to the final version of the report will be provided on
ogphub.orgwhenever it will be published.

The second publication was the
published by Transparency Azerbaijan and the Economic Research Center.
For many of us, Azerbaijan exemplifies the weakness of the OGP eligibility
criteria or even of OGP itself. This is a country where it is exceptionally
challenging for civil society to be independent and critical and where
civic space is declining in general. At the same time Azerbaijan is a proud
member of EITI and OGP and was last year's host of the Internet Government
Forum. I started reading the report with great interest.

Were you to read the report superficially – for example, if you turned to
the graph on page 20 – you might think that the interim results achieved in
Azerbaijan are quite positive.  The report makes familiar reading as it
describes issues such as weak consultation and ill-defined commitments
lacking ambition and relevance. That we have heard in other countries.

But careful reading reveals a more complex story. Reading between the Azeri
lines of a statement like ‘Civil society organizations part of two networks
(..) made contributions to the plan, with less than 10% of their input
being reflected in it’, I sense a different message than would be the case
in some other OGP countries. Page 13 provides more insight. Another
example: those who have read the recent PWYP
Azerbaijan’s EITI progress will be surprised by the good scores on
cluster 8 – extractives. But a closer read of the promised actions reveals
that delivering on them is not difficult (‘publish report’). What's more,
the commitments are quite far removed from real and ambitious transparency
and accountability related to extractives. Scored by the letter, not the

Luckily the report makes excellent recommendations regarding both the AP
and civil society engagement (pages 14-16). The government can simply
integrate these into its next Action Plan. My tip of the week.
There is a general lesson here – one that we also saw in the US CSO
monitoring report<http://hivos.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6d259217ba4516316461a9498&id=c787353be2&e=bc2a75180f>(re:
letter and spirit) – which is that we need to become better at
defining commitments and to set a challenge that leads to real change.
That's something we are already familiar with.

But there is another, more important lesson to be drawn and it concerns
civic space and rights. An impressive coalition of almost 200 civil society
leaders is calling upon
address surveillance and privacy. This is a fundamental debate of
principles that we need to have globally. In countries like Azerbaijan, the
reality of civic space is not just an important principle – it goes a level
deeper, to a more personal level. It comes down to the basics of being able
to participate, to do your work as a civil society actor  shaping your
society, to hold your government to account. We heard this in London, too,
and the decrease in privacy is a trend we need to counter. The question is
who will do it and how. Part of the answer is that we as civil society,
working across regions and topics, can –and must –take the initiative.

Paul     Newsletter Highlights
*IRM process for Cohort 2 countries offers advocacy opportunities for civil
society. *The coming months will be an interesting and important period for
OGP and civil society working on OGP, as Cohort 4 countries must prepare
and deliver their first Action Plan by the end of March, and Cohort 2
countries must come up with their second national Action Plan by the same
date. [Read full article

Recently, the *minutes of the Steering Committee meeting
20 October got published on OGP's website*. What's most significant is that
a next summit won't be held until 2015. Have a full read on what's more in
it here<http://hivos.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6d259217ba4516316461a9498&id=88cc0b7c69&e=bc2a75180f>

*Plan to increase fees for FOI applications raises concern for Ireland’s
commitment to OGP. *While having joined the OGP only recently, the Irish
government has proposed amendments to the FOI Bill that would result in
multiple up-front fees for FOI requests. A successful campaign by Irish and
international civil society organisations has blocked the proposed changes
for the moment. [Read full article

*Call for action to keep governance in the Post-2015 agenda. *According to
TA/I’s Vanessa Herringshaw, there’s a realistic threat that governance will
be taken off the post-2015 development
She calls on the Open Government community to take the responsibility to
ensure governance stays on the table and at the heart of the agenda. [Read
full article here]

*The 5th Conference of States Parties (COSP) to the UN Convention against
Corruption (UNCAC)* came to a close last Friday after a week of
discussions. A clash between countries about NGO participation went on all
week behind the scenes and then went public in the plenary on the closing
day. A small group of countries is still opposing the proposal to make UN
anti-corruption meetings open to NGO observers. Read UNCAC Coalition’s
press release here<http://hivos.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6d259217ba4516316461a9498&id=3288cb65d7&e=bc2a75180f>

*Job opportunities. *The Open Knowledge Foundation and Development
Initiatives are looking for an Open Data Toolkit
support users of open data related to international development.
Preference is given to candidates within three time zones of UTC. The
deadline for applications is 11 December.


Mapping social network activity around ‘opengov’
Some more post-summit reflections
GPSA launches second call for proposals
Report on the Right to Information published in


   - Incoming Steering Committee member Alejandro Gonzalez: ‘Leading for
   - Incoming Steering Committee member Veronica Cretu: ‘We need new ways
   of thinking’<http://hivos.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6d259217ba4516316461a9498&id=cdd74b7bf4&e=bc2a75180f>
   - ‘Improving the OGP experience’ now also available in

     Upcoming Events & Webinars  *3-5 December:* OGP civil society meetings
to prepare for National Action Plan. Albania and Kosovo (Paul Maassen will
participate in these events)         *Follow OGP on
* | *<http://hivos.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=6d259217ba4516316461a9498&id=80b545e4fd&e=bc2a75180f>*Follow
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2013 Hivos
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