- Published: 25.07.2018.
5th Global Open Government Partnership Summit held
The 5th Global Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit was held in Tbilisi, Georgia from 17-19 July 2018. The Summit was opened by Sanjay Pradhan, CEO of the OGP, who, referring to the reports by Freedom House and Civicus, said that democracy, human rights and civic space are nowadays under an unprecedented attack, and that the trust in government is at the all-time low, as measured by the Edelman Trust Barometer. "A toxic wave of xenophobia, nationalist populism and authoritarianism is sweeping the world. We face similar challenges in OGP, even after Hungary, Tanzania and Turkey have exited, a Azerbaijan has been made inactive. Despite these challenges, OGP represents a hopeful path forward because across several OGP countries, committed reformers are opening government to citizens in areas where they are closing elsewhere. At this Summit, when our partnership nears one hundred national and local governments and thousands of civil society organizations, we have the opportunity and imperative to show an alternative - a brighter, more hopeful path for the world. A path that puts citizens first - at the heart of government, that empowers citizens to shape policies that impact their lives“, he highlighted.
The Summit gathered delegates from 78 countries from around the world, including 20 local governments, thousands of civil society representatives and a large number of high officials from EU Member States and the countries of the region.
The representatives of the Office for NGOs, as the OGP Point of Contact, participated in the meetings of the Steering Committee at operative and ministerial level, and in the Point of Contact Conference, where they presented their practice, and participated in the discussion on the Transparency of funding programmes and projects implemented by civil society organisations – Measure 5 of the draft Action Plan for the Implementation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative in the Republic of Croatia for the period 2018 - 2020. Together with the colleagues from Romania, Slovakia and Estonia, they also participated in the particularly well-attended workshop "Engaging Citizens in Law-Making" workshop, where they presented the experiences related to the “e-Savjetovanja” (e-Consultations) system.
One day prior to the Global Summit, the Parliament of Georgia hosted the Open Parliament Day, attended by more than 200 delegates from 24 countries and 12 Parliaments. Croatian representatives at the Open Parliament Day were the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the National Group to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Saša Đujić and the member of the Executive Committee, Ljubica Maksimčuk, Secretary of the Delegation of the Croatian Parliament to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Milovan Petković, as well as Nataša Novaković and Aleksandra Jozić-Ileković from the Conflict of Interest Commission. The participants of the Open Parliament Day discussed key issues related to parliamentary openness, including parliamentary reform and innovative technologies. Georgian Parliament Speaker, Mr Irakli Kobakhidze opened the conference and underlined the importance of parliamentary openness for democratic development, noting the achievements of Georgia in establishing open parliament principles. The participants discussed legislative transparency and accountability, as well as public involvement in the Parliamentary activity, and representatives of various parliaments spoke about their national experiences, successes and challenges.
Within the framework of the Plenary, open parliament related issues were discussed, such as Global Anti-Corruption, the Role of Multilateral Institutions in Supporting Open Governance Reforms, Open Data, Public Services Innovations, initiating and elaborating Participatory Budgeting and other. Georgian President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, Georgian Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze, Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, prime ministers and presidents of other participating countries attended the plenary session.
Through numerous workshops and discussions, the Summit also discussed the issues such as advancing budget transparency for development, publishing and re-using open data, open government innovations, citizen participation and others. In addition, the newest members who have joined the Partnership - Ecuador, Senegal, Morocco, Portugal and Kyrgyz Republic – have been confirmed, and for the first time the members from the local level and/or autonomous communities - Nariño (Colombia), Iași (Romania), Kaduna State (Nigeria), South Cotabato (The Philippines) and Basque Country (Spain).
Since Georgian chairmanship of the OGP ended after the Tbilisi Summit, Canada is preparing to assume chairmanship of the OGP Steering Committee. The Government of Canada has made further commitments to advance initiatives to strengthen inclusion, feminism, and participation in OGP countries. The 6th Global Summit, to be held in Canada in 2019, was also announced. The Steering Committee also unanimously confirmed Argentina as the OGP's Co-chair, starting from 1 October 2018. Argentina will push for initiatives focused on civic participation, transparency, gender and inclusion.
The Summit was also used to present the publication "The Skeptic's Guide to Open Government", available at: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/resources/skeptics-guide-open-government. The Guide provides answers to questions such as why opening governments matters; what benefits this process may bring to citizens and governments alike; how involvement of citizens leads to better public services; and similar important issues.