Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief and Development

Open Government Partnership

Published: 02:07 PM 23-05-2017 Updated: 10:06 AM 12-06-2017
 
 
   
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OGP Civil Society Workshop organized by IWA in April 2017

Open Government Partnership and Afghanistan’s membership

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder international initiative that seeks to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. OGP provides an international forum for dialogue, sharing ideas and experience among governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector. OGP stakeholders include participating governments as well as civil society and private sector entities that support the principles and mission of OGP. At the international level, OGP is overseen by a Steering Committee including representatives of governments and civil society organizations.

The Open Government Partnership formally launched on September 20, 2011, when the 8 founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States) endorsed the Open Government Declaration, and announced their country action plans. Since 2011, OGP has welcomed the commitment of 67 additional governments to join the Partnership.

In order to become a member state of OGP, there are four basic eligibility criteria i.e. fiscal transparency, citizen participation, access to information, and asset registration of public officials.

In total, 75 OGP participating countries and 15 subnational governments have made over 2,500 commitments to make their governments more open and accountable.

Learn more, visit: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/about/about-ogp

Open Government Partnership (OGP)

ARTICLE

The challenging road to transparency and accountability

Partnership, Civil Society, Accountability, Governance

 

Afghanistan Membership

At the OGP Global Summit 2016 in Paris on 9th December 2016, the NUG representative at the conference announced its membership to the OPG. The Government of Afghanistan (GoA), as an eligible country, submitted its letter of intent to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in December 2016, and committed to promoting the core values of the program: citizen participation, transparency, accountability and finally innovation and technology. As a country that still ranks low in international index on transparency and anti-corruption, the challenge is considerable, and the GoA will have to prove its ability implement the open government agenda, by developing country action plans through a multi stakeholder process, with the active engagement of citizens and civil society, and making concrete commitments that raise Afghanistan’s current standards. Failure to do so, with clear breach of OGP core values, would mean losing the OGP membership.

The Administrative Office of the President (AOP) will be the focal point of the OGP and host a secretariat which role will be to lead the implementation of the OGP, whilst remaining independent and receiving direction and guidance from the OGP Multi-Stakeholder Group (see below).


Civil Society

Echoing Civil Society’s call at the Brussels Conference for more accountability and transparency, the OGP is an opportunity for Civil Society to get a seat at the table and be involved with critical open government reforms. The role of Civil Society is to build a diverse coalition of civil society actors that will provide inputs to the government on establishing an effective consultation process and action plan, set up an ongoing, and permanent mechanism for civil society involvement in the OGP and independently monitor the progress of the OGP in Afghanistan. 

According to Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA)[1], the OGP is strong global mechanism for support and protection of civil society, free media and citizen participation at national level. It is the responsibility of Civil Society to hold the government accountable and ensure that the OGP does not limit itself to simple gesture, but is actually implemented.

Under the leadership of IWA, Civil Society has conducted awareness raising sessions and workshop in the Kabul, and will pursue their engagement with civil society organizations throughout the country. An OGP multi-stakeholder Forum will be established, gathering all relevant stakeholders (e.g. citizens, civil society organizations, government departments, parliament, academics and private sector) to develop the National Action Plan.

What is the National Action Plan ?

OGP requires all its participating countries to “commit to developing their country action plans through a multi stakeholder process, with the active engagement of citizens and civil society.” Civil society participation is considered a cornerstone of the OGP process. This is a deliberate requirement since participation of all stakeholders, especially civil society’s active participation, is key to ensuring that government reforms work in a sustainable way.[2]

According to Ahmadullah Mauj, Integrity Watch’s representative at the OGP Global Summit 2016, “The next step following formal membership to OGP is draft of a National Action Plan (NAP) through a participatory mechanism between the relevant government agencies and civil society organizations.” A NAP is prepared for two years. After the mutual approval of the NAP, the government starts the implementation and the civil society monitors its implementation and member states share their NAPs to the OGP secretariat for follow up and technical assistance.

OGP Afghanistan will then establish the following working groups with Civil Society

  1. Fiscal Openness Working Group
  2. Legislative Openness Working Group
  3. Anti-Corruption Working Group
  4. Open Data Working Group
  5. Natural Resources Working Group

Key resources

 

[1] https://iwaweb.org/integrity-watch-afghanistan-welcomes-the-national-unity-government-membership-to-open-government-partnership/

[2] https://iwaweb.org/open-government-partnership-next-steps-for-the-afghan-government-and-civil-society/