În perioada 19-21 noiembrie 2014, DVV Internațional Moldova în parteneriat cu Ministerul Culturii și Institutul pentru o Guvernare Deschisă a organizat un atelier de inițiere în domeniul “Elaborarea proiectelor inovative în domeniul culturii şi învăţării pe tot parcursul vieţii”. Principalul obiectiv a fost consolidarea capacităților de generare și scriere a proiectelor inovative în domeniul culturii, atelierul mobilizînd participarea a 30 de lucrători din secțiile rationale de cultură și membrii ai ONG-urilor partenere din aceleași raioane. Atelierul a fost moderat de Nicu Crețu, Director de programe și dezvoltare organizațională în cadrul Institutului pentru o Guvernare Deschisă. Evenimentul a finalizat cu schițarea a cinci idei de proiect, cu 5 echipe consolidate și deschise spre a face parteneriate pentru dezvoltarea și implementarea proiectelor.
On November 15, 2014 Open Government Institute was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration to conduct a workshop on Open Government & Transparency in Decision-Making processes for more than 60 representatives of the public sector, many of whom are directly responsible for the implementation of transparency in decision making and citizen engagement as part of the Ministry they work at. Public servants had the opportunity to share details about the implementation of the transparency related processes in ministries or other public authorities.
Veronica Cretu, President of the Open Government Institute, who moderated the workshop, challenged participants to think about a number of issues and encouraged them to share about ways public servants are currently implementing the provisions of the legal framework related to transparency in decision making and citizen engagement.
Veronica also shared with participants the main principles adopted by Moldova once joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and what is OGP all about.
When it comes to practices implemented by the Ministries/Central Public Authorities, the following have been shared:
- Press conferences announcing launching of a decision making process;
- Consultative Groups;
- Thematic councils;
- Debate forums;
- Opinion polls;
- Hot lines;
- Working Groups
Participants added that more work could be done to promote the consultation platform of the State Chancellery www.particip.gov.md. There should be more efforts put in place to strengthen the inter-institutional cooperation between CPAs and CSOs, particularly with the National Participation Council. Participants also mentioned that it is important for CPAs to implement more video promotional materials which would encourage citizens to get more actively engaged in meaningful debate around different issues of their interest.
Among the key difficulties mentioned by participants in terms of practical implementation of the provisions of the existent legal framework on transparency in decision making process the following have been enumerated:
- Resources are always an issue when it comes to organizing round table meetings, debates and other initiatives related to consultations and so realistic estimation of the costs is a challenge indeed;
- Political or high level commitment for transparency and citizen engagement agenda;
- Respecting/following strictly the deadlines for consultations, etc;
- CPAs are not good at utilizing and referring to already existent reports, studies, analyses produced on the issues addressed, and waste time and resources producing new ones;
- Ex-ante evaluation of the public policies is still weak;
- Lack of citizens’ engagement in policy making, in providing feedback and comments;
- Weak engagement of CSOs in decision making processes. Often, there are the same usual ‘suspects’ involved and this does not lead to generating new input into the processes;
- There is a weak understanding of the broader concept of Open Government and lack of a common vision on this issue leads to low engagement of CPAs in the Open Government Agenda.
One of the challenges lies in the fact, as it has been articulated during the event, that the mandate of CPAs is not Communication per ce. Even if the role of the public institutions is policy elaboration and implementation, any public authority has to be able to clearly communicate with its target beneficiaries and get their input. So consultations and citizen engagement is a mandatory part of CPAs agenda, and it is important that this vision is shared across the public sector and all public servants.
November 26, 2014 is a day in which Macedonia organized its first ever National Open Government Partnership Forum. The event was organized by the Center for Research and Policy Making (CRPM) in cooperation with the Ministry of Information Society and Administration in the framework of the “Advocacy for Open Government Partnership” project funded by the European Union and the British Embassy in Skopje.
The Forum brought together international and domestic representatives from civil society, government and business and stir discussion along the following topics:
- National and local level initiatives on OGP – comparative perspectives;
- OGP – an avenue for linking government and the business community through open data;
- Inter-institutional communication and cooperation with CSOs – a value added.
The Forum featured three panels. Veronica Cretu, President of the Open Government Institute Moldova, was invited to present during the third panel focusing on the different frameworks for inter-institutional cooperation. Mrs. Cretu joined remotely and her video intervention can be accessed here:
A note on the project “Advocacy for open government: civil society agenda setting and monitoring of implementation of national action plans” is funded by the EU and coordinated through the PASOS network of policy institutes. It has so far provided baseline study and tracked change of citizens’ perception on OGP in the Western Balkan region; facilitated coalition building between civil society organizations in the seven priority areas of OGP and has fostered public dialogue with Government with an aim for civil society to have greater impact on the policy agenda set with the adoption of the new country action plans for Open Government.
Geneva Internet Platform 2014
During November 17-19, 2014 Geneva hosted an important two days event focusing on Internet Governance issues, probably most important event on Internet Governance of the year 2014. Following ICANN President Fadi Chehadé’s opening speech, more than 250 experts from all stakeholder groups, including some 50 leading figures/authorities and high-ranking officials in Internet governance, participated in this high-profile event, scanning significant pending Internet governance issues. This conference is an illustration of the Geneva Internet Platform’s (GIP) potential as a prominent facilitator and a natural hub for incoming digital negotiations, bringing together all actors, and increasing inclusion with outreach through remote meeting hubs around the world. Geneva Internet Conference agenda started with an introduction to internet governance. For the next day The Internet governance landscape was the main topic for debates. The third day continued with open forum on The complexity of Internet governance: sustaining innovation while ensuring equality, discussing about Internet policy issues.
Veronica Cretu, President of the Open Government Institute and member of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Steering Commitee, took part in the event and shared some thoughts and reflections during the session focusing on “Aim for full transparency – accept exceptional translucency”. The session aimed at bringing different perspectives on transparency issue, and Mrs. Cretu reflected on the issue from the Government stand point of view, particularly departing from the current practices and mechanisms implemented today as part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Mrs. Cretu shared that transparency was one of the principles to which 65 Governments committed as of today, along with fighting corruption, and engaging citizens in policy making. The question is, what levels of transparency should governments commit to in their OGP agenda? Cretu described four key dimensions:
- Data transparency: it is not enough to provide access to data if citizens are unable to interpret the data to influence policy-shaping – this is tantamount to translucency, and not transparency.
- Process transparency: once the data and information is in place, such as open data by default processes, there needs to be proper places for discussions.
- Strategic transparency: before policy decisions are made and formal documents are approved, there should be a mechanism for governments to feel the pulse of stakeholders. There should be a strategic approach to that.
- Transformational transparency: related to social accountability is the need to have a mechanism in place for all stakeholders to be able to monitor and evaluate the quality of the decisions.
If governments are ambitious enough and have these four key dimensions in place, the next step is radical transparency, which Cretu describes as ‘painful’. ‘If openness and transparency means pain, then we go for pain,’ she stressed.
Here is the video part of the session:
Approximately 100 online participants, including 15 remote hubs who watched the meeting online and intervened through in situ remote moderators, attended the first Geneva Internet Conference, organised with the support of the Swiss Confederation. A number of high profile speakers shared their views here over the future of the Internet, highlighting the following facts and challenges:
- Need to advance innovation in Internet governance triggered by NETmundial and advanced by other major events (WSIS +10 and Internet Governance Forum)
- More than 50% of global Internet policy is discussed and decided on in Geneva
- Concerns about surveillance and lack of privacy protection are increasingly growing
- Most of the content on the Internet is still easier to get from illegal rather than legal sources
- The more the Internet impacts all spheres of our life, the more complex and broader Internet governance will become
- There is a need to aggregate the information available on Internet governance to make it more accessible
- Every Internet entity has its own needs
- There is a communication problem between engineers, politicians, or diplomat
Lively discussions roved around the following key questions:
- To map or not to map: the more mapping that we engage in, the more it seems that complication ensues
- Business sector involvement in IG: are they profitable partners or will they hold IG hostage to their needs?
- The double-edged sword of Human Rights: the platform Human Rights so desperately needs can and does create the need for surveillance
- The NETmundial initiative: a new paradigm or more of the same?
- ICANN: monopoly or model of diversity?
Other items under discussion included:
- Issues of conditionality and the relationship between policy positions, actions, and activities and the provision of funds
- Sustainability of investment
- How to use innovative ways of funding
Check more on Geneva Internet Platform
On November 21st, 2014 Open Government Institute, in close partnership with e-Government Center Moldova and with support from Open Data Institute in UK, organized a half a day workshop with 34 open data coordinators/public servants directly responsible for the open data agenda in their respective Ministries/Agencies. The workshop comes as part of a case study work on Moldova Open Data Initiatives carried by the Open Government Institute, and given that data and open data in general is one of the key elements of transparency and decision making/evidence based policy making, the study team decided to look into what are the current challenges that open data initiative faces in Moldova today.
Among the sources of resistance or challenges related to the implementation of the open data agenda in Moldova, participants mentioned the following:
- The regulatory framework is not sufficiently clear
- The definition of open data applied is ambiguous
- Some public authorities do not have clear understanding which data should be open and which should not
- Many public authorities publish data in wrong formats
- Data sets placed on the portal contain texts and aggregated data not row data as required
- Some advanced public authorities have good informational systems that provide reports containing row data, but many public authorities collect data using “old” methods
- The role and responsibilities of open data coordinator is not sufficiently clear
- Some public authorities are hesitant or even resistant to opening their data
- There is a big flow of staff in public authorities and there is no continuity in the function of the open data coordinator
- Public authorities are afraid not to open by mistake data sets that contain sensitive or personal data
- There is no inter-departmental collaboration within institutions in opening data
- More training for civil servants on open data is required
- Quality of data received from public authorities is not good
- The new positions created within CPAs did not have financial coverage
- Many CPAs does not have qualified staff for open data coordinator positions
- Responsible persons have insufficient knowledge about open data
- There is no sufficient verification of the published datasets accuracy
- A systematization and standardization is required for the open government data sets
- It is not clear what data sets are demanded by the users
- There are no companies (private sector) that would add value and sell analytical reports based on open government data
- Not all CPAs have information systems that will allow collecting and publishing of the open data
- The role of the e-Governance Center related to open data is not clearly defined
- It is not clear what data should be published by the CPAs on open data portal and what on its official web page (Comment from eGC: structured & raw data should go to open data portal and documents like strategies, procurement plans etc should be placed on the official web page of the CPA)
- CPAs does not collaborate with each other on open data subject and this leads to duplications
- Open Government Data as a Concept and Open Data Portal are not sufficiently promoted
- Pure interaction between the technical staff and persons responsible for opening data
- There is a necessity to implement an on-line training module related to open government data.
All these details are important, because they are affecting the overall transparency in the decision making processes and will affect the trust Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders have in the Central Public Authorities if the quality of the data is weak.
În septembrie 2014, Institutul pentru o Guvernare Deschisă a desfășurat Programul de formare destinat operatorilor (colectori de date) în cadrul evaluării finale a proiectului „Parteneriatului Global pentru Educaţie”, implementat de către Ministerul Educaţiei.Avem o echipă de educatori foarte buni şi am lucrat productiv împreună în acest program de formare. Sunt pregătiţi din toate punctele de vedere, sunt motivaţi şi sunt sigur că vor face o treabă buna!”, spune Nicu Creţu, expertul în evaluare care a moderat mai multe sesiuni, inclusiv câteva de simulare a intrerviurilor. Citește articolul în întregime pe striripozitive.eu
Proiectul „Parteneriat Global pentru Educație” este o inițiativă a Ministerului Educației al Republicii Moldova ce promovează educația timpurie de calitate pentru toți copiii. Proiectul este considerat succesorul Proiectului „Educație pentru Toți – Inițiativa de Acțiune Rapidă” (EPT-IAR), realizat de Ministerul Educației în două etape, în perioada 2006-2010. Inițiativa actuală este finanțată de Global Partnership for Education. Proiectul este implementat de Ministerul Educaţiei şi este gestionat de către Oficiul Băncii Mondiale în Moldova. Activitățile din cadrul acestui proiect sunt coordinate de Reprezentanță UNICEF în Republica Moldova şi sunt realizate în parteneriat cu Administrațiile Publice Locale (APL). Institutul pentru o Guvernare Deschisă a avut importanta misiune a evalua impactul acestui proiect asupra tuturor actorilor cheie. Principalii actori fiind copii de vîrstă preșcolară, părinții copiilor, educatorii, directorii grădinițelor și funcționari APL. Raportul detaliat va fi disponibil pe pagina web opengov.si.md, între timp puteți vizualiza un scurt metraj realizat de agenția Urma Ta, despre contextul și impactul acestui proiect.
“In an ideal scenario OGP member countries won’t be talking about separate action plans
on Open Government in 5 to 10 years. Open Government principles and values should become part of the regular way of doing business.”
– Veronica Cretu
The imperative of individual government departments having a good understanding of open governance (OG) principles if OGP objectives and action plans are to be realized, has been a vital lesson learnt for those involved in the OGP in Moldova, says Veronica Cretu, incoming OGP civil society Steering Committee (SC) member.
Cretu has been actively involved in educating and advocating for individual Moldovan government departments to understand exactly what open governance is, and how such principles speak to their sectoral departmental agendas, “towards ultimately infusing OG into everything they do.”
Lack of capacity
Moldova’s first OGP action plan faced challenges due to a lack of understanding of the principles of OG within government agencies and a concomitant lack of capacity to implement the national action plan in a way that meets the principles of transparency, citizen engagement, openness and accountability.
“We found that people in government did not have an understanding of open government, so we need to build government capacity on this issue – what it is; how you plan activities that speak to and infuse open government principles into action; and how to ensure deliverables result in participation and transparency,” she says.
In the process of developing Moldova’s first action plan, a capacity building (CB) element was lacking. The decision to pilot a more sectoral and inter- sectoral approach for the second action plan process seeks to build capacity within different sectors of government towards accountability, transparency and a more citizen-centred approach to governance.
In working towards a new agenda for the next two years, CB sessions were held with chiefs of key departments of the Ministry of Education. It was a pilot exercise in which “the department was tasked to think through their individual departmental priorities from an OG values perspective”. Cretu says the lack of practical ‘how to’ tools to elaborate or identify specific commitments based on the values of transparency, accountability and citizen engagement makes this task a challenging one.
Role of Civil Society Organisations
Civil society organisations working on issues of transparency, citizen engagement and accountability in Moldova have niche areas of expertise on the very issues with which government departments are struggling. Cretu sees civil society playing a central capacity building and collaboration role towards creating a qualitative and consolidated approach to open government in Moldova.
“It is challenging for civil society to play the role of both partner and watchdog in these processes. We need to learn how to balance the two,” says Cretu.
As in other country contexts, Cretu identifies the need to broaden and deepen CS engagement with open government-related processes, especially outside capital cities. She also identifies the need for tools to ensure the voices of grassroots organisations are heard.
Improving processes: a second chance
Cretu says the second action plan has been approached more holistically and both government and CS have made inputs. Each Ministry was tasked to provide “one good open government-related commitment,” but the pilot exercise was not as effective as envisaged.
The Civil Society Working Group on E-Government/ Open Government, part of the National Participation Council, the driving force for OG in Moldova, has identified a range of OG commitments requiring endorsement in the second action plan. A request in writing to this end has been made to the Prime- Minister, State Chancellery and E-Government Centre.
Public consultations for the second plan are intended once key stakeholders agree on a draft plan, says Cretu: “We are not yet at the stage of the action plan being co-created by key stakeholders. At present, the process is dominated by the agendas of each stakeholder.”
She emphasises the need for a second plan ‘owned’ by both the Moldovan government and civil society. “Civil society has to be part of the process, not just watching it,” she says. She notes however that many CSOs at present lack the resources and capacity to support and fully engage with OG-related work.
M&E and being ‘SMART’
Reflecting on other lessons from the first round, and how they are informing the second action plan process, Cretu notes that: “Commitments towards deliverables in the first plan were not SMART. There was no M&E component for tracking achievements and challenges. The second action plan needs to include M&E, including how and who will conduct M&E. This is essential if we want to institutionalize an OG methodology within the public sector and civil society.”
Ensuring sustainability of open government agenda
In order to ensure sustainability, Cretu argues that “civil society should be driving national Open Government platforms that bring together key stakeholders including Government, private sector, media, education and youth players.”
Going forward, she believes that embedding OG values through the education system could be a valuable entry-point. “Incorporating citizen participation,
public participation, in decision making; and participatory democracy in school curricula could contribute to building an OG culture in our societies. Educating citizens on how to keep governments accountable and how to contribute to the well-being of communities they are part of is crucial.”
Cretu’s vision for the OGP is that “ideally, OGP member countries won’t be talking about separate action plans on open government in five to ten years’ time. “OG principles and values should become part of the regular way of doing business; consultations with citizens should be part of developing sectoral action plans. Local development strategies should be based on citizens’ needs, while OG principles should be at the core of all initiatives implemented by governments,” she says.
“Rethinking the way we do our business, becoming more open, inclusive and accountable to those we serve, being pragmatic in exploring the full potential of technology and innovation, and at the same time balancing situations where not everyone is online, is important.” Cretu concludes: “We need new ways of thinking. We need more open and critical thinking.”
By: Sarita Ranchod,
Source: The OGP Civil Society Hub