Exactly a month ago, the Global Legislative Openness Conference “Building Citizen Trust through Openness and Engagement” took place in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine. The event was hosted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and organized by the Legislative Openness Working Group of the Open Government Partnership and Open Parliament Initiative in Ukraine.
Open Government Institute was represented by Veronica Cretu, who participated along with leading legislators, government officials, and civil society representatives in order to discuss ways legislative openness can strengthen public trust in representative institutions and build a responsive, 21st century legislature. In addition, the conference explored how parliaments can best leverage the Open Government Partnership’s new legislative engagement policy to develop and implement legislative openness plans and commitments.
Why Ukraine can do it?!
by Veronica Cretu, member of the Open Government Partnership steering committee
I live few hundreds kilometers away from Kiev, Ukraine and this country is indeed close to my heart from different perspectives and various reasons! It is always a great pleasure to take the drive from Chisinau all the way to Kiev and enjoy the beauty of this country. However, the aim of this post is not about this …
While not everyone on this Planet knows that Ukraine is at war, that Russia has annexed the Crimean peninsula and is conducting military operations in the Eastern part of the country, fewer probably know that this war has taken, as per UN data, the lives of more than 10000 people of this country. But again, the post is not about all these.
It is about how a country at war managed to stand up several times, wipe all the tears away, leave the frustrations behind, proudly look into its future and continue working on its ambitious reforms, including the ones aiming at bringing more transparency, accountability, innovation into the lives of the Ukrainian people.
Ukraine, like Moldova, joined the Open Government Partnership back in 2011. There have been a lot of changes and political ‘turbulence’ taking place in the Ukrainian Government since then, but Ukraine managed to keep up with its commitments around Open Government Agenda. And there are a number of reasons for that:
- In the times of crisis, people either continue struggling and being divided; or they can become more united, stronger and use their power to create more, rebuild what was destroyed and stay together against any potential challenges or threats;
- Success is driven by people who have vision;
- Success is driven by consensus building, by “building bridges”, by negotiation, by bringing together those who are mandated with a specific agenda, as well as those who care, have the expertise, have the desire to move things forward. And this is not because they are expecting recognition, or fame, but simply because things they do as part of their professional life is something they have at heart;
- Partnerships between different organizations help consolidate, capacitate, motivate, and bring innovation into the play; helps build sustainable initiatives that in the end benefit the lives of the millions in the country.
Ukrainian Government, together with its civil society partners, among which Transparency International Ukraine, managed to review recently the degree to which Ukraine’s Open Government related commitments were implemented -http://ti-ukraine.org/en/news/monitoryng-deklaraciy/media/6187.html
It is overwhelming to learn that OGP related initiatives are being recognizes by the Ukrainian Government as “one of the most clear, open, and democratic mechanisms for interaction between governmental structures and civil society in Ukraine”. It is impressive to learn that among the commitments already implemented as part of the most recent National Action Plan (2014-2015) are, among many:
- The development of a web portal for income, asset, and expenditure declarations of public officials has been started;
- Amendments to the law of Ukraine On Citizens’ Appeals, the mechanism of electronic petitions has been implemented;
- Change of procedures for interactions between the government and civil society;
- Compliance with EITI.
In addition to the above, it is important to mention that back in May 2016, in London, the World Procurement Awards (WPA) has distinguished Ukrainian e-procurement system Prozorro with its Public Sector Award. It was for the first time when the Ukrainian-developed technical innovation for public sector has received worldwide recognition.
And this is not the only successful experience of Ukraine when it comes to the Open Government Agenda:
A very big decision was made by the Ukrainian Parliament back in 2015, passing the law “On the access to the archives of repressive organs of the communist and totalitarian regime of 1917-1991.” Thus, all documents relating to repression and human rights violations will be transferred to the state archive of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. Anyone who wishes to access them will be able to do so, including Russian historians. For us, in Moldova, achieving something like this is almost impossible now and in the near future.
When looking into the National Action Plan – it was for the first time that government documents included a section entitled „partners”. This is an example of something that can gradually change the old paradigms and approaches when it comes to collaboration among government and civil society.
During my meetings back in March 2016, in Kiev, I learned from my colleagues in civil society about the six ongoing thematic working groups that have been established with co-heads from civil society and the government. And they might not be the perfect working groups, and they migth face some challenges when it comes to operations, resources, coordination – still, establishing these groups and the interest to accomplish specific tasks via these groups is already a succes.
A lot is still to come ahead for Ukraine and a lot of work to still be done. And even if for many years now, Ukraine’s government failed to implement effective reforms aimed to curb corruption in the country, and it was permanently receiving low scores in the key international corruption-related indexes, such as TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the Global Integrity Index, and the World Bank’s and World Economic Forum’s indicators, there is still hope …
Hope for a more open, transparent, citizen-friendly Government in Ukraine. Hope that regardless of the military war and an ongoing hybrid war with Russia, the Government will be able to face all the challenges, continue working hard on implementing more ambitious reforms, innovate and build trust! Citizens of Ukraine, need more than ever, a Government that is stable, able to resist any political turbulence (again, caused by the war), able to be accountable and responsible for its actions, able to serve its citizens and value the potential of the human capital it has …
Congratulations to the Government of Ukraine for participatory approaches when it comes to the elaboration of the new Action Plan on Open Government! Natalia Oksha (OGP Coordination Council Secretary and Deputy Director of the Department for Information and Public Relations at Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), together with her colleagues from civil society (TI in particular, with Olesya Arkhypska) and international community of partners and donors (among which UNDP – with Olena Ursu, Diana Zubko and Maksym Klyuchar behind; USAID, others) have managed to organize a co-creative process around the new plan. I remember fondly March 21st, 2016, in Kiev, during which IRM report was presented. It was then when everyone could share his/her thoughts about what’s next for Ukraine in the new Action Plan. The results of these processes are ought to be successful in long run!
And this was just a new beginning of new processes around good governance, citizen-engagement, accountability and transparency!
These are the best tools ever against any war!
Because Ukraine can do it!!!
The group will act as a Coordination Mechanism of the Open Government Partnership for Moldova, being involved at all stages of co-creation, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of the National Action Plan on Open Government years 2016-2017.
The coordinating body will bring representatives of public, private sectors, civil society representatives, academia, individual experts, etc. It will have regular face-to-face meetings, as well as will interact online on a regular basis. The future Working Group will bring up to 7 representatives committed to the principles of openness, transparency, citizen engagement and accountability, who are going to be selected through an open call process by e-Government Center and Open Government Institute, the two founding institutions of the Working Group.
The responsibilities of the members of the Working Group include but are not limited to:
- Perform the national governance role for the Open Government initiative in the context of co-creation of NAPOG 2016-2017 and play an active role in the process by chairing meetings, organizing consultative events, raising awareness among the community at large, and mobilize participation of all relevant partners, etc
- Represent the concerns and interests of both the Government and civil society in the National Action Plan on Open Government related processes as well as to identify and flag any challenges that might occur during the implementation process providing guidance and expertise;
- Engage strategically at the national level, exercising good judgement and engaging effectively with senior government officials and civil society representatives;
- Make the results of all meetings public/available online;
- Prepare and share updates on the processes in Moldova with the OGP community;
- Be part of current OGP working groups;
- Work closely with the IRM researcher during the evaluation of 2016-2017 NAP.
The composition of the Working Group will be renewed after the completion of all 2016-2017 National Action Plan processes. While those interested are expected to send in their expressions of interest, the first working meeting of the group is planned for January 10, 2016. Members of the WG will act on voluntary basis and are expected to contribute up to 3 hrs weekly.
Guvernul Republicii Moldova a aderat la Parteneriatul pentru Guvernare Deschisă în anul 2012, implementînd de atunci două planuri de acţiuni având la bază inițiative ce țin de transparență, date deschise, şi participare civică. În anul 2016, Guvernul Republicii Moldova are responsabilitatea, în calitatea sa de membru a acestei inițiative globale, să elaboreze și să prezinte al treilea Plan de acţiuni pentru o perioadă de doi ani (2016-2017). Orice Plan Național de Acțiuni pentru o Guvernare Deschisă trebuie să fie co-creat împreună cu societatea civilă şi alţi actori interesaţi/relevanți precum mediul de afaceri, academic, cetăţeni etc.
În acest context, Centrul de Guvernare Electronică împreună cu Institutul pentru o Guvernare Deschisă lansează un apel deschis către organizaţiile societăţii civile, precum și către reprezentanții din sectorul privat, experți independenți, etc. de a face parte din “Grupul de lucru pentru o Guvernare Deschisă”, care va avea rolul de mecanism de coordonare a agendei de guvernare deschisă, membrii acestuia fiind implicați la toate etapele de co-creare, implementare, monitorizare şi evaluare a celui de-al treilea plan de acţiuni.
Responsabilităţile membrilor acestui grup:
– Organizarea, inclusiv moderarea/facilitarea ședințelor de co-creare și a celor consultative cu actorii cheie în contextul elaborării Planului Național de Acţiuni pentru 2016-2017.
– Diseminarea, prin diverse surse media, a informației despre inițiativa dată, pentru a sensibiliza opinia publică despre importanța acestui Plan precum și rolul contribuțiilor din partea comunității pentru Plan;
– Reprezentarea intereselor atât ale Guvernului cît și ale societății civile în Planul Național de Acțiuni pentru o Guverare Deschisă, precum și identificarea provocărilor care ar putea apărea în procesul de implementare, oferind suport și expertiză;
– Documentarea practicilor implementate și împărtășirea rezultatelor cu comunitatea implicată în aceste procese;
– Cooperarea strînsă cu evaluatorul independent IRM în perioada analizei rezultatelor implementării Planului Naţional de Acţiuni pentru 2016-2017;
– Participarea activă la lucrările acestui grup atît online cît și offline.
Organizaţiile şi persoanele care sunt interesate să facă parte din acest grup pot aplica prin completarea acestui formular pînă la data de 30 decembrie.
Grupul va fi format din şapte membri (persoane fizice şi juridice). Selectarea candidaţilor va fi efectuată de către Centrul de Guvernare Electronică și Institutul pentru o Guvernare Deschisă.
Prima ședință a grupului de lucru este preconizată la 10 ianuarie 2016.
By Veronica Cretu, Open Government Institute Moldova and member of the Civil Society Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP)
On September 29th, a group of Moldovan civil society organizations, government representatives, and World Bank colleagues (including some remotely from Washington DC) joined in an event organized by the Open Government Institute, in partnership with World Bank and E-Government Center to discuss Moldova Government- Civil Society collaboration in the context of Open Government Agenda.
The need for such discussions were anchored in a number of reasons:
- When it comes to the open government agenda the involvement of both Government and civil society had decreased as Moldova moved from its 1st to 2nd Action Plan on Open Government.
- A National Participation Council, which is a civil society –government consultative body established by the Government back in 2010, ended its 2012-2014 mandate a year ago and its mandate has never been renewed. More than that, when a call for a “new” Participation Council was launched earlier this year, only 13 NGOs have applied, while for a full mandate the Council needs 30 members. In 2012, a working group on Open Government was established within the Council particularly with the mandate to participate in the elaboration, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Open Government Action Plans. Once the formal mandate of the Council expired, the activity of the working group on Open Government has formally stopped as well. Informally, work around Open Government Action Plan implementation has been done by the Open Government Institute. This raises the question of the continuity of both the efforts put in place and of the sustainability of the cooperation between the government and civil society around open government;
- For some reason, the concept of “open government” is often interpreted as “e-government” by representatives of both CSOs and Government, thus, leaving the responsibility for open government to institutions dealing specifically with e-government agenda and not seeing the broader perspectives related to open government and its cross-sector relevancy.
The purpose of the discussions on Tuesday taking place exactly a month before the OGP Summit in Mexico was to provide space for both Government and CSOs representatives to reflect on the ways collaboration around the open government agenda between the two could be improved, based on the lessons learned and some documented practices among Open Government Partnership member countries.
Among the speakers were Ion Gumene (Senior State Advisor to the Prime Minister), Gheorghe Caraseni (Independent Reporting Mechanism Researcher for Moldova Action Plan on Open Government for 2014), and Livia Turcanu (Product Platform Consultant with E-Government Center).
The event was joined remotely by World Bank experts in Washington DC: Kimberly D. Johns (Governance Specialist), Keith McLean (Lead Social Development Specialist), Marcos Mendiburu (Senior Social Development Specialist) and Abhinav Bahn with the Open Government Partnership Support Unit.
Given that Moldova had three Governments in place in less than a year, the dialogue with civil society got interrupted and reconnected again by a new Government. Each Government made certain promises, and when a promise is not fulfilled this leads to even more frustration and lack of trust. The event allowed participants to speak up and share their reflections on what they thought about government-civil society collaboration, both as part of Open Government Agenda and beyond it.
Given the importance of learning from each experience, particularly given that in OGP itself there is a very valuable peer-learning and support component, the following are the key take away from the discussions:
On the national processes related to Gov-CSOs collaboration:
- It is extremely important to have permanent dialogue mechanisms, and regardless of changes in the government those mechanisms should be in place – this would allow civil society organizations to continue interacting with the Government without having to interrupt their activities or affect the quality of the initiatives they are implementing;
- Engagement opportunities for civil society organizations should be open for all interested organizations. It is important to avoid leading to classifications and categorizations related to someone being a representative of “formal” civil society and “informal” civil society organizations. This leads to Government favoring ones over the others, and this is indeed affecting the quality of both feedback and engagement with the Government;
- National Participation Council – a two year term civil society collaboration platform should go through an evaluation, preferably an external one, so that the results allow to understand how efficient this platform has been and how it can be further improved should it be re-launched again;
- Culture for participation among CSOs and the broader citizenry is still at an Inception phase in Moldova. CSOs are more playing the role of social entrepreneurs (providing services, delivering capacity building, doing research and studies, evaluations, others) and have no time for engagement around other issues. However, where engagement was constructive, those practices have to be analyzed and replicated. For example, sector related working groups were mentioned as being very productive – in which CSOs work hand in hand with a specific Ministry around policy issues, initiatives, etc. If that model proves to be most sustainable and constructive why not replicate it and use it?!
- Independent Reporting Mechanism and the reports generated by independent evaluators should serve as a basis for discussions around both nature of the commitments and the engagement mechanisms or the processes behind …
- Both CSOs and Government representatives should be encouraged to take advantage of the webinars and the OGP Working Groups, and thus, connect to the global discussions around open government related issues.
On the Government-civil society collaboration around the Open Government Agenda
- It is important to find the right incentives for bringing more CSOs voices into the open government related agenda. And this can be done through identifying the right set of problems which might be addressed with the help of open government related tools – experience shows that as long as the issues addressed are of low relevance for CSOs they are reluctant to engage. So open government should be seen as a platform that can generate specific solutions to the problems be it nationally or locally;
- The Government needs to have real champions who are the promoters of ambitious public sector reforms, who are not afraid to embrace open government related principles into their daily activities and who know how to build effective dialogue platforms with their civil society partners;
- Engagement of CSOs in the open government related processes nationally should be opened to as many CSOs as possible. Using clear language, linking open government mechanisms and principles to the local development agenda is key;
- Learning from the best practices related to Gov-CSOs collaboration platforms existent in the OGP member countries through exploring on the existent research and doing some analyses of what might work in the context of our country is really valuable;
On the role of international development partners:
CSOs representatives often mention lack of resources for being able to engage meaningfully in the monitoring processes related to National Action Plans implementation. And while there are quite a number of international development partners in the country, very few are having the open government agenda/initiatives among their key priorities (World Bank is an exception in this regards). More than that, recently, International Organizations such as UNDP, or Soros, others have started to apply for the funding available for Moldovan Civil Society sector along with national CSOs which makes the competition for the last ones really tough.
Which is why, donors’ community should also re-think their position vis-à-vis the funding mechanisms for the national/local CSOs along with embedding open government, open data, citizen-engagement mechanisms, open contracting, fiscal transparency, others in their calls for proposals. Some capacity building sessions on open government, OGP, and other sub-issues might be relevant to be organized together with representatives of donors’ community.
To conclude, the pre-OGP Summit meeting was a great “motive” to:
- Raise awareness of the upcoming OGP Global Summit – something most of the people in the room might have heard for the first time;
- Remind both Governments and CSOs about their OGP membership and commitments made as part of this membership;
- Look into the current status of the collaboration between the Government and CSOs around the Open Government related agenda and not only;
- Analyze the institutionalized dialogue practices/mechanisms existent in the OGP member country and identify ways to improve your own platforms;
- Create one more opportunity for Government and CSOs to meet and address the processes and contents of the national open government agendas;
- Reflect on the results of the Independent Reporting Mechanism and plan for the future.
Hoping that Moldovan experience could indeed inspire other OGP member countries to organize local debates around open government related issues prior to the Summit, because if it is not now – then when?! And if it is not you – then who could organize something similar?!
For questions related to national pre-OGP Summit events, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Government Institute in collaboration with the World Bank and e-Government Center organizes a working meeting dedicated to “Collaboration between Government and Civil Society in the context of the Open Government Agenda” on September 29th, from 16:30-18:30, within the premises of the World Bank Moldova office.
This event comes a month ahead of the 3rd Global Summit of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to take place in Mexico – http://ogpsummit.org/ – event which expects to gather thousands of Government and Civil Society representatives from the 65 member countries of the Partnership.
Republic of Moldova is a member of OGP since 2011 and as part of its commitment as an OGP member country it has elaborated and implemented two national action plans on open government.
Given that one of the key pillars in OGP is the collaboration between the Government and Civil Society, the event on the 29th looks at addressing the following 2 aspects:
- Analyze ways Government and Civil Society could collaborate around the Open Government Agenda in the future – from co-creation of the Action Plans to implementation, monitoring and evaluation;
- Discuss about collaboration platforms already put in place by other OGP member countries and look at aspects which could be replicated in Moldova.
The event will bring around the table representatives of the Government, Civil Society, international development partners. The event will also be attended by the World Bank PAR team which will be on a working mission in Moldova as part of the future project on “Strengthening Public Sector Management in the Republic of Moldova”.
The Preliminary Agenda includes:
|16:30-17:00||Introduction of participants and scope of the event. Brief intro on the OGP and ways other OGP member countries established collaboration mechanisms as part of Open Government Agenda – by Veronica Cretu, head of Open Government Institute, member of the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership.|
|17:00 – 17:30||Collaboration between the Government and Civil Society around Moldova’s 1&2nd Action Plans on Open Government- reflections from Ion Gumene, Senior State Advisor to the Prime Minister of Moldova and Livia Turcanu, Product Platform Consultant with E-Government CenterQ&A|
|17:30 – 18:00||Independent Reporting Mechanism of the OGP and results of the collaboration between the Government and Civil Society in the context of the elaboration and implementation of the 2nd National Action Plan on Open Government through the lens of the independent evaluator – by Gheorghe Caraseni, and contributions from Livia Turcanu, Product Platform Consultant with E-Government CenterQ&A|
|18:00 – 18:30||Group discussions and reflections around the main issues addressed and identification of ways to ensure an efficient collaboration between the Government and Civil Society around Open Government Agenda for the years 2015-2017 and beyond.|
Given that these discussions are going to serve as a basis for setting a future collaboration platform, they will also be shared with moderators of relevant sessions during the Summit in Mexico and thus, Moldova will contribute to the exchange of knowledge and practices around deepening and broadening the engagement of civil society in the Open Government Agenda.
As the meeting venue has a limited space for participants, we strongly encourage those interested to register by September 25th using the Registration Form below: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_Rckcg7SXGeOdtx90k4VjvoZhHz-uA7beKzZulm-y20/viewform
For any questions, feel free to contact Veronica Crețu at email@example.com
The event will take place within the premises of the World Bank Office Moldova, on Str. Pușkin 20/1.
Thank you for your interest!
Invitație la evenimentul
“Colaborarea dintre Guvern și Societatea civilă în contextul agendei pentru o Guvernare Deschisă”
Institutul pentru o Guvernare Deschisă în parteneriat cu Banca Mondială și Centrul de Guvernare Electronică organizează în data de 29 Septembrie 2015, orele 16:30-18:30, ședință de lucru cu genericul “Colaborarea dintre Guvern și Societatea civilă în contextul agendei pentru o Guvernare Deschisă”.
Acest eveniment are loc cu o lună înaintea Summit-ului Global al Parteneriatului pentru Guvernare Deschisă din Mexic – http://ogpsummit.org/ – eveniment la care sunt așteptați reprezentanți ai guvernelor, societății civile din cele 65 țări membre ale Parteneriatului.
Republica Moldova face parte din Parteneriatul pentru Guvernare Deschisă (Open Government Partnership – OGP) din 2011 http://www.opengovpartnership.org/country/moldova, și a implementat pînă la moment două planuri de acțiuni ca parte a acestei platforme.
Deoarece unul din principiile cheie ale Parteneriatului este colaborarea dintre Guvern și Societatea Civilă, evenimentul își propune să:
- Analizeze modalități de colaborare pe viitor dintre Guvern și Societatea Civilă – de la co-creare/co-design a planului de acțiuni pentru o Guvernare Deschisă, la implementare, monitorizare și evaluare;
- Discute despre platforme de colaborare și practici de succes înregistrate la nivel de țări membre ale Parteneriatului pentru Guvernare Deschisă și practici aplicabile în contextul Republicii Moldova.
În cadrul evenimentului vor participa reprezentanți ai societății civile, Guvernului, parteneri de dezvoltare.
La eveniment vor participa și reprezentanți ai Băncii Mondiale de la Washington, care se vor afla în misiune de lucru în Republica Moldova în contextul definitivării conceptului pentru un proiect de viitor ce ține de consolidarea managementului sectorului public.
Agenda preliminară include următoarele aspecte:
|16:30-17:00||Prezentarea participanților, scopului evenimentului.Scurte date despre Parteneriatul pentru Guvernare Deschisă și modalități de colaborare dintre Guverne și Societate Civilă la nivel de Parteneriat – Veronica Crețu, Președinte, Institutul pentru o Guvernare Deschisă. Membră a comitetului director al Parteneriatului pentru Guvernare Deschisă.|
|17:00 – 17:30||Colaborarea dintre Guvern și Societate Civilă pe dimensiunea Planurilor 1 &2 de Acțiuni pentru o Guvernare Deschisă – reflecții, lecții învățate, Ion Gumene, Consilier Principal de Stat al Primului Ministru și Livia Țurcanu, Consultant Platforme și Produse, Centrul de Guvernare Electronică Întrebări/Răspunsuri|
|17:30 – 18:00||Mecanismul Independent de Raportare (IRM) și rezultatele colaborării dintre Guvern și Societate Civilă în contextul Planului 2 de Acțiuni pentru o Guvernare Deschisă prin prisma expertului independent – Gheorghe Caraseni, evaluator indepedent IRM și Livia Țurcanu, Consultant Platforme și Produse, Centrul de Guvernare Electronică.Întrebări/Răspunsuri|
|18:00 – 18:30||Discuții, reflecții pe marginea celor discutate și identificarea unor modalități eficiente de colaborare dintre Guvern și Societatea Civilă pe dimensiunea Guvernare Deschisă pentru anii 2015-2017.|
Pe lîngă faptul că rezultatele discuțiilor vor servi drept bază pentru planificarea acțiunilor de viitor, ele vor fi, de-asemenea, împărtășite cu moderatorii sesiunilor dedicate subiectului colaborare dintre Guvern și Societate Civilă din cadrul Summit-ului din Mexic. Astfel, contribuind și la schimbul de practici, provocări, soluții în cadrul Parteneriatului pentru Guvernare Deschisă.
Așa cum numărul de locuri la eveniment este limitat, cei interesați de eveniment sunt încurajați să completeze un scurt formular de participare pînă la data de 25 Septembrie 2015 care poate fi accesat aici: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1_Rckcg7SXGeOdtx90k4VjvoZhHz-uA7beKzZulm-y20/viewform
În cazul în care aveți întrebări, nu ezitați să contactați Veronica Crețu, la firstname.lastname@example.org
Evenimentul va avea loc în sediul Băncii Mondiale de la Chișinău, din strada Pușkin 20/1.
Vă mulțumim pentru implicare!
Last month, at the beginning of April 2015, Open Government Institute Moldova in close partnership with E-Governance Academy Estonia and E-Government Center Moldova organized a working workshop for public servants and civil society representatives in Chişinău focusing on “Citizen engagement in decision making processes”. The event is one of the commitments which Moldovan Government together with Civil Society “co-committed” to implement as part of Moldova’s Second Action Plan on Open Government, under Moldova’s membership in the Open Government Partnership (OGP).
Both days were attended by more than 90 representatives of the public sector, civil society organizations and independent experts, and provided a platform for learning and sharing practical mechanisms and tools for citizen engagement, including from Estonian experience, and ways inclusion of civic groups and individual citizens in governance can be achieved.
The event also presented the first draft of the “Citizen Engagement in Decision Making processes” guide – an online interactive guide, that comes to support the Government of Moldova in increasing the transparency in the decision-making, in general and provides a set of tools and templates for the civil servants in implementing the Law on transparency in decision-making, in particular.
Context/the need for such a guide:
The Moldovan Law on transparency of the decision-making contains principles and procedures to be followed in the daily work of public authorities and contributes to improving the quality of the decisions drafted and approved, accountability of authorities to citizens, and to increasing the support of citizens for the policies approved and actions undertaken. The Government Decision for the implementation of the Law provides more detailed and practical information for citizen engagement. However, the Decision is not exhaustive and it does not contain sufficient specific guidance for civil servants during consultation process. Thus, the Citizen Engagement website covers existing methodological gaps, by providing all necessary instruments for conducting public information and consultation throughout all stages of decision-making set in existing legislation. It lists the most important Government and civil society institutions, specifies responsibilities for concerned civil servants, reviews legislation and develops tools and templates, as well as provides guidelines used by other governments and organisations.
In line with the above, the given platform is an active, live platform/document, aimed at providing support to Central Public Authorities representatives in Moldova on ways to implement citizen-engagement practices in Moldova, through following the legal provisions adopted by the Government of Moldova during the past years, in regards to Transparency in decision making, Access to information, Open data, Open government, etc.
The main idea behind this platform is to serve as a regular information point for coordinators, heads of author subdivisions, responsible officers, etc. on ways, practices, mechanisms to implement the provisions related to citizen-engagement. The platform makes references to the legal provisions, as well as provides, where available, different templates, samples of documents, which might save a lot of time (especially when staff responsible for these processes are either new to the processes or very junior).
It is a google sites platform, easy to use and can be updated at any time by any central or local public authority in the future (once the guide is complete).
Key take away based on the discussions and reflections during the event:
– Capacity building around issues related to open government, citizen engagement, social accountability are a must for an OGP member country that lacks the ‘history’ and background of participatory democracy, citizen engagement. It is also important that such capacity building clarify the key differences between emerging concepts and notions such as open government and e-government, etc.;
– Engaging central public authorities, such as State Chancellery is a crucial factor in ensuring sustainability of the capacity building efforts as well as of ensuring that practical toolkits and guides are going to be further implemented by Central Public Authorities;
– Events around the issues of open government have to bring together government representatives, CSOs, both at national and local levels, in order to create platforms for dialogue, reciprocal learning and sharing and exchange of possible solutions;
– Such events have to also bring representatives of different sectors, thus, anchoring the discussions around sector specific solutions related to citizen engagement in decision making processes;
– Any emerging sector/area of development requires human resources capable to address it constructively, innovatively, comprehensively, holistically;
– Following up with everyone attending the event, and continuing the discussions via a mailing list (thus, we have created an online community of open government/citizen engagement practitioners).
Note: The workshop on April 7-8, 2015 is part of the ‘Introduction of the principles of open governance in the inclusion of citizens in the decision-making process in Moldova’ project, which is being implemented by e-Governance Academy Estonia, supported by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs within the framework of development cooperation.
Knowledge is increasingly short-lived. If you do not make use of your knowledge then it rapidly loses its value. That is why sharing knowledge is a synergistic process: and both, the one who shares and the one who learns from this process get a lot out of this experience.
A week ago, Open Government Institute was the host of a study visit/tour for a delegation from Tajikistan (President’s Office) – the purpose of the study being sharing the knowledge Moldova has gained throughout the past years on issues related to Open Data, Open Government, E-Government based on the reforms initiated by the Government, and initiatives which Moldova joined along with other countries during the past years among which Open Government Partnership (OGP), Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA), others.
As the Government of Tajikistan aims to develop a more transparent, accountable, and cost-effective government through the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) it looks at Moldova’s experiences given that:
– Moldovan experiences are still very young/’fresh’ and there is still a good institutional memory that can be transferred to those interested to learn from it;
– Moldova uses the most modern technologies and approaches;
– There are some common problems/similarities Moldova shares with Tajikistan which are crucial in the learning process, which is a little bit different if we take countries like Estonia, Singapore, others.
Additionally, Moldova is considered to be one of the champion countries in the region which managed in a very short time to implement a series of ambitious projects and initiatives related to the issues mentioned above: e-government, open government, open data.
Moldova had a series of success factors which positioned the country where it stands today and I am referring to:
– strong political will/commitment to endorse an ambitious/an unknown and yet, promising agenda;
– it managed to capitalize on the experience and knowledge existent already globally and to explore it for its own benefits, through strategic partnerships/connections/influential people at the global level;
– it managed to get the funds it needed in order to start the implementation of e-Governance transformation agenda (i.e. World Bank funds, State Funds, PPPs, other donors).
So, from the at least, above success factors, Moldova is still attractive to many countries in the region, particularly those from the former Soviet block and the experiences are worth sharing.
The visit started with an Introductory Workshop organized by the Open Government Institute experts, that of focusing on what is behind ‘open government’, why should we care, what is the value of open government for citizens, what does Open Government Partnership provide in this regards, challenges of open government, etc. The Workshop also provided members of the delegation to hear the story of governance e-transformation initiative – an ambitious agenda implemented by the e-Government Center in Moldova.Next visit was with the e-Government Center – which is the core driver of innovations, e-transformations, e-services, e-opportunities and e-government in the country. The meeting was very productive and allowed members of the delegation to understand the key challenges, critical factors, success stories already registered, ways public services work online, several technical details, legal aspects, others.
Second day continued with Open Data Coordinators who shared from their practical experience in implementing the Open Data Agenda, which is just one small core component but a very important one, of the entire e-governance transformation agenda. Delegates shared and asked questions, and the value of the meeting was in the fact that Open Data Coordinators present during the meeting among whom from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, National Bureau of Statistics are considered to be among the champion coordinators.
As the visit continued, members of the delegation met representatives of the Ministry of ICT, and had the opportunity to get more insights into the Public Sector Information Re-use legal framework, its practical implementation methods, challenges. Additionally, the meeting touched upon the Universal Service Fund, Digital Moldova 2020, and other strategic priorities which the Government is working on in 2015.
As one talks about Open Data, public sector information re-use, we can not avoid speaking about Personal Data Protection, which is why members of the delegation met the young and competent team of the National Center for Personal Data Protection. The meeting addressed several aspects of personal data: legal aspects, practical examples/cases, Conventions Ratified by Moldova and others. For Tajikistan, personal data protection will become an issue once open data will start to be released.
An indispensable part of the Open Data agenda are the users and developers, those who really put data into action. During the study tour, members of the delegation had the opportunity to interact with developers of www.alerte.md from MediaPoint- and it turned out that Tajikistan has a similar application for Dushanbe city which has been institutionalized by the municipal authorities. Additionally, a valuable meeting was held with Trimetrica who have illustrated ways geo-spatial data is being put into maps and used for different purposes including research, agriculture, local development, etc. Expert Grup, is another institution that started using open data from the educational sector and build school report cards based on the data available. In long run, this process should start continuing to influence and improve the quality of the educational outcomes.
Meeting with the World Bank in Moldova has been another valuable experience given that it has exposed members of the delegation to those who have initiated the entire governance e-transformation agenda, know the story from the inside, know what generated the story, what have been the critical elements of it, what to look at, what to reflect more on …
National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology provided members of the delegation with updates on the regulatory processes, the changes that are occurring in the telecommunications sector at the moment, legal framework, others.
Of course, we could not miss a meeting with representatives of the mobile operators – those who are witnessing on a daily basis the increase or decrease or tendencies among the users in terms of the e-services, platforms, what’s popular among them and what is not. Thus, Moldcell provided its perspective on the situation and on the ways it engages with e-Government Center and other players in this ambitious e-agenda.
All in all, a week of learning and sharing does not stop here …
Open Government Institute will be in Dushanbe, early March, to conduct some demo-workshops and capacity building activities for representatives of the public sector on issues related to open government, e-government, open data. So, for Tajikistan is to be continued …
And indeed, in order to bring the vision that governments should become more transparent, more accountable and more responsive to their citizens one needs to be exposed to those who are already doing it in practice. And not necessarily in the ideal or perfect way, no … shift in norms and culture to ensure genuine dialogue and collaboration between governments and civil society does not happen overnight, but at least countries like Moldova have tried and know what is behind this shift. Sharing with the others is an additional value in itself, and only through learning and dialogue we can achieve in both OGP and non-OGP member countries more aspirations towards citizen-engagement, transparency, participation; it is more likely that there will be more reformers in government identified and encouraged to continue the change … improving the lives of thousands and millions across the globe!!!
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.