â€œTransparency is the vaccine against corruptionâ€?
Open Government Partnership Annual Summit 2013
Genuine actions, honesty, engagement, responsiveness, practices,
creativity, commitment, learning, participation, accountability, love, care, integrity, technology, openness, free flow, dialogue and governance. â€œOGP is all about transparency and participation.â€? Do things for passion instead of for process...
Contents How much do you know? Politics and the world
Francis Maude on reformers David Cameron on transparency A two way platform What do the leaders think? A truly global partnership? Media: Friend or Adversary?
Produced by the Burning2Learn Media Team: Alan Dean, Philip Koenig, Maria Peters & Matthew Walsham
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Burning2Learn believe that a real understanding of how the world is structured will help young people greatly as they step into it. This publication has been put together to enhance young people’s understanding of what it takes to work effectively with people in their own community.
If somebody asked you the name of the current Prime Minister of Britain - you’d say David Cameron, right? If they then asked, ‘Where does he live?’ - you would say 10 Downing Street, wouldn’t you? What about if somebody asked you what a coalition government is – would you know how to respond? Or, ‘Do you know what the MDGs are and when they were set?’
It probably won’t surprise you to know that, although a person’s voting eligibility begins when they become 18, the government is relentlessly trying to boost the number of young people who actually do vote. Hardly any 18 year olds do. Why is that? Do you know anything about politics? Are you bothered by what goes on in the world that you live in?
‘When history comes to be written, let us make sure that this generation was not found wanted.’ - David Cameron Admittedly, politics is sometimes seen by young people to be a stuffy jargon infested bore. But it doesn’t have to be! It can actually be quite interesting. When Burning2Learn attended the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Annual Summit in London this week, we proved it. We were interested in finding ways to get more young people taking an interest in the world that they are, one day, going to inherit. The OGP is an international diverse summit that brings together representatives and leaders from countries worldwide. In just two years the group has grown from eight to 62 different
countries becoming members. The group was born in the fight against corruption and is developing methods for making government data more open to the public. Now, we’re not particularly phased by which political party you support - maybe you don’t know which stands for what you believe in? Either way, we’re more interested in developing your understanding of the government’s framework - that’s, Britain’s and the world’s. You’re constantly being told that there’s a whole wide world out - and there is! It’s teeming with languages, travel, academia and discovery: all of which rely on politics, in one way or another.
This summit wasn’t like a typical class that might send you nodding off at the back - it was real. The great thing was the extraordinary caliber of people that attended. Those faces you see on the news, the world leaders, the negotiators and the reporters were all there in a room overflowing with delegates. And I was one of them! It was refreshing to feel the sense of togetherness in transparency that emerged from every presentation and conversation. David Cameron himself supported this view, as did the other world leaders that attended the event.
Use transparency with reformers all over the world Minister for the cabinet office, Rt. Hon. Francis Maude, kicked the summit off by introducing the Open Government Partnership’s two day event. The purpose of the annual summit is to ‘showcase to the world the power of open government’. Of course, the idea of transparency requires a great deal of trust from the people in their governments, and vice versa; so by its very premise open government was never going to be universally welcomed straight away. However, there are world leaders all over our planet who have chosen to support this partnership; and 62 countries in two years is a very encouraging stance to get the ball rolling from!
Maude briefly outlined the group’s intentions to ‘Use transparency with reformers all over’ the world to build civil society and propel innovation. As he addressed the delegates of the summit, Maude made them aware that transparency takes government out of its comfort zone: ‘It is not a feel good accessory: it’s tough and rigorous’. ‘Each of the 62 stands in a different place; and not as a competition, but as a partnership.’ He also made a point of emphasising that ‘Governments aren’t Monolithic: the reformers road can be a lonely one - with
How will OGP impact your community? many hazards along the way.’ Though he presented many potential obstacles that the partnership may come to face, as Maude welcomed UK Prime Minister David Cameron to the lectern, he left us with this thought: ‘There is no force in the world that can stop an idea whose time has come’
‘History isn’t written for us, it is written by us.’ The thing about introducing new ways of thinking, new projects and new ideas - in an environment - is that there is a difference between intention and action. All products, services and ideas begin with very real intentions – the art is in the following through so that they are actually executed. Regarding the OGP, who could be more suited to talk about putting plans into real actions than the man who ensured Britain was at the heart of the partnership since its foundation? Prime Minister David Cameron joined us at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre to do just that! Mr Cameron began by suggesting how he believes this partnership
will work on a grassroots level. It was encouraging to hear his balanced approach on how to ensure long term success within society, as he believes:
(Read more about these four steps on page 11)
‘Long term success is when it is overseen by all; where governments are the servants of the people, not the masters’. Although some people have argued that OGP is just an easy ‘add on’ with no relevance, Mr Cameron confidently expressed that he sees only one question facing the partnership: ‘What shall we do with it?’ As such, in his address the Prime Minister put forward ‘four big things’ that he thinks we need to do.
Tanzania’s government is on the other side of the world and yet Britain is partnered with them. Similarly, Great Britain is linking with countries and towns and people from across the globe every day through OGP. Is that not a reason to feel hopeful of success? The word is out, the message is strong and the people involved will make it happen. They are doing it as a passion instead of doing it as a process - and that’s something that makes all the difference. What more could a two year old programme need? Dr Jakaya Kikwete, President of Tanzania, illustrated the importance of effective community
participation through one of Tanzania’s own OGP projects. Lapor is a technological programme that enables a two way platform between the Indonesian community and it’s political leaders. The President smiled as Rakesh Rajani shared the story of a time when a community were in need of two new bridges; the existing ones had been destroyed in the 2004 Tsunami. A man living locally sent a message via Lapor that asked for help. Weeks later, the President was giving thanks and praise to the people that had made the bridges happen when he was interrupted. The same young man
insisted, ‘The bridges have not been built – we still need them’. The President was shocked to hear this as he had been directly informed that they had been built. He went down to the site at once and was astounded to see that the boy was right, there were no new bridges. This true story reinforced the need for a ‘Two way technology platform where citizens can put forward any problems and officials can respond’. A platform that ensures that the right messages are being sent!
Would a tool like this work in your community?
‘Innovation and out of the box activity to enhance community participation’ 8
A two way platform Bright Spot!
President Kikwete himself believes that community participation is an integral part of the programme: ‘To us, open government is not just about technology but about effective public participation.’
‘We see OGP as an innovative movement that is powered by real action… We hope to share our experiences with other members. We believe that openness is specifically about improving and enhancing effectiveness and people’s voice in decision making. And we hope that OGP can contribute to the success of the global development agenda; it can provide insights on how to strengthen governments.’
Indonesian OGP youth project, Lapor, is a two way platform between government and civilians that reinforces the Tanzanian President’s views. Lapor has been recognised as one of the Bright spot finalists (an OGP programme to develop new projects at a grassroots level).
- President Kikwete
If you were amongst a crowd of people at a conference and you didn’t know or recognise any of the other people in the room – how could you be sure that you weren’t sitting next to the President of Tanzania? Do you know his name? Do you know what he looks like?
What do the leaders think? President of Mexico ‘I have great enthusiasm. It is a government imperative that cannot be delayed... Acknowledging civil society as an ally... I commit myself to open democracy.’
President of United Republic of Tanzania ‘Transparency, openness and
accountability are crucial. When the government is open the people know what is going on and the government has the urge to deliver.’
‘The level of confidence that people have in government is very low; giving up won’t help and what OGP does is show that you will succeed better by listening to people.’
‘For me, to know exactly what is going on is key- you may have a plan but it won’t work if you don’t know what is going on - we in government are for the people. OGP is about getting things done for people.’
‘We also have a chance to be more rooted and play the role. Good ideas come often from outside of government.”’ The partnership are thrilled to welcome three new members: New Zeland, Ireland and Mongolia (right to left).
Can you think of three things that will make OGP successful? Or three things that will stand in its way...
Prime Minister, UK 1) ‘We’ve got to get out there and really make the argument for open government: When people say that pushing this agenda is an alternative to aid - we’ve got to do both. As the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) come to be replaced I believe that open government should be at the heart. 2) ‘Translate words into deeds: We’ve got to deliver! You can’t do open institution without doing property rights too. It’s only when
people know that their wealth won’t be taken away by corrupt officials that they will go out and create that wealth in the first place. People are going to have clear rights.’ 3) ‘In developed countries we’ve got to practise what we preach show it at home too: You can now map the crime on your streets, the names and roles of senior civil servants, pay of officials, hospitals efficiency - we need to know who owns and controls our companies - not just who owns them legally but who actually benefits. Illegality is bad for the developing world, but
it’s bad for Britain’s economy too through untraceable trails of paper work. To keep corporate taxes low you’ve got to keep taxes coming in so we must shine a spotlight on who’s got what and what’s coming in!’ 4) ‘Support for the groups that promote and support the transparency.’
“Open government is a roller coaster ride but the pay offs are immeasurable... In just two years we’ve achieved a remarkable amount... ‘Over 1000 commitments’ are impressive headlines.”
A truly global partnership? Do women have a disadvantage to men when it comes to receiving information via technology? Empowering women and girls: OGP has great importance of delivery and there are current projects underway that have been designed to increase awareness and availability of information to women. It was put forward at the summit that women are less likely to have access to a mobile phone than men are. Do you think this is true? Why?
It’s not something that’s ‘nice to have’ - it’s absolutely essential. Secretary of State, Justine Greening, is launching a development tracker programme that allows citizens to see what governments are doing and how the projects are running. ‘You’ll be able to sign up so that when new info comes on you get an alert.”’ So this is a service that could appeal to any industry - everybody needs access to it! Is information power? Do we need to be sure that it is shared equally?
Are hashtags the way forward? Having a data revolution: It was also suggested that we governments can improve the data that people get on a global scale using the ‘hashtag’. “We cans start tracking progress better, increasing progress and service deliver and governance. The role of civil society in the next framework is a real crucial thing to see.” “Theres no doubt that transparency is one of these core building blocks that is part of the development.”
- Justine Greening
OGP is a group of people that believe the 2015 framework should retain a goal of openness and where common values should be at the heart of the new framework to make a truly global partnership.
‘The right for information is not very useful if you’re not with the space to execute it.’ “It is everyone’s right to freedom to recover and impart information.” Minister Kuturo Mangkusubrotoas, Indonesia conveyed the importance of sharing on a global scale: every nation has their own objectives and limitations so that’s why it is very important to share what has and hasn’t been successful. He then continued by presenting his One Map initiative that was designed to ensure good governance and effective institutions. One map is published and everybody in the country can give their comments. This is a phenomenally powerful tool to get a countrywide overview of people’s requests, needs and opinions: ‘It’s the ‘Ground truthing of the map’.
“There are many steps... but the most important is that we have a platform to share experience.”
Dignity matters The reason this agenda matters is because people care about being taken seriously, about respect, about being heard. They want to participate in the process of their own development and this can help us bring sharper results and money well spent. Rakesh Rajani put forward his views that OGP emphasises the importance of people. Rakesh believes that people have ideas and the government, however smart it is, does not have a monopoly of ideas: “It’s about putting minds together and seeing
what works... Citizens can also tell the truth in what happens more accurately”. We can make all the best plans but how do we know the delivery is happening? Rakesh suggested that we need ‘Good, solid, rigorous data through independent means’. He spoke about talking to third parties, to get accurate results and used an example of when his country randomly selected 20 houses on every street to asses children’s academia levels from. ‘7/10 children are not able to read at the level they are supposed to, or do basic sums at their level, and 9/10 couldn’t read out English... So we tripled our input into education.’ (Rakesh Rajani on Tanzania)
Media: Friends or Adversaries? ‘I know that the press are no angels, if I was a politician I would hate them: trying to tap into phones and do all kinds of unsavory thing - but it’s a price worth paying because the gains it brings are much more beneficial than to not have them at all.’ Rakesh Rajani
Terrorist’s secret weapon?
Scandal or factual?
If the result of open government is just absolutely relentless use of data which the government has voluntary released, surely they will end up becoming even more closed than they usually are?
Do you care more about Miley Cyrus’ latest music video than the Prime Minister sticking to his 2010 manifesto? Would you rather watch Celebrity Big Brother or the latest news bulletin?
Francis Maude warned that we should, “Never underestimate how far out of the comport zone it is for all governments to do this - it’s tough and brave to do.” More and more information is now available by governments, but how far in the public interest do the revelations of whistle blowers go?
We all disagree when the media invade people’s privacy and ambush their personal lives to get the latest scoop of turmoil - but have you ever thought about why they do it? Think about it, how many hours do you spend online in the average week? Is it because of us that the media do not seem interested in OGP?
The reveallers say, “The public has the right to know”. Yet government argue that it is unsafe: “No journalist can possibly know what is useful to a terrorist and what is not”.
“We asked them to accompany us and they said, ‘voluntary information released from the government is not attractive to us, it’s not interesting’.” - Jacqueline Perchard
Four things media can do Of course, Media face their own difficulties too which is why Prof. James T Hamilton, Stanford University, suggested four things that the media can do: - Articulate how government could help release info that would help journalism - Develop better skills in data journalism - Be more transparent them selves; you have more credibility - Put open government on the agenda Hamilton further pointed out that President Obama called for transparency in his very first address.
The right to information is much greater than the press: like when somebody in a village wants to know what medicine is available in her clinic. That’s what’s important, the every day forms of accessing information. They actually take the burden off government to do everything all the time on their own.
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Open Government Partnership (OGP) is the only way forward. More young people will have to start think about those around them and support th...