Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Open Alliance Partners have been asked to acquaint themselves with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) process, especially with understanding what OGP is all about and the idea behind its formation and the processes.
This was the essence of the training that took place At Visa Carina Hotel, Port Harcourt, Rivers State on the 8th of October, 2018, was to ascertain what States need to join OGP.
According to information made available by the Program Director of Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR), Igwe Chidi, the governor of a State will have to write to the 4 co-chairs, the letter will be be signed by the state governor and the commitments of the state.
Afterwords, it will designate someone in the rank of commissioner who becoms the focal person for OGP. It is noteworthy that the state must meet a minimum standard to join OGP. On receipt of the letter, the OGP secretariat will write back to the state and do preliminary visitation to the state, hold meeting with CSOs in the state and speak with government officials on what their roles will be before drafting a State Action Plan.
OGP is a global coalition of reformers from governments, CSOs and other partners working together to make government more open, transparent, accountable and participatory.
The process is a voluntary, domestically driven initiative where countries and states relying on goals they set for themselves based on international standards of good practice. The OGP is in its 7th year of operation, having started in 2011 with about 80 countries already signed on. The multilateral/Development Donor Partners includes, UNDP, World Bank Group (WBG), Asian development Bank, OSIWA and McArthur Foundation.
A government must exhibit a demonstrable commitment on open government in four key areas namely which are; Fiscal Transparency, Access To Information, Public Disclosure of Assets and Citizens Engagement.
It would be recalled that Nigeria became eligible to join OGP in 2014 and eventually joined in 2016, and established a 42 member National Steering Committee made up of 21 members from the government and 21 from the civil soceity and private sector.
The importance of CSOs in achieving OGP cannot be overemphasized because OGP is founded on the principle of partnerships between government and CSO, hence the government needs to consult with CSOs, ensure partnership between government and CSOs must be able to engage with public officials to design, implement and evaluate such reforms and the co-creation is at the heart of Open Government