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Tuesday, December 04, 2012

'Australian chair' still vacant at OGP London meeting

If someone had followed through on Attorney General Roxon's "let's join" proposal in May, the Australian government would have a presence in London this week for meetings of the Open Government Partnership. 

Not at the big table reserved for steering committee members mind you, or at any of the subcommittee meetings, just at the Peer Exchange meeting for all incoming participating countries. 

Given some of the weighty issues on the agenda that need sorting we might of course bring to the meetings some of that capacity and skill that propelled us onto the UN Security Council. And some of our 30 years experience in the FOI game. But it might take time for our legendary diplomacy to produce results that move us from the 'new boy/girl' seats at the back into a position to contribute and learn from others-and that would be after we get around to deciding to sign up and take action to acquit our membership responsibilities.

Apart from an opportunity to talk to those from governments prepared to lead on open government on the big scene, any Australian representative present in London might have had a chance to chat also if they are there, to Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first female President and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Graca Machel from Mozambique and wife of Nelson Mandela- two of just announced senior advisors of an eight member Independent Expert Panel that will oversee the OGP Independent Reporting Mechanism.
"They will also play a key role in international and regional outreach on IRM report findings and implications. Together with the technical experts they will help ensure that the IRM delivers high quality, credible and independent reports each year on what OGP participating countries are doing to deliver on their commitments."
Meanwhile those who won't be in London or at other meetings but are interested in improving this aspect of democratic practice at home and abroad can follow developments through the excellent reporting by Toby McIntosh from Washington.
 

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