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Monday, July 29, 2013

OGP urges aspirants to greater ambition

As we await news from the Attorney General on how Australia intends to approach the task of preparing a national action plan to present as part of its application to join the Open Government Partnership, probably at a meeting in March 2014, the message from the recent Steering Committee meeting in London is that the focus in such plans needs to move beyond ‘business as usual’ commitments to more ambitious action plans and civil society engagement.

The meeting endorsed a sub-committee report that the second round of national action plans (that includes us) "should clearly demonstrate how commitments are advancing open government in scope and/or in time frame. Governments should also move beyond traditional civil society consultation models, towards on going meaningful dialogue on policy commitments and implementation of action plans."

The minutes of the meeting are here Jul2013SC_MeetingMinutes_Final.pdf
Apart from important matters concerning governance and finances, other items of interest include:
  • conversations are underway with four multilateral partners (OECD, World Bank, IDB and UNDP) concerning areas of potential collaboration.
  • and somewhere out there is a newly formed OGP Media Council."The Council, which is comprised of high profile journalists from all regions will provide expert guidance on how OGP can better partner with the media to promote our shared objective of more open and accessible government. To inform a white paper that the Media Council will produce, Richard (Sambrook former Director of Global News for BBC) is collecting input from more than 200 journalists and media leaders from around the world.The Media Council will present some initial recommendations to OGP in late July or early August and will organize a session at the October Summit to discuss the white paper."
Wonder whether any Australian journalists and media leaders feature in the 200? 

Australia's intention to join the OGP has hardly rated a mention in the mainstream so far, so any stirring interest would be welcome.

Australia's Right to Know, the coalition of major media organisations, impressively led the backlash over excessive secrecy in 2007-2008 but has rarely surfaced since. The last posted entry on its website is October 2009 and the contact person listed left in 2012 to work for the Leader of the Opposition.

Update: Toby McIntosh has this fuller summary of the Steering Committee minutes.

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