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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NZ sits on OGP as a "low priority" while members soldier on

An application under the Official Information Act via FYI for documents concerning New Zealand consideration of the case for joining the Open Government Partnership has produced this Foreign Ministry briefing note from February 2012.

 Like the brief from Attorney General's in Canberra in May 2012, it cited no arguments against joining, suggesting it was a matter of weighing the cost against the likely criticism for not signing up that would likely follow such a decision. Two recommendations were redacted, so the document isn't quite the full story but the note to the minister recommended that membership should be an overall low priority with a ministerial submission on joining to follow once scope, costs and the risks of membership were understood. As this is the only information held by the ministry, presumably that's where things stand 10 months later.

Meanwhile the minutes of the OGP Steering Committee meeting in London earlier this month refer to the adoption of a Multilateral Partnership Framework that will seek to leverage the capacity of multilateral bodies to support OGP eligibility and action plan implementation - something Australia and NZ wearing various multilateral hats will encounter in those fora; and a decision to expand the Independent Expert Panel by two to ensure greater regional balance – for example, by including Senior Advisors from Asia and Latin America; and a range of pressing financial, resource and other issues that Indonesia and those in the vanguard are facing. 

On additional IEP members, the Criteria and Standards sub-committee will issue an open call for nominations specifically for Senior Advisors from Asia and Latin America, and they will also ask current IEP members for recommendations, as well as draw on any relevant candidates from the last round of nominations

You would like to think an Aussie might fit the Asia bill, given Australia in the Asian Century and all that, but alas I'm dreaming.....

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