National Pre-OGP annual Summit events as a way to bring more local voice into the upcoming Summit in Mexico

One of the most important events of the year that is going to take place under the auspices of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) is the upcoming annual Summit in Mexico in October 2015. OGP is gaining more momentum with its regional meetings and is being promoted by more Heads of State as a valuable platform for leveraging national initiatives around transparency, the rule of law, open data or citizen engagement.

However it is also very important for us in OGP to ensure that the voices of key stakeholders in our 65 member countries are being heard – that they also have a say in the global, open government agenda. One of the ways to do that is to encourage various stakeholders to come together before the summit, meet in their respective countries and share the challenges they face in implementing open government principles, look into the good practices around the world when it comes to transparency, citizen engagement, open data, Freedom of Information, civil space, or any other and identify solutions or proposals that might be valuable for others in OGP as well.

In line with the above, countries are encouraged to join the informal “national Pre-Summit events initiative” by hosting discussions on important open government related issues prior to the Summit in Mexico.  These country level events can indeed provide an opportunity to participants from OGP participating countries to contribute to the discussions that will take place during the biannual Summit, especially to those who are not going to be there in person. More specifically, national pre-events could bring more “local perspectives” into the issues addressed during the Summit, as well as more inclusiveness and dialogue.

Key take away from these country discussions will be capitalized as part of country event reports and shared with the moderators of different workshops/sessions, as well as with members of the OGP Steering Committee. The idea is to encourage organizers and moderators, experts and panelists ground their presentations and interventions on the realities in our OGP member countries.

What do you need for this? An active person or organization willing to organize these discussions at the country level – someone who has OGP at heart and who understands that OGP is all about people and that people’s voice matters regardless of whether it is a Global Summit or a country event.

Just to share an example: we, at the Open Government Institute in Moldova, will organize an event in late September and will make sure that issues we are currently facing in terms of implementing the open government agenda in Moldova are going to be heard both by our government and also be addressed during the Global Summit.

The more events of this type we are going to have in OGP, the more local voices we are going to bring to the Summit this year. Join us! Let’s make it happen!!!

For those interested in hosting a national pre-event, there is a proposed methodology which can serve as a resource in designing your own events. It can be found at the annex to this post. Additionally, feel free to contact Veronica Cretu at veronicacretu@gmail.com for any questions.

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons.

 

Annex: National Pre-OGP Annual Summit Framework/Proposed approach

What is a national pre-event in the context of OGP Annual Summit?

It is an ‘evocation’ or ‘anticipation’ national event for the Annual OGP Summit;
It is an in-country event organized in an OGP member country;
It can last from 3 hrs. to a full day dedicated to Open Government issues;
It can bring together around 35-40 participants;
It is organized 3-4 weeks prior to the OGP Annual Summit;
It brings together different stakeholders involved or interested in the Open Government Agenda at country level (civil society, government, academia, private sector, youth, others);
It discusses themes introduced at the Annual Summit from the local perspective;
It contributes to more  awareness about Open Government related issues, fosters networking among different stakeholders involved in Open Government Agenda at country level, comes with opinions, recommendations or specific questions on certain Summit related issues/workshops;
The results of national pre-events are shared with Summit organizers, and input from these events is addressed during the Summit’s meetings or working sessions;
The results are made public via the OGP platform (reports/feedback via social media or video materials produced as a result of these meetings);

Why organize a national pre-event in the context of the OGP Annual Summit?

It provides participants in OGP member countries with opportunities to learn more about the Summit and issues that are going to be addressed during the Summit;
It provides participants in OGP member countries with opportunities to share their opinions, questions, and specific recommendations;
It brings more visibility to in-country efforts around Open Government;
It motivates participants in OGP member countries to follow the work of the Summit via the webcast during the Summit dates (should remote participation facilities be available), get answers to their questions, learn from new experiences, and be more prepared for remote participation;
It contributes to building in a ‘culture’ of remote participation and remote contributions to the global debate on Open Government (again, should remote participation facilities be available);

How can you organize a national pre-event?

Identify a leader/focal point/moderator (s) in your country;
Identify potential partners (civil society organizations, Governmental Agencies, development partners);
Identify volunteers who might be interested to provide support in disseminating news about the national pre-event agenda/details, send invitations, collect feedback or input received during the discussions,  video-record interviews with participants, prepare a short video for the OGP Blog, etc.;
Share with OGP Peer Learning and Support Subcommittee about your intention to organize a national pre-event and the preliminary date for it so that your event can be promoted among the 65 OGP countries.

What would a preliminary agenda for a national pre-event event look like?

Time/duration Details
Part 1 (up to 55-60 minutes) – Introductions of the participants, speakers or presenters;
– Brief presentation of the OGP Annual Summit concept, agenda, workshops/sessions and/or main issues to be addressed during the Summit, who will represent the country (if any);
– Presentation of the main in-country progress made on Open Government (Action Plan implementation process, challenges, next steps, etc.)
– Q&A
Part 2 (up to 35-45 minutes) This part can focus on one main issue/topic of most relevance or importance at country level, which is also going to be addressed during the Summit itself – a local expert/s can be invited to share the main challenges faced at local level, current situation in this sector/field, international experiences, etc.
Part 3 (up to 1 hr and more) For this part, participants can be divided in smaller groups (so that to encourage participation of everyone in the discussions). Each group might have a person responsible to taking notes and presenting the result of the work.

– Group 1 – discusses and shares their comments, suggestions, and recommendations based on the issue addressed in Part 2 by the local expert. They can also discuss the next steps at country level in this particular field, their specific Qs to be addressed to the local expert, etc.;
– Group 2 – formulates questions for the OGP Summit moderators/speakers or presenters who will address the same issue/topic during the Summit;
– Group 3 – formulates suggestions/recommendations for their peers in OGP member countries on the same issue/topic.
– All groups present their results;
– Brief Q&A.

Part 4 (Up to 10-15 minutes) Wrap-up: Participants receive all the details related to how to participate remotely during the dates of the Summit (again, should remote participation facilities be available), what sessions they should follow so that they hear some input from international experts on the topic/issue addressed during their national pre-events, and other details.

Note: Moderator/organizer of the national pre-event is encouraged to have all names of the participants collected, and create a Facebook group or mailing list via which to further keep communication going around the OGP Annual Summit 2015.

 

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