This year, Open Government Week has focused on “increasing the number and diversity of partners taking part in events and conversations”. Countries, citizens, governments and civil society all over the world are taking part, running online and offline events and sharing the work they have been doing to promote open government. There have been webinars, panels, art, rallies, debates, & so much more, including ‘Open Government and Open Data Family Feud’ in Canada and a Public Debate conducted by Deaf Participants in Sri Lanka, with subjects ranging from budget literacy to investigative journalism to gender equality.
Demsoc, through the Open Government Network for Europe (OGNfE), is also committed to growing the number of individuals and organisations interested in open government and improving the quality and effectiveness of conversations being had.
The core principles of the Open Government Network for Europe are:
- Bringing together guides and practitioners.
- Creating open safe spaces for discussion.
- Encouraging peer learning, joining and federating ideas and initiatives
- Starting in Brussels but expanding, creating a centrally facilitated community owned and driven by members.
- Creating a neutral space for honest and open conversations.
This year, the OGNfE is focused on helping European Union institutions, particularly the Commission, to become more formally involved with the Open Government Partnership, and to advocate for open government principles. The OGNfE is hoping to open up the European institutions, increasing transparency, accountability and participation; to connect actors in Brussels and beyond together for eventual co-creation of an action plan for open government work in the European Institutions, and to support continuous work on democracy and open government.
We hope by encouraging the conversation open government in EU institutions, that EU citizens will benefit. By displaying the benefits of all aspects of open government, for both the institutions and their citizens, to even the most adamant of sceptics, we can increase transparency and accountability at EU level – as well as hopefully sparking the development of open policymaking, open data commitments, and other projects. This should in turn increase the number of number and diversity of partners, citizens and organisations involved with open government programmes within the EU. Not only does open policymaking rely on citizen engagement, but if the EU institutions lead from the front and encourage a move towards these practices, nation, regional and local government can follow.
Alongside working directly with European Union institutions, the OGNfE will cultivate a network of citizens, governments and especially civil society organisations, allowing members to link and extend their open government initiatives, to create new projects using the network as a platform, and to move towards a common agenda for the development of open government and citizen participation across Europe. This will be achieved though events such as town halls with political leaders, thematic fireside chats, peer learning opportunities, networking events and in-depth technical workshops, as well as online spaces and dialogues, support and connections.
If you want to get involved in the Open Government Network for Europe, or find out more about the work we are doing you can contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our website here or find us on twitter @opengoveurope.