Open government, engaged citizens: a learn-and-show initiative to make open government partnership work, Balkans OGP dialogue 2015, 10-11 September 2015, Tirana, Albania

Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international platform for domestic
reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable and
responsive to citizens. Since its launch in 2011, OGP has grown from 8
countries to 65 participating countries. What is unique to OGP is that it
brings together engagement and action from governments and civil society alike.

have shown a willingness to adopt the OGP principles and deliver on OGP commitments
on openness, inclusiveness and accountability towards their citizens. On the
other hand, there is an undeniable role for civil society, acting as a powerful
engine fueling the process and in some cases as the driving force pushing their
governments to take responsibility for open government.

event comes at an important time for the countries of the Western Balkans.
Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro joined the OGP in December 2012, whilst
Serbia joined in April 2013. All four signatory countries are currently
preparing and/or implementing their National Action Plans 2014- 2016. In June
2014, Kosovo made a commitment to join the OGP, and in September 2014 Bosnia and
Herzegovina became the latest signatory country of the OGP.

Balkans OGP Dialogue will present an excellent opportunity for the Open
Government movement in the Western Balkans countries and beyond. The main
objective will be to launch a Forum where participants will reflect on
effective initiatives to further open government and on challenges and
obstacles to open government, and how to overcome them. Participants will
return home inspired and equipped to pursue an even more ambitious OGP agenda.

the activity will aim to foster inclusive, accountable and transparent
governance and policymaking through enhanced civil society expertise and
strengthened dialogue between civil society and governments within the
framework of the OGP. Participants will share experiences from their respective
countries of how openness can improve public services, drive economic growth,
reduce poverty and corruption, and restore public faith in government. Finally,
the activity will place Regional Cooperation centre-stage as a key priority.
The regional approach will serve to highlight good practices and successful
initiatives, address the challenges faced, and establish regional support and
peer-exchange mechanisms.


Balkans OGP Dialogue agenda will be designed to encourage participants to learn
from others about effective efforts to strengthen open government and on the obstacles
to open government, and how to overcome them. It will facilitate reflection on
the results achieved to date, set ambitious new commitments for greater
openness, and demonstrate what transparency really means for people on the
ground. The participants will include:

High-level representatives from Western Balkans governments;

CSO representatives working on OGP from all WB countries, and CSOs from other European
countries (e.g. Georgia, Estonia (open budget), Moldova etc); OGP CSO coalitions
already established in WB countries; Members of parliaments from Western Balkans

OGP coordination teams from WB governments already working on OGP
implementation at national level;

Local government representatives/authorities from WB countries;

International participants – US government, UK government, EU representatives,
OGP steering committee, OGP Support Unit, leading open government experts;

Representatives from the private sector and businesses from the WB countries;


Balkans OGP Dialogue will include a range of dynamic, interactive sessions
organised in a wide variety of formats, including:

High-level political commitment to OGP and EU accession – The Western Balkans countries
share at the levels of both government and citizens an overall commitment to EU
accession, but face a long road in transformation towards EU membership:

Panels/case studies on the five grand challenges of OGP –1) Improved public

Enhanced public integrity; 3) Effective public resource management; 4) Safe communities;
5) Increased corporate accountability.

Workshops on citizens’ consultations – Sessions will aim to provide a holistic
overview of citizen engagement through interactive videos, resources, and

Open Parliaments – Sessions will aim to foster a culture of parliamentary
openness, focusing on parliamentary measures to ensure inclusive citizen
participation and a free civil society, and to enable effective parliamentary
oversight of government actions.

Civil society sessions on influencing policymaking and holding governments to account
/ WB countries OGP CSO coalitions will lead the sessions. The focus will be
given to reports and analysis prepared by the Independent Reporting Mechanism
in different countries.

Local government – Transparency is the foundation of local accountability; it
gives people the tools and information they need to enable them to play a bigger
role in society. However, to date, the WB countries have failed to undertake
OGP commitments at the local level. Sessions will encourage governments and
CSOs to work together and extend the OGP at local government level as well.

Peer learning – representatives from countries – government, civil society and
IRM researchers – will have an honest dialogue with each other and with actors
from other countries on what works and what doesn’t

OGP Basics – Introducing OGP to newcomers with an emphasis on core aspects like
civil society engagement and the Independent Reporting Mechanism

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