Regional Commitment on Open Government
A four-point commitment made by Western Balkans governments on the occasion of the Western Balkans OGP Dialogue 2015, Tirana, 10-11.9.2015
The Open Government Partnership, launched in 2011 to foster more open and accountable government, more responsive to citizens, is an increasingly important initiative for the countries of the Western Balkans, going hand in hand with the reforms embarked upon in the EU accession process.
The governments of the Western Balkans have come together on the occasion of the Western Balkans OGP Dialogue 2015, in Tirana, Albania, on 10-11 September 2015, when they made the four commitments outlined below to establish a permanent Western Balkans OGP Dialogue Forum:
1. The governments will join with civil society to embark upon a concerted public awareness campaign to explain to citizens the objectives of the OGP initiative, the commitments made by each government, and the necessity of engagement with citizens to realise the stated goals of responsive and open government. The OGP Action Plans are important expressions of commitment, and the governments will work with civil society to ensure that they include targets for policy reforms that can be verified against clear performance indicators.
2. The governments of the Western Balkans are making a commitment to co-operation in sharing standards in open data, and in promoting innovative practices across all countries. The governments will co-operate to strengthen best practices in public accountability and to raise the quality of policymaking through the availability of high-quality data accessible across departments, regions, and sectors.
3. To sustain this co-operation, the governments are joining together in a regional commitment to establish a permanent Western Balkans OGP Dialogue Forum to enable regular multi-stakeholder consultation on OGP Action Plan implementation. The OGP Dialogue Forum will include a formalised network of government OGP contact persons from all the Western Balkans countries who will work closely together, engage with civil society, share knowledge and experience of designing and implementing Action Plans, and share experience of active citizen engagement both in shaping OGP commitments and monitoring and evaluation of their implementation.
4. A key area of innovation will be greater citizens' engagement in the success of the OGP initiative, including strengthening mechanisms for engagement of the wider public – expert and non-expert ¬– in the process of drafting and review of policies and legislation, and transformation of country budgets into easily comprehensible citizens' budgets. Other innovations will include standardisation of complaint procedures related to corruption, and the publication of key data on public service delivery.
In full solidarity with the current refuge crises, "Open Government Partnership” community gathered in Tirana, invites governments and civil society organisations of OGP member countries that experience immigration or transition of refugees, to act upon that humanitarian and human rights crisis in the spirit of proactive openness.
We propose that every country creates a special info site dedicated to this issue, that will aggregate all related data that refugees, activists and state employees can benefit from. Namely, articles from the laws and regulations that deal with refugees rights, immigrant rights, unaccompanied children issue, social and health protection, trafficking prevention, alongside with the comprehensive list of contacts for governmental and civil society services that provide assistance or protection.
Site should also include all relevant articles from international declarations, conventions and treaties, should be in English, local language and in languages of refugee population and should be appropriately promoted and advertised.
Tirana, September 11th, 2015