Open Government Partnership Validation Forum held in Accra

The Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr Ben Eghan, has said over the past 30 years Ghana had made great efforts to change the public sector with mixed results.

He said what the country needed now was the need to go further and beyond standard administrative reforms.

“We must utilize new technological opportunities in order to change and renew the public sector’s role towards more openness and collaboration; we must promote good governance,” he said.

Mr Eghan was speaking at a day’s national validation forum organised by the Steering Committee on Open Government Partnership (OGP), Ghana with support from the World Bank to authenticate Ghana’s action plan for the partnership initiative.

The OGP is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder international initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to their citizenry to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

The initiative was founded by the U. S. Government in collaboration with seven other countries and but more than 50 countries were currently participating in the partnership.

In September 2011, Ghana signed into the OGP Initiative to improve public services, increase public integrity, manage public resources effectively, create safer communities and increase corporate accountability.

Mr Eghan said: “It is my understanding that, in connection with this membership, we are expected to develop a National Action Plan and submit it to the OGP Global Secretariat by end of this year.

“By April 2013, our country must demonstrate progress in the implementation of the Action Plan, progress which will be monitored and evaluate by international standards,” he said.

He said Ghana’s participation in the OGP Initiative was a consequence of the government agenda on good governance and the government’s prioritization of promoting democratic traditions and values.

“The decision to join OGP was an important step to complement Ghana’s on-going efforts to strengthen good governance across all sectors. Further, the Partnership is a logical platform for renewal and modernization of the relationship between citizens and the public administration,” he added.

In a speech read for him, the World Bank Country Director, Mr Yusupha B. Crookes, said OGP was about Transparency, which is a key element to empower citizens to engage constructively with policy makers and demand accountability from service providers.

“This in turn can lead to more effective institutions. Transparency in light of open government is about making information on government activities and decisions open, comprehensive, and available to citizens in a timely manner,” he added.

Mr Crookes said the launch of the OGP in September 2011 had generated significant momentum about open government issues around the globe.

“Governments and civil society organizations have come together in their respective countries to elaborate the required OGP action plans. Nearly 50 countries have submitted such action plans, which were presented at the OGP Annual Meeting in Brasilia in April 2012, and they are now moving into the implementation stage.

“The World Bank has accompanied the development of OGP, providing assistance mostly through knowledge exchanges (e.g. video conferences, webinars, support for face-to-face events), as well as technical support in Ghana on this consultation for stakeholders to elaborate the OGP action plan.

“In our view, the principles of the OGP, and the concrete commitments that countries are making within its framework, create an enabling environment for more efficient governments and societies in which the playing field is more level for all economic stakeholders,” he said.

Mr Crookes said the World Bank had been playing a facilitator role, assisting stakeholders according to their priorities and providing access to international good practices that contribute to enriching in-country discussions and informing their decisions in terms of how to move forward on the open government agenda.

He, therefore, pledged the bank’s commitment to continuing playing this facilitation role for deepening the open government agenda.

“While the Africa region might face some challenges regarding OGP engagement–for instance there are only five OGP member countries in Africa (South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, and Tanzania) –there are also promising signs that suggest progress can be achieved.

“Perhaps the most important sign of this is the strong participation of South African and Tanzania on the international steering committees. The genuine interest in Ghana in recent months, which is also a clear sign of this, is the current consultation process in Ghana where civil society and government have collaborated to prepare an action plan through a participatory approach,” he said.

Mr George Osei Bimpeh, Send Ghana representative on the OPG Steering Committee, said civil society organizations were glad that government had join the partnership to ensure transparency and accountability, among others.

He, therefore, encouraged government to commit itself to the implementation plan to have positive influence on the lives of the people.

Source: GNA

  1. sulemana.m.musah says

    I will like to know if religious leaders at the district level would be given role to play under the gorvernance partnership programm

  2. sulemana.m.musah says

    most citizens especially the un – educated do not even know how to demand accountability;How do we empower such people to demand accontability from the public office holders

  3. infact some people has lost confidence in central gorvernment due to failure of past gorvernments to relieve them from suffering .for such people once they are not gorvernmemt employees ;they think it is waste of time talking about gorvernance issues.for such people unless concret evidence are seen about improvement in their lives they may not be willing to actively join in issues of gorvernnance .what do we do to bring them also on board?

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