UNESCO at the OGP summit takes active role in shaping the methodology to assess SDG 16

As lead co-chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Government of Georgia, hosted the 5th OGP Global Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia, from 17 to 19 July 2018.

More than 2000 representatives from more than 70 countries attended, including heads of state and ministers, public officials, members of parliament, local authorities, civil society representatives, international organizations, researchers, and journalists.

After the inaugural ceremony on 17 July 2018, panels and workshops related to a wide variety of issues such as open government, access to information, open data, citizen participation, use of communication and information technologies, transparency in public tenders, impact of artificial intellect on the flow of information, etc. were held during the next two days.

UNESCO took active participation in the Summit. Sylvie Coudray, Chief of Section for Freedom of Expression, has represented UNESCO at the panels titled “Closing the Implementation Gap: The Role of Multilateral Institutions in Supporting Open Government Reforms” and “Sustainable Development Goals and Access to Information.”

The first panel focused on what multilateral donors, such as UNESCO and UN, OECD, DIFID, USAID, etc. are doing and can do to make sure that open government reforms are implemented and open access legislation and its implementation is based on international standards and becomes a general norm for Member States.

The second panel focused on methodologies for assessing implementation of right to information (RTI) laws, in particular the work done on this by UNESCO and FOIAnet in light of SDG Indicator 16.10.2 (implementation of RTI laws). The objective is to advance understanding of how to assess this complex SDG indicator, something that has been a challenge until now.

Marius Lukosiunas, Programme Specialist, represented UNESCO on the panel titled “Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on Democracy”. The session explored the governance of digital platforms and social media and the impact that their misuse can have on society.

The Summit was reinforced by the separate day for civil society organizations 17 of July and a number of side events organized for the public to discuss such issues as advancing access to justice and legal empowerment, initiatives for climate action and sustainable development, etc.

OGP is an initiative made up of more than 70 countries to promote open government policies. This implies that governments are accountable, more open, and better responsive to citizens. To be a party, States must adhere to the Open Government Statement, submit an approved action plan with a public consultation process and commit to periodic reporting. This initiative is also a space of articulation between civil society and governments, both locally and nationally.