This is the second in a series of blogs about the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in the Asia Pacific Region- the central topic around which a multi-stakeholder discourse took place in Manila in early September. The first blog talked about how OGP can be a vehicle for transforming the way the government works and highlighted a few country cases where different segments of society have contributed in doing so for the shared prosperity of the nation.
"Open government is a listening government, listening and wanting to do what citizens are demanding". This was the opening line of the welcome remarks given by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) steering committee member, Sugen Bahagijo, at the OGP Asia Pacific Regional Meeting recently held in Manila, Philippines.
So what really enhances government's responsiveness to citizens?
Data sits at the heart of informed decision making and is a key ingredient for governance and accountability. Getting the 'Right information to the right people at the right time' offers governments, law makers, civil societies, businesses and citizens unprecedented opportunities to make evidence-based decisions for more effective and sustainable development.
There is currently very little “open government data” in Nepal. Open Government Data is data produced or commissioned by government that is made publically available in open format (e.g. csv) for free use and redistribution. Key open government datasets in Nepal remain in closed formats, including government budget and expenditure, and key national statistical data such as the census. This website shows how Nepal compares against other countries in terms of the openness of government data – we fall behind both India and China in our ranking.
The Nepal earthquake not only shook up the ground, but also the people's lives, homes, our infrastructure and our economy. As streams of humanitarian aid flow to Nepal from all over the world, a key question being asked among the population is “where is this money going?”
Citizen Surveys as a basis for informed decision making
A recent community feedback survey funded by UNDP and conducted by Accountability Labs, Local Interventions Group and Ground Truth Solutions has provided numerous insights into the problems facing citizens affected by the earthquake.
The day after the devastating earthquake in Nepal in April, Accountability Lab and Local Interventions Group partnered to set up the Mobile Citizen Helpdesk (#quakehelpdesk). Over the last three months, they have mobilized 120 volunteers to speak with over 4,000 citizens in the 14 hardest-hit districts, gathering valuable feedback and closing the loop on hundreds of community problems and issues.
The field we work in is full of buzzwords - open development, transparency, accountability, good governance, citizen participation, access to information etc, and the latest one we are hearing is “Citizen Generated Data”. Over the past few months we have heard the term increasingly often, but what does it actually mean? Well, the folks at DataShift have just published a briefing that answers our question - explaining what citizen generated data is and why it is important.