On October 8, 2013 a local event/hub was organized by the E-Government/Open Government working group (part of the National Participation Council) in partnership with E-Government Center and World Bank. This event was crucial in the context of the upcoming Open Government Partnership Summit in London and was seen as an opportunity to bring more input/local voice into the broader Summit Agenda.
Moldova participants salute the Summit Agenda and the efforts put by the UK Cabinet, OGP Support Unit, Steering Committee and other partners in organizing the Annual Summit end of October. It is expected that a delegation from Moldovan Government will take part in the event, thus, Government representatives will have the opportunity to interact and hear from other Governments their best practices, lessons learned, ways forward.
Another positive aspect lies in the fact that several civil society representatives will also have the opportunity to participate in the Summit and learn from their peer colleagues from OGP member countries.
KEY CHALLENGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS SHARED AS PART OF THE Local/Remote HUB IN MOLDOVA
Open Government concept is often misunderstood and misinterpreted and both public officials and civil society representatives use the E-Government term instead of Open Government. This makes the entire work on Open Government related initiatives quite difficult and slow;
There is limited capacity in the Ministries to address the Open Government Agenda, to generate sectorial commitments, to use citizen-centered approaches to consultations/feedback. This often leads to a certain degree of resistance, unwillingness to respond or to get actively engaged in the Open Government related discussions, initiatives, etc;
Lack of practical tools/methodology on how to elaborate or identify specific commitments based on the on values of transparency, accountability, citizen engagement for any of the 5 grand challenges set up by the OGP, makes the work of the Ministries and civil society organizations much more difficult. Often, commitments for the Action Plan on Open Government are nothing but actions taken from the already existent Action Plans of particular Ministries.
There are limited resources for civil society organizations to provide support in both the elaboration of the Action Plan on Open Government, as well as in monitoring the commitments made by the Government. Even if the civil society working group on E-Government/Open Government had a number of meetings with the donor community, embassies, and other international organizations, the issue of Open Government is not yet that present on their agenda;
According to a Soros Foundation Moldova supported report on the implementation of the Actions for 2012-2013, only 55% of the 2012 commitments have been achieved. Actions which were not implemented as part of the Action Plan for 2012-2013 should be further reviewed, analyzed and included in the new plan (should their implementation be still relevant for the overall OG Agenda). So this review process as well as identification of new commitments will go hand in hand for 2014-2015 Action plan;
Open Data policy should be part of the Open Government Agenda in which “open data by default” is at the core of it;
Open Data is seen as a driving element of the Open Government Agenda, thus, it is crucial to consolidate the capacities of public authorities as well as of civil society organizations to use, re-use, visualize open data (example shared in her presentation by Victoria Vlad, as part of Expert-Grup’s Budget Stories), which clearly shows that progress can be made in close partnership between Gov and CSOs – http://www.budgetstories.md /
Even though Open Data has been part of the broader Governance E-transformation Agenda (as of 2010), by joining OGP, Moldova continued to make slow but steady progress on the Open Data Agenda (www.data.gov.md having more than 672 data sets by 39 public authorities), and more efforts should be put in place to build the momentum around OD as part of the next Action plan and not only;
There is little awareness in the broader community on the Open Government Agenda, on Moldova’s membership in OGP, thus, more visibility and action is required to cover this gap.