Text and pictures: Robert Bjarnason
D-CENT was represented at a panel at the Open Government Partnership summit (OGP) in Mexico in October 2015. Robert Bjarnason from Citizens Foundation took part in a panel titled “Supporting the use of tech for the next stage of open government models”.
The Open Government Partnership summit is a large conference with around 1500 participants from all around the world. It offers a great opportunity for members of the open government movement to consolidate and build momentum, to reflect on what is working and what is not, and to lay out a framework for further co-operation, exchange and action.
This years conference focus was on how open government can play a role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. D-CENT took part in many sessions and there was a general positive atmosphere and more and more countries joining every year.
Much important work has been completed in the framework of the Open Government Partnership but many people we spoke to expressed disappointment in implementing open government on the ground, especially people from civil society. This is where bottom-up projects like D-CENT can help with providing tools for governments and civil society to help implement the OGP vision. This also fits well with the new focus of OGP to do more work on the sub-national city level.
How technology changes the way we relate with governments?
Robert Bjarnason from Citizens Foundation took part in a panel titled “Supporting the use of tech for the next stage of open government models”. The session was part of the Civic tech track of the conference. It had the following speakers:
– Paul Maltby, Director of Data, Cabinet Office, UK
– Ed Parkes, Nesta
– Steve Preston, MIME Consulting
– Ms Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica, Parliamentary State Secretary for EU affairs, Latvia
– Pauline Véron, Deputy Mayor of Paris
– Robert Bjarnason, Citizens Foundation, D-CENT partner
The panel started with Paul Malty setting out some broad thoughts on the direction of travel of open government work from his perspective especially highlighting the two specific approaches to tech in the open government world – one on supporting organisations to use open data for social good and the other to support the development of digital democracy applications.
Then Ed Parkes and Steve Preston talked about a platform based on open data from the Department for Education which supports young people to make data informed decisions about their exam choices at age 16. This platform won an innovation grant from a challenge called Open Data Challenge Series managed by Nesta. Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica talked about the latest developments in citizen participation in Latvia.
Robert Bjarnason presented the Icelandic D-CENT pilot and tools that are used for participatory democracy in Reykjavik, Iceland. Your Priorities is one of the D-CENT tools and is used for connecting citizens with their representatives. Robert also presented ideas about a Digital Commons for Open Government which is a way to evaluate and disseminate open source tools developed by projects like D-CENT and NGOs to governments.
Finally, Pauline Véron from Paris presented a recent and very successful participatory budgeting in Paris.
Robert summed it up by saying: “Taking part in the OGP Summit was a great experience and important that people from all around the world meet and discuss the next steps for open government.”