Nepal urged to join public best practices groupProponents of accountability and transparency in public affairs on Tuesday reiterated the call for Nepal to join Open Government Partnership (OGP).
Proponents of accountability and transparency in public affairs on Tuesday reiterated the call for Nepal to join Open Government Partnership (OGP).
During an event on OGP, hosted by the US Embassy in Kathmandu, participants said Nepal has already implemented open government practices. Nepal fulfills the minimum criteria. It reveals budget documents, public officials’ assets, the Right to Information Act, and public hearing practices as a part of citizen partnership. OGP membership would help Nepal learn the best practices of open government from other peer countries and ensure better governance practices, they said.
US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B. Teplitz said the OGP could bring innovative tool to Nepal to support constructive conversation between citizens and the government around accountability and transparency. “The partnership’s peer to peer approach can help Nepal make deep connections with other reform-minded governments working hard to improve their citizens’ quality of life and expand access to services,” Ambassador Teplitz said.
Chief Information Commissioner Krishna Hari Baskota, who headed an advisory panel on open government, said they told the government that OGP membership would benefit Nepal.“Nepal has shown the capacity to penalise even the powerful political leaders. We should not think that everything is wrong in Nepal because it is a small economy,” Baskota said.US Agency for International Development (USAID) Senior Anti-corruption and Good Governance Advisor Victoria Ayer stressed the need for a strong system to monitor public officials’ performance.“A revelation of bad governance practice by any elected public official may prevent such public official from being elected again,” she said.
The participants also stressed greater use of technologies to ensure transparency in the government’s activities.
On the challenges of pushing OGP into provincial and local levels under Nepal’s new federal system, Freedom Forum Chief Executive Taranath Dahal said, “Lower level governments do not have a system and have limited infrastructure. They face shortage of data even to make their plans. So, there is a challenge of penetrating the open government system into lower levels.”
The OGP launched on September 20, 2011, aims firm commitments from national governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.In order to become a member of the initiative, a country needs to demonstrate minimum level of commitments in four criteria-fiscal transparency, access to information, public officials’ asset disclosure and citizen engagement.