Activities under Jamaica’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) process are set to get under way in earnest, in February.
This, following the formal digital launch of the engagement on Friday (January 15), which was addressed by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke.
The OGP, which was established in 2011, is a forum of more than 70 countries whose governments are committed to being more open, accountable and responsive to citizens, through partnerships with civil-society stakeholders.
The Government of Jamaica signalled its intention to the OGP’s governing body, in 2016, to join the initiative.
Jamaica, by virtue of this, has the distinction of being the first English-speaking Caribbean country to participate in the initiative.
Jamaicans will benefit from the OGP through better access to information on the performance of government ministries and agencies, and on matters of public interest; greater transparency on the allocation and expenditure of public resources; strengthened mechanisms to detect and address corruption in the administration of government and public bodies; and greater opportunities for citizens to participate in the determination of government priorities and the monitoring of outcomes.
The programmed engagements under the process are intended to facilitate the development of Jamaica’s National Action Plan (NAP) by August 2021, through public consultation with civil society, and monitor its implementation through to August 2023.
The process is being spearheaded by the Finance Ministry, with funding support from the World Bank-financed Strategic Public Sector Transformation Project (SPSTP).
The scheduled activities include establishing a multi-stakeholder group that will oversee the consultations and preparation of the first OGP National Action Plan by July 2021; a webinar on the ‘Open Response and Recovery to the COVID-19 Pandemic’; and establishment of an OGP document repository on the Finance Ministry’s website, where relevant documents related to the process will be stored and be accessible to the public.
A dedicated email address has already been established for the process at firstname.lastname@example.org, where stakeholders, the public and the media can submit questions and comments and receive timely responses.
In his remarks during the launch, Dr. Clarke said Jamaica’s participation in the OGP process enables the Administration to showcase the tremendous strides that have been made in executing good stewardship and openness in governance.
Additionally, he said Jamaica stands to gain and learn from the various innovative approaches to openness that have been undertaken by other countries.
Dr. Clarke also underscored the importance of civil society participation to the success of the OGP process.
“There is a groundswell of domestic support for the principles of transparency, openness, accountability and participation to be embodied in our governance framework and in our public institutions,” he noted.
In this regard, Dr. Clarke said the OGP process “simply allows us to leverage a multilateral architecture to achieve our national priorities, in full [view] of the international community, and through broad-based local participation and consultation”.
“We look forward to the participation of a broad set of stakeholders as we move to realise the vision that our forefathers had of Jamaica and the vision that we have of Jamaica, ourselves,” he added.