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Civil Society starts new phase of cooperation


On 22 June 2018, Civil Society strategic meeting on “Role and approaches of CSO in the OGP initiative" took place in Yerevan, aimed at concerting civil society efforts in the area of Open Government Partnership. The event was organized by the Freedom of Information Center of Armenia. 

Around 30 NGO representatives came together to discuss the scopes of cooperation within the framework of OGP processes in Armenia, as well as possibilities for conducting joint monitoring of various stages of the implementation of OGP Action Plan. The goal of the meeting is to unite the potential of the civil society at the stage of development of OGP 4th Action Plan, as well as to discuss new formats of the cooperation between the civil society and Government.

FOICA President and meeting speaker Shushan Doydoyan mentioned: “Henceforth our efforts will follow three main directions: the first one is the development of the more ambitious and influantial 4th Action Plan. Let us think what it will look like but we definitely want to see our Forth Action Plan several steps more advanced. In this context I attach big importance to the trilateral cooperation between the Government, civil society and donors. 

Then to participate in the process of implementing the Action Plan where the Government is implementer, civil society and donor organizations are those promoting this process. 

Our steps should be also directed towards monitoring the process, where the role of civil society is immense. We need to monitor as to what extent the commitments truly meet OGP values, for instance whether or not this or that decision of the government or changes in the working procedures will lead to the main outcome”- said Shushan Doydoyan. 

Mrs. Lilya Afrikyan, the secretary of OGP Working group, presented the start of the 4th Action Plan development process. "The Government of the RA has published the main criteria which should be taken into account during the development of the Action Plan. All interested parties, non-governmental organizations and individuals can submit clear proposals based on OGP principles by [email protected] email.

Besides, The FOICA its term, developed a new crowd-sourcing online tool for the purpose of providing the opportunity of making proposals with regard to the OGP Plan to potentially wider circles such as citizens, business people, companies, regardless of their legal and organizational form. OGP action plans are designed for two-year period implementation and should enhance transparency, accountability and public participation in Armenia. The applicants can contribute to the Action Plan by submitting their ideas here

The Government representative Lilya Afrikyan suggested the civil society to be more active: the Government will regularly present progress with implemented activities but we would like to hear your feedback in a form of an assessment or monitoring, highlighting the shortcomings and positive sides”.  

The participants mentioned that it is important that both the commitments included in the Action Plan and OGP processes in general stem from the principles of transparency, free access to information, public participation and accountability. Thus the Government should take all possible efforts in disseminating information, ensuring public participation and transparency, both at a stage of Action Plan’s development, and implementation of the commitments, as well as every commitment should ensure at least one of these principles. 

The representatives of the participating NGOs expressed readiness to unite in working groups focusing on their respective directions for a new, ambitous Action Plan, 

As a result of the working discussion, the recommendations by the representatives of the civil society will be submitted next week in a single package to the working group coordinating the Armenian OGP processes in the Government.

These are main Recommendations to the Government:

  • To be pro-active, insure wide public awareness-raising. We recommend to the RA Government to ensure pro-active publication of information both on OGP processes and on its activities in general, i.e. publish comprehensive information on the OGP processes and course of implementation of OGP Action, by ensuring as well accessibility of the published information. In order to ensure accessibility of the published information, we suggest publishing information through as many as possible means available to the Government, including official websites, social networks, media, etc. We also recommend publishing and disseminating relevant information leaflets, brochures, etc.
  • Continue and enlarge cooperation and dialogue between the Government and Civil Society. Streghten the already existing cooperation by involving other interested NGOs into the process.
  • Invovle journalists into the process: Organize meetings, press conferences for journalists, so that they can get informed and raise public awareness on OGP processes, projects and their results.
  • Raise awareness among state officials: organize/initiate training for public agencies (Ministries, bodies adjacent to Government, public relations officers from agencies responsible for implementing OGP commitments and/or public officials related with the implementation of OGP-Armenia Second Action Plan commitments) concerning the goals, values, as well as commitments under OGP Action Plan. Another solution was suggested by the former National OGP Coordinator – to appoint an OGP officer in every Ministry. It is recommended to review this proposal at the Working Group and find possible solutions.
  • To regulate the works of the agency coordinating OGP processes: It is suggested to develop together with the Working Group members and approve Procedures for the work of the Group, which will regualate publication of information about WG sessions, conducting of the meetings, preparing records on the meetings, etc. It is worth mentioning that the proposed procedure does not imply envisaging provisions which will reduce the participatory nature of the Working Group or definition of rules for inclusion in the Group, but suggests having procedures which will be directed at availability of information about the activities of the WG and publicity of issues discussed at the WG sessions.
  • Envisage budget allocations for implementing commitments: For the implementation of every commitment, conduct financial estimate at the stage of elaborating the AP, clarify necessary expenses and secure them, so that more ambitious commitments are not omitted from the AP because of the lack of financial means and/or already included commitments’ implementation is not terminated because of the same reasons.
  • Include more ambitious and stronger with their impact commitments in the Action Plan.

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