UNDP Partners MRA to Conduct CSO Training on Open Government Partnership

Samuel Bwalya, Country Director for UNDP Nigeria
Mr. Samuel Bwalya, Country Director for UNDP in Nigeria

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria, in partnership with Media Rights Agenda (MRA), will hold a Training of Trainers workshop on the Open Government Partnership (OGP) for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from across Nigeria on July 10 and 11, 2017.

The training, which will take place in Abuja, is in furtherance of the EU-funded Project on “Support to Anti-Corruption in Nigeria” aimed at strengthening Anticorruption Agencies (ACAs) and CSOs coordination and effectiveness in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. The training, for this reason, targets CSOs working in the areas of anti-corruption, public procurement, fiscal transparency, access to information, good governance, and related themes.

It is aimed at sensitising CSOs in Nigeria to become aware of the OGP and, in particular, what it means, the opportunity it presents for them to advance their governance reform agendas and how to engage the process and thereby ensure that more CSOs in Nigeria engage the OGP process in their various areas of interest to ensure that Nigeria delivers on its OGP commitments.

The workshop also seeks to ensure that CSOs at the State level begin to engage State governments to implement the OGP initiative of the Federal Government at the sub-national level, namely at the State and Local Government levels; and build a wider Network of CSOs engaging the OGP process in Nigeria.

The training will bring together diverse CSOs to sensitize them about the OGP, how it operates, and their roles in the effective implementation of Nigeria’s OGP National Action Plan.

It is also expected to encourage and facilitate more civil society engagements in the OGP process by sharing information about OGP structures, engagement tools and mechanisms as well as other OGP resources which will enable CSOs become more effective in their engagement of the OGP.

The workshop plans develop strategies and approaches for civil society engagement of the OGP process at the national and sub-national levels.

MRA’s Executive Director and OGP Nigeria Co-Chair, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, says the training will provide detailed information about OGP structures, including the National Steering Committee, the positions of Co-Chairs, the OGP Secretariat Management Team, the Support Staff and the Thematic Working Groups and advise participants about opportunities for participation, including how to join these structures, and other forms of engagements.

According to him, the training “will seek to empower the participants by providing them with information about the OGP processes, engagement tools and mechanisms as well as other OGP resources which will enable civil society organizations become more effective in their engagement of the OGP.”

The OGP is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. It was launched in September 2011 when civil society leaders and eight founding governments – Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States – came together to formally adopt the Open Government Declaration and announce their first OGP action plans.

The OGP currently has 75 participating countries and thousands of CSOs around the world. OGP participating countries have made almost 3,000 commitments to make their governments more open and accountable. The implementation of these commitments requires active civil society engagement and participation in the process.

MRA says it plans to work with the Open Alliance and government officials involved in the OGP process to facilitate the training.

The Open Alliance is a coalition of Nigerian civil society groups that seek transparency in governance and public finance and aims to ensure that Nigeria derives maximum benefit from openness and transparency needed for inclusive development and efficient service delivery. The Open Alliance provides the platform for CSOs in Nigeria to band together to engage the OGP process in Nigeria and internationally.