On Tuesday, December 14, Parliamentary Day took place a virtual event that brought together representatives of civil society and government officials to reflect on the role parliaments have played as partners for open government reforms.
The Open Government Partnership’s 10th anniversary provided an opportunity to revisit the most outstanding open parliament initiatives of the last decade and rethink how to deepen and strengthen the work envisioning the decade ahead. From co-creating transformative open parliament commitments to building indexes to measure progress and formalizing networks and parliamentary groups to lead these efforts, parliamentarians, parliamentary staff, public officials, CSOs, regional and international organizations have paved the way for renewed, inclusive and open parliaments all over the world.
On this occasion, the discussions focused on sharing how parliaments have been involved in advancing responsive, inclusive and accountable governance, and how OGP can integrate parliaments as partners in this agenda. Welcoming remarks were delivered by Congressman Javier Macaya of Chile, President of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network; the Honorable Dr. Paran Umar Tarawally of Sierra Leone, Secretary General of the Parliament of the Republic and Secretary of the OGP Parliamentary Working Group; and Maria Baron, OGP Co-Chair and Global Executive Director of Fundación Directorio Legislativo.
The event featured two main sessions:
The first one, “Strengthening civic space and democratic participation. How can open parliament be a game changer?”, addressed the restrictions on civic space introduced in most countries around the world in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and their impact on civic freedoms. Thus, reflections were made on these questions: What can we learn as a parliamentary community to ensure that civic space is protected in the post-COVID era? How can parliaments increase citizen participation through the use of new technologies?
Keynote speakers included the Honorable Cornelius Mweetwa, Member of the National Assembly of Zambia; Congresswoman Ana Lucia Delgado of Costa Rica, Vice President for Central America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network; Damar Juniarto, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet); and José Marinero Cortés, President of Fundación Democracia, Transparencia y Justicia of El Salvador (DTJ).
The second session focused on anti-corruption policies. Under the title “Innovative measures against corruption. Emerging Challenges and Renewed Strategies”, it intended to discuss the measures that parliaments have taken to fight corruption. Which oversight mechanisms did they utilize to ensure the resources reached the ones who needed them the most? From a parliamentary perspective, which are the most innovative tools to address corruption?
These topics were discussed by the Honorable Senator René Cormier of Canada, Vice President for North America of the ParlAmericas Open Parliament Network; Member of the Parliament of Georgia, Givi Mikanadze; Dr. Shiow-Duan Hawang, Professor at Soochow University in Taiwan; and Caroline Gaita, Executive Director of the Mzalendo Trust in Kenya.
Finally, Luis Rojas, Deputy Secretary of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile and general coordinator of the ParlAmericas Network of Open Parliament Officials, delivered the closing remarks.
Click here to see the recording of the event.
The Parliamentary Day was a joint effort sponsored by leading parliamentary organizations and founding members of the Open Parliament e-Network (OPeN): Directorio Legislativo, the Latin American Legislative Transparency Network, the National Democratic Institute, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ParlAmericas, and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.