Open Government Partnership
2022 – 2023 round up (part 2: key events)
Open Government Week 2023
Between 8th – 12th May, Scotland took part in Open Government Week to showcase the important work our commitments are delivering as part of our Open Government action plan, and to evidence the process involved to develop and implement innovations to open up government and empower people to be involved in decisions that will affect them.
We ran three external events. These were:
- The importance of independent monitoring and how to ensure impact– learnings from civil society and independent reporting experts
- Green Participatory Budgeting – Reflections from National, Regional and Local Perspectives
- Applying Open Government Principles to Climate Policy Development
Over 80 people attended these events, and we look forward to running more as we move forward with the action plan.
Open Government Partnership (OGP) Local Circle on Climate Action 2023
The OGP Local Circle on Climate Action is a recently established working group launched by the Government of the City of Buenos Aires and the Scottish Government.
It aims to gather local governments, national governments, civil society, and other organisations so they can work together to advance the climate action agenda. The group does this by sharing knowledge and learning on how to implement open government principles in the fight against the climate crisis.
In 2022, local circles looked at identifying practical steps that government and civil society organisations can take to promote climate action through OGP processes, and worked towards adapting the Open Up Guide for Climate Action developed by the Open Data Charter for local members.
In May 2023, the local circle gathered again during the first meeting of the cities who signed the Buenos Aires Declaration. During the C40 Mayors Summit in 2022, the “Buenos Aires Declaration: Open Government for Climate Action in Local Governments” was launched. This declaration is a kick-off document that restates the commitment to promote Open Government for climate action in local areas, and aims to strengthen open government mechanisms for climate action at the local level.
The Declaration of Buenos Aires is the first agreement between local governments to promote the opening of environmental information and citizen participation to mitigate climate change.
Members were encouraged to promote the implementation of the Declaration, and to consider how open government policies can have a greater impact in meeting the declaration and its goals.
The Climate Circle remains one of the most important focuses of OGP and we look forward to working more on this in 2024 with the City of Buenos Aires.
Open Government Global Summit 2023 (6 – 7 September 2023)
As the OGP forum and movement is driven by international learning, knowledge sharing and open dialogue across countries and localities, OGP holds regular Summits to bring together member governments and civil society representatives at a large scale event.
The theme for the Global Summit 2023 was to promote how cutting-edge digital governance, combined with the open government values of transparency, accountability, and participation, can renew democracy, build more trusted governance and fight back against autocratic threats.
The Summit was held at the Telliskivi Creative City in Tallinn, Estonia. Over 2,000 attendees participated at the Global Summit from 83 national delegations along with local delegations from 39 countries.
The Scottish delegation involved government and civil society representatives attending the two day event. The Summits provide an opportunity for attendees to exchange and learn from experiences, good practice, and progress on open government initiatives and implementation globally.
Scotland’s representation at the Summit
A Scottish delegation attended the two day event, and involved government and civil society representatives. Juliet Swann and Lucy McTernan attended on behalf of the civil society committee.
Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance attended the event on behalf of George Adam MSP, Minister for Parliamentary Business. Supported by the Scottish Government Open Government Team.
Mr Arthur was invited to speak at a number of key engagements. He contributed to two panel events, on how Scotland has applied an open government approach to enable people centred climate action and to protect environmental human rights.
The Minister’s portfolio to democratise the economy and empower communities through deliberative and participatory methods were also demonstrated at the Global Summit.
Examples of note were:
- Scotland’s approach to Green Participatory Budgeting
- Community Wealth Building and Scotland’s Community Empowerment Act
- Democracy Matters national conversations
Below are some pictures from the events the Minister participated in.
- Image 1: OGP Summit 2023. ‘Who decides: Sharing climate governance victories across borders’ event. Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance, 2nd from right.
- Image 2: OGP Summit 2023. ‘Who decides: Sharing climate governance victories across borders’ event. Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance, 3rd from left.
- Image 3: from OGP Flick. ‘Strengthening environmental democracy through protection and participation in environmental defenders’ event. Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance, far left.
Pamela Rennie from Glasgow City Council shared a key takeaway from the Summit:
“One of my takeaways was around challenges faced on Open Government – there are similar challenges faced at national, sub-national, local and civil society levels.
On a more positive note, it was the launch of the Open Government challenge on public participation – to embed fit-for-purpose, high quality and inclusive public participation practices. There were plenty of small key phrases and advice to think about too: bringing in civil society in the right way, at the right time to make more ambitious commitments; creating culture change within organisations and institutions; test new approaches; and from time to time we will all need to make ‘pitches’ as to why Open Government is important”.
Glasgow was also recognised at the OGP Awards 2023, and won an award in the ‘Inspirational Reforms’ category.
See this post by Glasgow City Council for more details.
[Image from OGP Flickr.]
Watch the OGP Summit 2023 plenary sessions back now
Interested to find out what topics and issues were discussed? You can watch the main plenary sessions now on OGP’s YouTube channel.
[Image from OGP Flickr: OGP Points of Contact Camp – government and civil society]
[Image from OGP Flickr: workshop deliberations]
[Image from OGP Flickr: workshop deliberations]
DataFest Summit (2 – 3 November)
The Scottish Government participated in the DataFest Summit. DataFest is an international conference held in Edinburgh, created to bring together data leaders across the industry in Scotland to celebrate innovations in data and artificial intelligence (AI). Sessions on a range of topics saw data representatives from across the public sector in Scotland come together to discuss and share their experiences, ideas and expertise.
The Scottish Government data division hosted stalls on data and AI, and used the event to link with data producers and consumers to better understand their needs. The division also ran a 2-day fringe event as part of the DataFest Summit. The fringe event also coupled as the first ever conference for members of the Data Standards and Open Data Community of Practice. The 2 day event saw speakers from across the public sector present 11 talks over the two days. Topics ranged from data standards in local government, metadata catalogues and public sector data literacy, to joint chronologies, open data, data linkage and data transformation.
Scottish Government also participated at a number of other data related events in November to raise awareness of our open data commitment.
Scottish Government presented to members of the Data Science Accelerator, run by Scottish Digital Academy, on why open data is important, and took part in a panel discussion at the FutureScot DigitalScotland 2023 conference. The panel delved into the topic of “Getting the most out of public sector data: How a data maturity assessment can build new thinking in your organisation and transform its use of data”.
On 18 and 19 November, those working on the open data commitment attended the Scottish Open Data Unconference, organised by volunteers from Open Data Scotland and Code the City. Here they shared information and discussed the recently launched find.data.gov.scot website, and the enabling role of open data in the public sector.
The Gathering 2023 (6 – 7 November)
Members of the Open Government team also attended the Gathering in November and met some fantastic third sector organisations. We were there to promote and expand the role of civil society involved in Open Government in Scotland.
Government and civil society representatives discussed the relationships and ways of working between government and civil society. This included the vital role of the third sector to hold government to account, and to be a ‘critical friend’– a term many civil society representatives identify with when talking about their role as an open government civil society commitment member.
Interested in what we covered – from roles and responsibilities, to how you can be involved in open government? Read more on the Scottish Civil Society Network.
As 2024 approaches, we hope to attend and run more events to encourage and learn from others on how we put Open Government into practice. Until next year!