First Regional Conference on Open Government Partnership Held
Global Initiative Open Government Partnership (OGP) was launched in 2011 and so far has 65 members, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia. By joining this initiative, member states commit to undertake concrete measures and actions to ensure progress in the area of transparency, fight against corruption, to promote the participation of citizens in decision-making processes, as well as the use of new technologies. In a two-day conference in Tirana, representatives of governmental and non-governmental sector spoke about the activities and initiatives within the OGP process carried out in the region, potential problems and constraints in implementation, as well as the next steps in the reform process.
At the conference, a series of thematic panels on various topics, such as budget transparency, anti-corruption, public service delivery, openness parliaments and public procurement, were held.
Center for Social Research Analitika organized a session on open data, where participants had the opportunity to learn about the advantages and benefits of open public data. The keynote speaker was Andrew Stott, one of the pioneers in the field of open data and a founder of data.gov.uk, open data portal in the UK which contains several thousands of databases from different fields, including public health, education, security etc. He showed how open data led to numerous innovations in the field of public transport, pharmacy, real estate market, but also provided better information to the citizens about how public money was spent. In addition, numerous examples show how open data can lead to significant savings in the public administration and improve the delivery of public services.
Filip Manevski from the Ministry of Information Society and Administration of Macedonia talked about the challenges in the implementation of policies for opening up data, such as, inter alia, data not being formatted in an appropriate structure, insufficient capacity of institutions and the need for anonymization of confidential information.
In her presentation, Leila Bicakcic, director of the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) in Sarajevo, pointed to numerous examples that show how open data contribute to the quality of investigative journalism stories. In its ten years of existence, CIN managed to create numerous databases of public interest, such as the base of public contracts, the assets of politicians, lawyers' earnings, budget reserves etc. Other initiatives of opening public data in the region were presented by Endrit Bytyqi from the Open Data Kosovo, as well as Aranita Brahaj from the Albanian Institute of Science.
The conferences special focus was placed on the need to establish regional cooperation among Western Balkan countries, in the key areas of the Open Government Partnership.
This event is organized as a part of the project "Advocacy for Open Government: Supporting the Right to Know in South East Europe", financed by the European Union.
This event is financed by the European Union.