Sekondi-Takoradi – The Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) has officially launched the 2018-2020 Open Government Partnership (OGP) Local Action Plan co-creation process. STMA is among 76 countries, 20 local governments, and thousands of organizations from civil society around the world that is part of the OGP and committed to bringing governments and their citizens closer together. This is the second Action Plan being prepared by the STMA after the first one in 2016.
With support from the OGP Multi Donor Trust Fund through the World Bank, STMA is partnering a consortium of Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) to assist STMA in co-creating this new Action Plan. The consortium of NGOs comprises Friends of the Nation (FoN), STMA-City Wide Settlement Upgrading Fund (STMA-CSUF) and Berea Social Foundation (BSF).
Hon. Anthony K.K. Sam, Chief Executive of STMA said, “We are very much excited to begin the co-creation process to prepare an ambitious and transformative OGP Local Action from 2018-2020. We are eager to work with other government institutions and civil society to deepen open government reforms, making STMA more transparent, participatory, responsive and accountable to citizens. We hope that this will inspire other Local Governments in Ghana to join the Partnership.”
Donkris Mevuta, Executive Director of Friends of the Nation, speaking on behalf of the consortium of NGOs facilitating this co-creation process expressed that civil society is happy be working with government to co-create and implement this Local Action Plan, acknowledging it as “testimony that civil society is committed to working with STMA for an increasingly open government. By facilitating the preparation of commitments that enables citizens to have greater access to information, improved service delivery, and opening up government and financial data, we will enhance STMA’s efficiency and have a positive impact on local livelihoods,” Mr. Mevuta said.
The OGP Point of Contact at STMA, Isaac Aidoo, stated that “the current Local Action Plan will reflect the lessons learnt from the previous one in 2017 and aligned to the priorities of 2018-2021 Medium-Term Development Plan Development of the Assembly. We look forward to working with all stakeholders as we co-create our second Local Action Plan to advance the Assembly’s open government agenda”
Nana Kofi Abuna V of the Sekondi Traditional Council and a member of the OGP Working Team applauded STMA’s efforts to be more transparent and accountable and reiterated the Working Team’s commitment to work with all stakeholders to transform the way the Local Assembly responds to citizens.“ We congratulate STMA for setting the pace for open government, and we look forward to coordinating a co-creation process that results in inclusive and transformative socio-economic growth of the Metropolis”
This launch officially commences the co-creation process for the 2018-2020 Local Action Plan. Already a 9-member Working Team comprising the OGP Point of Contact, lead CSOs and representatives of traditional council, private sector, vulnerable groups and the media has been established. The Working Team serves as the Coordinating Unit for the preparation and implementation of the Local Action Plan and has already prepared a work plan and a community engagement strategy. The co-creation process would involve series of consultations with the citizenry, the media, Chiefs and other key stakeholders within the Metropolis. In developing the new commitments for the Action Plan; new themes such as beneficial ownership, open contracting, climate change and the creation of civic space would be explored.
About the Open Government Partnership
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international voluntary initiative that seeks to secure concrete commitments from government to the people to promote transparency, accountability, active citizen participation and the use of technology and innovation to strengthen governance. It is an initiative founded in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Currently, OGP Initiative is made up of a membership of 76 countries and 20 subnational governments.
Background of STMA OGP Participation
Ghana signed onto the Open Government Partnership Initiative (OGPI) in 2011; and as an obligation under the Partnership, developed and implemented her first and second Action Plans which covered the period 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 respectively. Ghana’s membership was one of the criteria that made Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) eligible to participate in the Subnational Pilot Program launched by the OGP in 2015. Again, Ghana’s membership on the OGP demonstrates her desire to further deepen open governance and participatory democracy in practice, thus enhancing the principles of good governance. This singular step has tremendously added to the already soaring international image of the Country.
Out of 75 applications received, fifteen subnational governments, including STMA, were competitively selected globally to participate in the program after assessments by the OGP Steering Committee with much emphasis on efforts made to promote transparency, accountability, active citizen participation and the use of technology and innovation to strengthen governance as well as evidence of collaborations with civil society’s organisations.
The other cities selected were Austin, USA; Buenos Aires, Argentina: Jalisco, Mexico: La Libertad, Peru; Ontario, Canada; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Egeyo-Marakwet County, Kenya; Kigoma Municipality, Tanzania; Madrid, Spain; Paris, France; Scotland, UK; Bojonegoro, Indonesia; Seoul, South Korea and Tbilisi, Georgia. This was announced On April 14th, 2016 by the OGP secretariat in Washington D.C, “Fifteen (15) subnational governments from around the world competitively chosen to participate in a new pilot program, established to promote more transparent, accountable, open government at a local level”.