This spring, 30 Open Government Partnership (OGP) member countries will develop National Action Plans. With international momentum growing and new rules on parliamentary participation in place, this cycle presents an opportunity to advance the legislative openness agenda by developing meaningful commitments and deepening the participation of parliaments in OGP. By sharing information, connecting legislative openness champions, and inspiring new members of this growing community, the Global Legislative Openness Conference aims to help parliaments and civil society groups around the world take full advantage of this important opportunity.
Hosted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and organised by the Open Government Partnership’s Legislative Openness Working Group and other partners, the Global Legislative Openness Conference will take place in Kyiv, Ukraine on May 19-20. Conference organisers anticipate 200 members of parliament, government officials, and civil society representatives from around the world. If you are interested in learning more or registering for the conference, please see the conference website. Please note that the deadline to pre-register for the conference is Thursday, April 13.
For the Open Knowledge network, this conference provides an opportunity to connect with legislators and government officials who are, in many cases, leading champions for open government in their respective countries. Along with these participants, the conference will convene many members of the global parliamentary monitoring network, which is based at OpeningParliament.org. The organizers are hopeful that the conference can help build deeper ties between the Open Knowledge network and the OpeningParliament.org community, particularly given the number of overlapping initiatives and projects.
The two-day event will include a series of keynote addresses, panel discussions, and interactive breakout sessions. Parliamentary participation in OGP will be a primary theme of the conference. For those parliamentary or civil society representatives less familiar with the OGP process, a series of breakout sessions on OGP basics will be offered. For those looking for inspiration to develop legislative openness commitments, thematic panels covering legislative ethics, lobbying, civil society engagement, and open data will discuss different types of commitments that could be made and consider example commitments and lessons learned. Apart from the development of legislative openness commitments, speakers will consider other ways parliaments can support open government, from passing legislation to conducting oversight. The program has been designed to cater to OGP veterans and newcomers alike, whether in parliament or civil society.
The conference will also include conversations on broader themes related to technology, openness, and governance. For instance, one session will explore how misinformation and “fake news” are negatively impacting political discourse and will consider how parliaments can best operate in this new media environment. While the disruptive potential of new technologies has been repeatedly proven, these tools can also help reinvigorate our democracies — by creating new channels of communication between elected officials and constituents, for instance. The conference will consider both the challenges and opportunities for legislatures in the digital age, drawing on the expertise of technology experts, parliamentary representatives, and civil society leaders.
The deadline to pre-register for the conference is Thursday, April 13 (Today!). All who are interested in attending the conference are encouraged to apply, though it should be noted that completing the pre-registration form does not guarantee a spot at the conference. Given the level of demand and limited space at the Verkhovna Rada, not all who pre-register will be able to attend.
We look forward to seeing many of you in Kyiv for a productive two days.