The Ministry of Information Society and Administration (MISA) of North Macedonia, in cooperation with Metamorphosis Foundation, as part of the project for Civic participation, supported by USAID, has developed online platform i.e. web portal for Open Government Partnership.
“The goal of the portal for Open Government Partnership (OGP) has the purpose of a platform for interaction and exchange of information in four segments, such as Consultations for the preparation of a National Action Plan, monitoring of the implementation of the National Action Plan and monitoring of the operations of the Council for Open Government Partnership and the network of civil society organizations for Open Government Partnership. The portal offers possibilities for online meetings with live talka and video link with the participants,” said the Minister of Information Society and Administration, Jeton Shakiri.
He also said that the preparation of the new National Action Plan 2021-2023 is underway, with the participation of representatives of both civil and public sectors and that he hopes this portal will not only ease the communication and the cooperation between the stakeholders, but also, in the long run, it will help with the monitoring and promoting the initiative for an Open Government Partnership.
“The development of this portal solution with a close collaboration with the Metamorphosis Foundation and the support provided by USAID presents a proof that through a partner relationship not only will the Government take part, but also other actors in our society will take part collectively and equally in the promotion of the Open Government concept,” said Shakiri.
USAID General Development Office Director, Don Carmin praised Minister Shakiri’s leadership in this process, but also recognized the efforts of USAID’s partner – the Metamorphosis Foundation.
“You have demonstrated exceptional leadership with your efforts to promote North Macedonia’s obligations towards an Open Government Partnership. OGP’s initiative is rooted in the basic belief that an Open government is more available, more responsive, and more responsible in the eyes of the citizens. Through OGP, the civil society organizations and governments will be able to create more productive and more closer relations and as a result, they will be able to work together in solving joint priorities. OGP is especially important and useful in our interconnected world, where the technology will allow the citizens to connect with the voted and appointed officials with one click, tweet, or message. With this inter-connectedness, the citizens will rightfully be demanding bigger responsiveness, openness, transparency, and accountability from their government,” said Carmin.
She reminded that North Macedonia has joined the partnership in 2011 and since the 10th anniversary of OGP’s establisment is at hand, she stressed that it is important to renew the obligations aimed towards the improvement of access to information, fiscal transparency, use of open data, and access to justice and many other priorities.
“The new online platform for open government partnership will help civil society organizations and citizens to be able to help in shaping and monitoring the obligations of the Open Government. This tool will serve as a central point for communication, consultations, and monitoring the advancement as planned by the current National Action Plan for OGP. This will ease the collaborative and productive dialogue between all concerned sides, including the work of OGP’s Council and the network of civil organizations. Also, it will secure information about the OGP’s Next Action Plan,” said Carmin.
Metamorphosis Foundation’s Director, Bardhyl Jashari stressed that OGP’s goal is to improve the efficiency of state institutions’ operations, to increase their transparency, accountability, and access to information, to strengthen the fight against corruption and to secure a higher quality for services provided for citizens by state institutions.
“What is important for us as civil society organizations is that the Open Government Partnership is a process designed in such manner that it allows for a systematic and continuous dialogue between the government and the civil society organizations, it allows a possibility and a space to have representatives of the government and the civil society organizations, media, business and other interested parties at one table and together to shape and prioritize the policies that are influencing the transparency and are contributing to the accomplishment of other OGP goals. In this process, the civil society organizations have the opportunity to actively participate in the creation of policies, the setting of priorities, to identify the relevant and priority needs of the citizens and those to be reflected in the government’s policies,” said Jashari.
He also said that as a result of this dialogue, National Action Plans are being prepared, and the government is obliged to conduct very concrete activities and real obligations.
“Actually, the action plans themselves are OGP’s and they are a product of an open process of joint co-creation, where the government and the civil society are working together to initiate ambitious reforms. For the civil society, the OGP is not a typical activity i.e. a typical exercise for representing, but it presents a partnership and cooperation and a joint effort to find a mutual language and solution for priority problems related to transparency, accountability, and efficient working on part of state institutions. This is what actually we are trying to do as part of the USAID project for civil participation and with the creation of the OGP online platform,” stressed Jashari.
According to the Metamorphosis’ director, the platform itself is a result of the cooperation between the civil society organizations, the ministry, and USAID’s support.
“First and foremost, the Platform represents an effort in order for the engagement of civil society organizations to become more strategic, vivid, and at the same time to expand, so that we may have more civil society organizations, but also other actors, individuals, that want to take part in the OGP process and to be certain that all that want to participate will participate and none will be left out behind or out of the process. Of course, the platform is not an effort to become an ordinary replacement for offline consultations and other meetings live, which I’m hoping we shall be able to conduct again. I believe that the platform will become a central resource for all interested in OGP, but also a possibility for greater participation of all interested. As a result, we shall have an inclusive process, that will result in better action plans, and these will lead to more ambitious reforms that will contribute to having more efficient and more open institutions which will contribute to an increase in the citizens’ trust towards the institutions. This trust will have to be earned and strengthened every day and that will strengthen the democracy in general,” Jashari also said .
Gordana Dimitrovska – Gapik from MISA presented the portal for Open Government Partnership in detail.
“The goal of this solution is to promote and ease the process of communication between the institutions and all concerned sides and actors in our society,” said Dimitrovska – Gapik.