By Obaidullah Abdi
A two-day conference was held at Government Media Information Center on 12 July 2017 for the election of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Afghanistan Selection Committee. Civil Society elected a 7-member committee to select the civil society representatives for the OGP forum.
The meeting was organized to raise awareness of civil society about the OGP and its decision-making processes, and to finalize a mechanism for inclusion of CSOs. Subhan Raouf Deputy Head of Monitoring and Evaluation at AOP who is the focal point for OGP in Afghanistan expressed government’s desire in fighting corruption and “empowering citizens to demand government reforms”. Speaking at the event, Integrity Watch’s Executive Director, Sayed Ikram Afzali said, “Afghanistan did not get OGP membership by chance, it was a result of advocacy by CSOs including Integrity Watch and support from its partners from within the government”. He added that the civil society and the government will have to take concrete steps to push for government reforms. He also stressed that the civil society and the government should ensure that only capable and committed CSOs are selected for the OGP Forum.
The Afghan Government gained OGP membership in December 2016 and established a secretariat in June 2017. OGP secretariat’s major duties as described by OGP guidelines is to harmonize efforts and organize a platform for debate on civil society and government. One of the major parts of OGP is the OGP forum, as the forum will be the decision making a body for finalizing Afghanistan’s first ever National Action Plan. National Action Plan covers a set of commitments for 2-year period aimed at making government more transparent, accountable and citizen-centric.