SA hands over OGP chair position to France

Pretoria - South Africa has officially handed over the Open Government Partnership (OGP) leader chair position to France.

President Jacob Zuma handed the position, which it assumed since 2015, during the five-year anniversary event on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, on Wednesday.

Georgia will be the incoming support chair for the partnership.

Formed in 2011, OGP is an international initiative to bring together governments and civil society organisations to promote open governance.

Participating countries have to endorse a declaration, provide action plans developed with public consultation, and agree to their independent monitoring implementation.

Since its inception, the organisation has grown from eight members to 70.

President Zuma said this was a “clear testimony of the importance of Open Government in the progress of humanity and a reflection of your resolve to ensure that the future is brighter than the present”.

He said the OGP community has the responsibility to ensure that the Partnership remains true to its fundamental principles of voluntarism.

“As such we must avoid the temptation of using this noble initiative as a tool for punishment that plays geo-politics and bloc interests of various participating countries particularly those in leadership.”

President Zuma also reflected on South Africa’s tenure as chair the OGP.

South Africa used its position to champion the Open Government Declaration on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which will see OGP member countries incorporating Sustainable Development Goals in their OGP country action plans.

South Africa also prioritised legislative openness, open data, and broadening civil society participation to include grass root organisation and vulnerable groups within the OGP.

“During its tenure, South Africa has promoted the OGP to countries that have an interest in joining the OGP. We have included the OGP in discussions during visits to sister countries in the continent and also other countries in general,” President Zuma told the high level event. - SAnews.gov.za