The Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly has participated in an two-day workshop organised for countries participating in the Open Government Partnership programme at Iten, Elgeyo-Marakwet County in Kenya.

The workshop was a Regional gathering of governments and civil society representatives from the only 4 OGP local participants on the African continent, STMA-Ghana, Elgeyo- Marakwet County-Kenya, Kigomi Ujiji Municipal Council-Tanzania and Kaduna State-Nigeria.

Mr Isaac Aidoo, Development Planning Officer of the STMA and Focal person told the GNA that the main objective of the event was to discuss the findings of the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) for each OGP local participant, make recommendations on the report, promote exchanges among participating local governments and discuss how co-creation efforts could be strengthened in the formulation of the Action Plan for 2018.

The STMA partners for the OGP initiative are STMA-Citywide Settlement Upgrading Fund (STMA-CSUF), Berea Social Foundation (BFS) and Friends of the Nation (FoN).

He said participants at the workshop used the opportunity to share their experiences with respect to their OGP subnational journey so far; lessons learnt, achievements and challenges.

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) 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 to participate.

Mr. Aidoo said currently, OGP Initiative is made up of a membership of 76 countries and 20 subnational governments.

Ghana signed unto the OGP initiative in 2011 and by virtue of its membership STMA became eligible to apply for and participated in the sub-national pilot programme organised by the OGP in 2015.

According to him, the pilot programme for Sub-national Government was a way of giving meaning to the tenets of OGP at the grassroots level through the efforts of Local Governments, Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) and most importantly, the involvement of citizens to spur change.

Fifteen sub-national governments, including STMA, were competitively selected to participate in the programme.

The other sub-national governments were; Austin – USA, Buenos Aires – Argentina, Jalisco – Mexico, La Libertad – Peru, Ontario – Canada, Sau Paulo – Brazil, Elgeyo-Marakwet County – Kenya, Kigoma Ujiji Municipal Council – Tanzania, Madrid – Spain, Paris – France, Scotland – UK, Bojonegoro – Indonesia, Seoul – South Korea and Tbilisi – Georgia.

The STMA developed its OGP Sub-national Action plan for 2017 comprising of five commitments and focused mainly on Public Service (Security and Sanitation), Fiscal Transparency and Public Participation (Private Sector Involvement and Planning).

After a successful Sub-national pilot programme implementation, the OGP Local Programme was institutionalised and five more sub-national governments (Kaduna State – Nigeria, Basque Country – Spain, Lasi – Romania, Narino – Columbia, South Cotabato – Philipines) have been added to the pioneers.

The co-creation of the new Action plan for 2018 for STMA would start in mid-May 2018 and would involve a 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 civic space will be explored.

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