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OGP Breakout Session: Be the Change! Citizen Empowerment Success Stories and Obstacles

Event | May 7, 2014

When: Wednesday, 7 May 2014, 10:30-12:30

Organisers: Omidyar Network, Southeast Asia Technology & Transparency Initiative, Making All Voices Count

Context and Purpose

Empowering citizens is crucial to promoting citizen engagement with the government. These breakout sessions will explore the following questions: How can citizens effectively engage in the entire cycle of government planning and decision making processes? Have governments provided enough opportunity and incentives for citizen engagement? And how can OGP help promote citizen empowerment in Asia Pacific?

Research commissioned by the Transparency and Accountability Initiative has suggested that there are certain key factors that shape the impact of transparency and accountability initiatives. On the citizen voice (demand) side, key factors for success include: 1) capacity of citizens and civil society organizations to access and use information made transparent and mobilize for greater accountability; 2) the extent to which transparency and accountability initiatives are linked to broader forms of collective action and mobilization; and 3) the degree to which accountability, transparency, and participation initiatives are embedded throughout all stages of the policy cycle. On the state (supply) side, key factors for success include: 1) the level of democratization or space for accountability demands to be made; 2) the degree of political will from the inside for accountability and transparency demands and initiatives; 3) the broader political economy, including enabling legal frameworks, incentives, and sanctions affecting behavior of public officials.

The breakout sessions on citizen empowerment – through roundtable discussions with experts and ample time for questions and answers with audience members – are designed to test these claims, provide examples, further discussion, and dig deeper into how citizens are empowered to demand change and how governments can effectively respond to these demands.

The purpose of the session – “Be the Change! Citizen empowerment success stories and obstacles” – is to provide an overview of the topic of citizen empowerment, with leaders sharing insights on lessons learned, success stories, and obstacles. How has citizen participation and engagement evolved over the past two decades? When does citizen engagement lead to more accountability? How do governments create space for citizen empowerment? How do we create incentives for citizens to begin to participate and to continue participating? What are ways in which OGP can facilitate and scale up citizen engagement? What has worked particularly well in various contexts that may not work in others?

The roundtables will feature short films to tell the story of citizen empowerment efforts in different contexts. True to the spirit of the theme, all sessions will allot ample time for audience participation, with a Q&A following the initial talks.

Speakers and Panelists

There will be a host of eminent speakers from governments, civil society, and international organisations. True to the spirit of the theme, there will be ample time allotted for audience participation, with a Q&A following the initial talks. Below is the invited speakers & moderator:

  1. Rakesh Rajani - Moderator
  2. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto - UKP4, Indonesia.
  3. Nikhil Dey – MKSS, India.
  4. Butch Abad – Secretary of Department of Budget, Philippines
  5. Marjan Besuijen - Director Making All Voices Count
  6. Gantsogt Khurelbaatar - Secretary from Ministry of Finance of Mongolia
  7. Yamini Aiyar - Senior Research Fellow and Director of the Accountability Initiative, India
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