Opening institutions to citizens is the key reform of public administration

Open Government Café was used to present the ways to improve communication and cooperation between institutions and interest groups and citizens

Sarajevo, 1st March 2017 – Transparency International in Bosnia and Herzegovina (TI BiH) in cooperation with the coalition of NGOs in charge of the Open Government Partnership Initiative, organized Open Government Café at which they presented mechanisms for the improvement of communication with citizens, in order to open the government, strengthen the transparency and accountability in the work of public administration.

The concept of Open Government Café presented in a unique way different types of cooperation between the civil society and public sector through the projects based on open data, activities of institutions on social networks, promotion and implementation of proactive transparency standards and fulfillment of obligations allocated by joining the Open Government Partnership Initiative. This was also the opportunity to present design solutions related to the ways in which to use data collected by institutions, the ways in which institutions may use the potential of social networks and online tools in order to promote their work and communicate with the citizens, as well as the plans of institutions and civil society organizations within the Open Government Partnership.

By joining the OGP Initiative BiH agreed to provide better transparency and openness of government, anti-corruption fight, empowerment of citizens and use of new technologies to provide public services in a more effective and responsive way. However, since September 2014 until recently BiH completely stagnated in terms of fulfilling obligations provided by the OGP Initiative, and thus missed two deadlines to create first BiH Action Plan for establishing open government. In a complete absence of institutional activities in this regard, civil society organizations have been working on creating a proposal of measures for the first BiH Action Plan, consulting the general public, and preparing to present this proposal to the Advisory Council of BiH, as one of the activities within the OGP Initiative. The process of preparing first Action Plan should finally start with the establishment of the Advisory Council of BiH, whose members will be 4 civil society organizations as well.
The Prime Minister of the Federation of BiH, Mr Fadil Novalic, supported the open government principles, and emphasized in his introductory speech the importance of transparency and openness, provided by the Reform Agenda for BiH 2015-2018.
Lejla Ibranovic, the Executive Director of TI BiH, also gave an introductory speech during which she praised the fact that certain institutions decided to make a crucial step forward in this field and started proactively publishing information of public importance. Ibranovic also noted that institutions which completed TI BiH’s training program should be a positive example to other institutions to start activities towards increasing the openness of work of public bodies through sharing their experience and gained knowledge.
„Public institutions must be aware of the fact that the way in which they communicated with the citizens and civil society is not satisfactory and that it is high time to make specific moves. Opening institutions is necessary, and also required by EU in the accession process. Accepting new trends and proactive transparency concept is inevitable“, emphasized Ibranovic.
TI BiH will continue to provide its contribution in order to create more transparent and accountable public administration and to work with the institutions on establishing and strengthening their capacities, and improving mechanisms to increase the involvement of citizens in decision-making processes.

Press rls -1.3.2017. eng