NaCCED engages CSOs, media on 4th NAPD
September 13, 2021
By Yusufu S. Bangura
National Council for Civic Education and Development (NaCCED), in collaboration with Campaign for Good Governance and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) steering committee, has on Thursday 9th September 2021, held a day’s high level OGP consultative meeting with civil society organisations and the media on the 4th National Action Plan Development (NAPD).
The one day consultative meeting was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown.
Speaking at the meeting, Chairman for NaCCED, Kalilu Ibrahim Totangi, said the aim of the meeting was to raise further awareness amongst CSOs and the media on the OGP process and to discuss possible commitment in the 4th NAPD.
He said the OPG provides a unique platform where government, CSOs and media work together with camaraderie, using delicate negotiation and mediation to address crippling issues of trust and helps both sides see that they are working towards a shared goal.
NaCCED chairman said Sierra Leone became a member of the Global Open Government Partnership in 2013 when they met the four criteria of assets declaration, fiscal transparency, citizens engagement and access to information, adding that since that time now, government has formed an invaluable partnership with CSOs and the media through citizens engagement to develop and implement robust open government reform within two year.
He said the OGP has been in existence but when President Bio took power, they had visitor from OGP Secretariat who tried to find out what would be the area of commitment to the process of OGP and at that time they had a sounding support from the government.
He said since that time to date they have come up with commitment on different areas like gender, education, access to justice among others, adding that they were also looking to commitment that the government have showed interest in, thus if they work they with government closely they will achieve their goal.
“I want to thank the government for their tremendous support towards the OGP process because in the area of SGBV they have done well by setting up a separate court for gender violence and there is also a great progress in the area of education, but there are still challenges. Sierra Leone has recorded 3rd in the Global ranking of OGP because we have made a lot of progress,” he said.
He said the OGP is a government process, but for them, civil society and the media can advise the government on some areas they need the government to be more transparent because they made an open and transparent so that they can make progress as a society in terms of development.
Executive Director for Campaign for Good Governance, Marcella Samba Sesay said in the 3rd NAPD there were series of progressive governance commitment which CSOs, media and government put together to develop the county, so the first issues they looked at was around the area of gender equality, structural process around laws and policies.
She said progress has been made in the area of gender, adding that before now there were issues around open parliament, but the 3rd NAPD looked at open governance partnership and that there has been parliamentary open day.
She concluded that to make the 4th NAPD more effective, they would look at five key areas which include improving public services, increasing public integrity, more effective management of public resources, creating safer communities and improving corporate accountability.
Giving the keynote address, Minister of Information and Communications, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, said when President Bio took over governance in 2018 they had high level of visitors from the OGP global secretariat and that they were concerned as to whether government measure up their commitment during the campaign.
He said during their visit, President Bio reiterated and reaffirmed his commitment to the values of good governance, particularly open governance.
He said the 3rd NAPD was a review process that set the agenda for the 4th NAPD, adding that so many goods were laid out and as a government they have not lost anything through CSOs, but rather they have tried to ensure that they build a sustainable relationship based on peaceful and mutual respect.
Minister Swaray said they believed in the value of openness, consultations and the benefit that are good to the nation.
“I want everyone to remain strong to the open government process to ensure that we serve to the best of our ability, irrespective of whatever consideration because at the end of the day it is only a free, open and on combat Sierra Leone that will work for everyone either in or out of government,” he said.