In order to improve governance process in the country, members of the House of Representatives (HoR) and National Assembly (NA) have emphasized on need to join Open Government Partnership (OGP) - a multilateral initiative that aims to improving transparency, accountability and citizen engagement. Both upper and lower house have urged the need to consolidate the existing best practices in operation of government and parliament in terms of openness.
At a collaborative discussion organized by Freedom Forum on 13 December, with support from UNDP’s Parliament Support Programme, the speakers claimed that Nepal's participation in the OGP would help establish its global presence. They stated OGP’s association would be vital to strengthen international partnership to promote good governance with open, transparent, accountable and participatory governance together with bridging citizen gaps to demonstrate higher commitment for effective governance in the country.
Addressing the discussion, Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee of HoR, Bharat Kumar Shah emphasized on the need to devise mechanisms for enhancing civic monitoring and participation in government and parliamentary affairs by improving existing openness practices in parliament. Similarly, HoR Finance Committee Chairperson Krishna Prasad Dahal said that Nepal should avail the opportunities offered by OGP to showcase its best practices on governance at international forums.
Chairperson of the Delegated Legislation and Government Assurance Committee of the National Assembly, Ram Narayan Bidari stressed on the reforms needed for presenting bills in the parliament. "It is the legislators' primary work to engage substantively in and scrutinize the law making, but our focus has not been up to the mark because of systemic flaws.'' he said.
Similarly, Chairperson of the Sustainable Development and Good Governance of the National Assembly, Tara Devi Bhatta underlined the urgency of bringing the knowledge of openness to sub-national levels for leveraging transparent and accountable operation of government. "Citizen should monitor all tiers of the government for maintaining good governance in the country. Only an informed citizenry could make the government and parliament responsible and answerable.” she added
At the same discussion, CPN leader and parliamentarian Yogesh Bhattarai also insisted on joining the global movement as the donors also have sought higher commitment for transparency and accountability while providing aid.
Chief Information Commissioner Krishna Hari Baskota and Freedom Forum Executive Chief Taranath Dahal also delivered separate presentations on open government and open parliament, respectively. The presentations highlighted that Nepal has already met the required eligibility criteria on fiscal transparency, access to information, asset disclosure and citizen engagement to be the part of OGP.
The OGP, with its mission of securing concrete commitments from governments to increase accountability and responsiveness to citizens’ needs, can be an important platform in Nepal for realizing the elevated level of interaction needed between civil society and government in order to build the trust needed for achieving 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development and pursuing a common agenda for change.