The National Information Commission has been at the forefront of promoting access to information and open government data in Nepal. In 2017, they presented their Open Government Data (OGD) Action Plan to the Prime Minister’s Office and recommended its implementation in accordance with Section 19 of the 2008 Right to Information Act. The OGD Action Plan was developed to make necessary laws and policies for open government data and bring about a consistent implementation across government. In the roll out of the new federal structure, the Right to Information (RTI) and OGD will be important tools for informing citizens about the local, provincial and federal government. It is therefore important to raise awareness about RTI, OGD and the OGD Action Plan among government, citizens, media and private sector – in particular at local level.
In order to encourage the promotion of RTI and OGD, and increase awareness about the OGD Action Plan, the D4D Program hosted a one-day national workshop in partnership with Freedom Forum. The workshop, entitled “National Workshop on Promoting the Right to Information and Open Government Data in Federal Nepal” was held on 23rd March, 2018 in Kathmandu. The workshop brought together over 110 participants from government, civil society, media and development agencies to discuss the implications of Nepal’s federal structure on RTI and OGD and how these tools can be promoted and used within the new federal government structure. In addition to providing a platform for the National Information Commission to present their plans to promote RTI and the OGD Action Plan, the workshop aimed to increase awareness about the initiatives of various non-government actors working on these issues at local, provincial and federal levels. This provided the opportunity to identify synergies and possible areas of collaboration.
The workshop was opened by the Chief Information Commissioner with presentations by the National Information Commissioner, Director General of the Central Bureau of Statistics and Information Officer of the Prime Minister’s Office. A panel discussion followed during which participants could ask questions to the presenters, followed by presentations from civil society groups on their initiatives to make central and local-level information and data available. In the afternoon, working groups were formed to discuss ideas for promoting RTI and OGD; ideas for addressing local-level data gaps; ideas to enhance information mechanisms; and ideas for building capacity to use data. These ideas will be used to inform the efforts of the D4D Program and Freedom Forum to further promote RTI and OGD at local, provincial and federal levels.
The report from the workshop can be read here