The Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) has decided on June 28 to maintain the status of Azerbaijan as “inactive” for another year due to persisting constraints on the operating environment for
in 2011, the Open Government Partnership is a multilateral initiative aimed at promoting transparency, fighting corruption and empowering citizens. The initiative first consisted of 8 founding countries: Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States and since its establishment another 67 countries have joined it.
In order to be a member of OGP, governments must show their commitment to open government in four key areas: fiscal transparency, access to information, public officials’ asset disclosure and citizen
. Moreover, countries must develop an action plan.
Members are ranked as Developing Action Plan, Implementing Action Plan and Inactive.
Azerbaijan joined the initiative in 2011 and then in 2016 it became the first country that the OGP Steering Committee had ever declared
. The decision followed a severe crackdown that the Azerbaijani authorities enacted against Azerbaijani civil society.
“We believe open government cannot be achieved without an active citizenry that is free to associate and has access to publicly available government data and information…The OGP Steering Committee decision gives Azerbaijan a chance to renew its commitment to the principles of open and accountable government. Until and unless that happens, the OGP and the international community should continue to pressure Azerbaijan to release prisoners arrested on politically motivated charges, end the systematic harassment of government critics, and ensure that laws regulating civil society are brought in line with international standards”, official statement
Now, the committee has decided to maintain Azerbaijan’s inactive status as it did not manage to improve its status.
“The Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership today resolved that Azerbaijan will maintain its inactive status in OGP, due to unresolved constraints on the operating environment for Non-Governmental Organizations”, the statement reads.
However, the commission has given Azerbaijan another year to improve the situation.
“The government of Azerbaijan will have a second one-year period to address the concerns raised by civil society organizations. The Steering Committee further mandated the Criteria and Standards Subcommittee, in consultation with civil society and government, to develop an updated set of requirements to improve the unresolved issues by September 15, 2017. The requirements will be drafted in consultation with the Government of Azerbaijan, local civil society, and external experts, and the 12-month inactivity extension period will begin once these requirements have been developed”, the official statement reads.