Daastan in collaboration with Accountability lab Pakistan recently conducted a Panel Discussion under the OGP Youth Summit 2020. Through this Summit, Daastan not only represented the youth of Pakistan globally but also provided a voice to the leaders and change-makers within Pakistan. The Live stream was conducted in partnership with Open Gov Partnership, Restless Development and Accountability Lab Pakistan. Our speakers and participants reflected upon effective and actionable solutions on how to re-engage Pakistan in the OGP and what role our young people and other key stakeholders can play to support this process at national and sub national levels.
The event was hosted by our CEO, Syed Ommer Amer. Ommer began the session by highlighting the need for open government and partnership of youth in the socio-political space of Pakistan. Our first Panelist was Mr Fayaz, country director of Accountability Lab Pakistan.
Current Status of OGP in Pakistan
According to Mr Fayaz, Pakistan signed up with OGP in 2016 and despite a rocky road, has survived and thrived. Fayaz emphasised on the Role of accountability lab in promoting open government. According to him, the most vital government departments like health, education etc will develop and excel faster in an open government environment. Fayaz also mentioned that Pakistan comprises 67% of youth who are eager to contribute to the way their country is run.
We were then joined by Mr Daniyal Hayat – Advisor KP Minister of Science and Technology. Daniyal talked about the change he had witnessed in KPK Government in the past few years on account of the open government schemes that the KPK Government adopted. He mentioned that the best local example can be seen in the work of KPK IT board who have digitized governance through digital FIRs etc.
The Next Step To OGP in Pakistan
Ms Shreya Basu Director OGP joined us next. She shared her views regarding engagement at national level. Ms Shreya commented that engagement at the national level has been quite challenging in the past few years. She listed four ways that can help increase engagement. First and foremost, through Awareness. Shreya mentioned that sub national government sectors are growing. We need to create avenues to connect OGPs to real issues and challenges of every day and not limit agendas to action plans and dialogues.
Shreya went on to explain how myth busting is crucial to advancement. Furthermore, through forging Alliances, and connecting with the right people it becomes easier to reach goals. Last but not the least, Shreya discussed how Adaptation can help find alliances in government that are open to the change you’re seeking.
Our last speaker was Ms. Sidra Amin. Sidra discussed the importance of including youth in discussions and open government platforms. She shared her own experience of tapping into marginalised communities and connecting with youth for a peacebuilding project named Shanakht. Sidra also discussed the role of the KPK government in achieving and maintaining inclusivity.
The session ended with a question answer session where the panelists shared their expertise and addressed public concerns. Daastan is proud to be a part of this healthy debate and seeks to continue to make efforts for the future of OGPs in Pakistan.