At the Assemblée nationale, Salle Lamartine, Paris
What was it?
Yesterday there was a very interesting conference aiming to promote open government in the French-speaking world. There was a very diverse group of citizens, democracy advocates, local elected officials, members of parliament, researchers (sociology, political science, economists, etc.) developers, activists, civil servants et al. The choice of venue in the Assemblée nationale suggested a real desire to connect grass-roots and high-level policy makers. There were representatives from a range of countries: Tunisia, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Quebec.
Participants want more open data, more open government and more participative processes in the search of:
These factors of resistance explain to some extent the tentativeness and nervousness of projects aiming to introduce more open government into French-speaking politics. There are undoubted benefits to the tools on display:
- greater access to information that influences decision-making and lawmaking via a very navigable, aesthetically pleasing website that also enables comments and contributions from one and all (Parlement&Citoyens);
- better informed and reasoned choices in election campaigns through a visually stunning website comparing candidates and all their declarations, statements, interviews, debates etc. (www.voxe.org) (as an aside – hackathons organised by Voxe push the boat out a lot more, searching for innovation in open government);
- enhanced, more widespread, and accessing normally unheard opinions of social networkers, while breaking down the policies of candidates into understandable chunks, (www.tuttivox.fr) makes the democratic processes of elections more enticing to a wider public.
- (www.propx.fr) goes further in my opinion by enabling participants to go beyond the politician’s narrow framing of debate, aspiring more to promote collaboration in politics rather than the implicit encouragement resulting from the three other tools.
- In a different way, Tunisia’s PDP’s Open Congress website promotes collaboration within the existing policy debate by explicitly encouraging debate on major policy themes (www.vousparticipez.com)
The thirst and enthusiasm for open government is clearly there, as is impressive technical skill and design. My congratulations to all concerned on good work in transparency, accountability and initial participation… I’d like to see more work on the collaboration side too now.
The next event to follow will be on the 16 May in Montreal: “SmartGouv”, see http://webcom-montreal.com/horaire/e-gouv for anyone interested in attending. Edgeryders will be there Lyne Robichaud @Lyne_Robichaud