Open Government Partnership launched in New York by authorities and NGOs
Published on Thu, 2011-09-22 13:04
A group of government and civil society organizations from all over the planet, among them the Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (Inesc, focal point of Social Watch in Brazil), launched this Wednesday in New York the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative that aims to promote transparency, fight corruption, strengthen accountability and empower citizens.
The participant countries, led by the United States and Brazil, pledged to implement an action plan that will be developed and implemented in close consultation with their citizens.
The OGP steering committee is composed of governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States), several national civil society organizations (Africa Center for Open Governance,Kenya); the Brazilian Inesc; Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad; the National Security Archive (US); the Indian MKSS; and Twasweza,Tanzania), as well as other organizations with an international scope (the Revenue Watch Institute, the International Budget Partnership and the Accountability Initiative).
“The most relevant and innovative fact of this initiative is that it continues on from its beginning and in its highest ranks of co-ordination, with civil society organizations committed to the principle of open government,” said Átila Roque, of Inesc.
US president Barak Obama and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff hosted the event this Wednesday at the formal launch of the OGP at a high-level meeting with heads of state and senior officials from 46 countries. The participants focused on their commitment to improve governance, to set up reforms to enhance transparency and fight corruption, and to strengthen mechanisms of democratic accountability.
The eight founding governments signed the Open Government Declaration in which they supported some core principles in four key areas: fiscal and budget transparency, freedom of information, asset disclosures for public officials, and citizen engagement. They also presented a national action plan with commitments to put those principles into practice.
The governments pledged to promote openness, to engage citizens in decision-making, to implement the highest standards of professional integrity, and to increase access to new technologies.
“Whilst welcoming these high level declarations supporting openness in government, we must also note however that the bulk of the work is still to be done,” warned Transparency International on its website.
The national action plans focus on principles such as effective management of natural resource revenues; delivering public information; gender equality; open data; citizen participation; service delivery; public integrity; and government transparency.
“Access to information is moving to a new stage, moving beyond citizens’ access to documents and websites towards a bolder approach. Citizens will soon have the opportunity for exercising a new sense of public control. OGP creates a space for creativity and innovation that will transform our understanding of our right to know,” noted Eduardo Bohorquez, Director of Transparencia Mexicana.