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Our Vision: Make Open Government Count by Enhancing Its Impact

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Government of France and World Resources Institute Co-Chair priorities 2016-2017

We aim to ensure that the Open Government Partnership has a tangible impact on the wellbeing of people and their ability to engage in decisions that affect their lives. To achieve this, we will develop innovative tools and partnerships to strengthen the relationship between governments and their people. We will prioritize our efforts on Climate Change and Sustainable Development; Transparency, Integrity and Anti-Corruption, and Digital Commons.  We will open the Partnership to new members, stakeholders and constituencies, and improve how OGP works.

On September 20th, during the United Nations General Assembly, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) celebrates 5 years since it was launched in New York in 2011. Much has been achieved over this period. The Partnership has grown from just a few to 70 countries and countless NGOs, with over 3,000 open government commitments and a multitude of innovations developed through new kinds of collaborations between governments and civil society. We believe there is an opportunity to deepen engagement in the OGP by the governments and civil society organizations that have already joined this remarkable global effort – an effort that promotes fundamental values to achieve inclusive and sustainable societies through transparency, citizen participation, professional integrity and access to new technologies.

From October 1st, the Government of France and the World Resources Institute become the new co-chairs of the OGP. We are jointly committed to an ambitious agenda, centered on making the OGP transformational with visible effects on peoples’ lives. We seek to improve the way they engage in decisions that affect their lives. In other words, to work towards democracies that are more sustainable, inclusive and efficient. To achieve this, we will enhance hands-on collaborations between members and develop innovative tools and partnerships to strengthen the relationship between governments and citizens. We are also seeking to increase the relevance of the OGP by broadening engagement with a more diverse group of civil society organizations, legislatures and the private sector. We are committed to deepening the application of open government principles across government departments and engaging city, municipal and regional governments as active partners in the OGP. A new subnational pilot program is already being developed to encourage and connect all these vibrant local initiatives. Moreover, we believe the partnership needs to continue to grow to be more visible on the international stage. While actively working with current members, we aim to bring new countries into the OGP, in particular countries that are willing to a play a future leadership role as well as improving how OGP works.

We have defined three core priorities for the OGP in the coming year. The first is climate change and sustainable development. This is a new thrust for the OGP. It has acquired major significance since the signing of the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change last year. We believe open government has enormous potential to advance progress on climate action through more transparent and participatory development of climate policies in OGP countries, providing open data and information as resources for citizens who wish to get involved.

We are working with OGP countries to include climate commitments in their OGP National Action Plans (NAPs). Several have already done so, notably France, Mexico and the United States, and more recently Sierra Leone and Kenya. We hope to encourage more countries in the coming year to adopt similar commitments and serve as a beacon for others to follow.

In its 2015-­2016? National Action Plan, France committed to involve? civil society in the COP21 conference and promote transparency regarding the agenda and negotiations; invest in opening data sets and creating visualizations related to climate and sustainable development; provide data, models and simulators regarding climate and energy transitions; and initiate new collaborations with civil society to develop innovative solutions to meet the challenges of climate change.

Our second priority is transparency, integrity and anti-corruption. Government transparency and personal as well as collective integrity are core values embodied in the OGP Declaration. Fostering progress on transparency and improving the fight against corruption by engaging citizens through oversight and monitoring progress  is necessary to ensure stronger accountability. It is a prerequisite to help restore trust in public institutions. Much progress has been achieved in this area since the OGP’s inception. We will continue to support initiatives such as transparency and integrity obligations for public servants, greater transparency on lobbying, whistleblower protection,  and development and implementation of standards on fiscal transparency, beneficial ownership and open contracting. We will support innovations to enforce anti-corruption regulation and mechanisms, both at national and international levels.

The third priority is building digital commons. Sharing digital resources such as data and source code in an open format is key for encouraging innovation and knowledge sharing, improving public services and fostering new forms of collaboration between the public and private sectors. These resources (e.g., open data, open source software, algorithms) can facilitate co-creation and inclusive decision-making. We must work to unlock the full potential of digital resources for open government everywhere. This requires identifying how all OGP countries can take full advantage of the digital revolution, ensuring citizens as well as government reformers are empowered to address inequalities in access and technological literacy.

We will continue to support existing priorities developed by the previous co-chairs. These include the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and using the SDG Declaration to galvanize progress on using open government to accelerate progress on SDG implementation in OGP countries. We also intend to support further progress on openness and natural resources with more countries developing ambitious NAP commitments on this theme.

We recognize that we cannot pursue this ambitious agenda on our own. We know that these commitments will endure beyond our one-year tenure as OGP co-chairs. We are building on the work led by the 70 governments and thousands of civil society organizations engaged in the OGP. For these reasons, we are actively partnering with the Steering Committee members and the Support Unit in taking this work forward and laying the basis for achieving lasting outcomes and durable impact going forward.

 

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