September 24, 2014
Today the Open Government Partnership celebrated its three-year anniversary. Since its launch in 2011, OGP has grown from eight to 65 participating countries, and from a handful of founding civil society leaders to hundreds of organizations engaged in OGP around the world. OGP countries have made over 2,000 open government reform commitments as part of 87 national action plans. OGP’s rapid growth demonstrates that there is strong demand for more open and accountable government around the world, and that the opportunity to change the culture of government has never been greater.
Showcasing High-Level Support for OGP:
On September 24th, at the United Nations Headquarters, support for OGP was reaffirmed by the presence of 10 Heads of State and Government, over 30 Ministers, and more than 300 civil society leaders from around the world. At the event, OGP formally welcomed Bosnia and Herzegovina as the 65th country to join OGP.
Celebrating Results in Promoting Citizen Engagement:
OGP announced the winners of the first annual Open Government Awards, celebrating successful programs to increase citizen engagement in policy-making. Thirty-three countries entered the 2014 awards competition, and the top three finishers were as follows: in third place, the Philippines for the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting program, in second place Montenegro for a public engagement campaign called “Be Responsible,” and in first place Denmark for a Statutory Elected Senior Citizens’ Council.
Building on Existing Momentum:
To build on this progress and encourage concrete results in all participating countries, OGP has now launched a forward-looking strategy for 2015-2018. The strategy aims to build on the first three years of OGP by sustaining high-level political support for open government reforms, supporting the civil servants responsible for implementing these reforms, broadening civil society engagement in OGP, and promoting accountability for results. The Hivos Foundation announced a commitment of $3.4 million to support the implementation of this strategy and is challenging other OGP donors to make similar commitments.
Renewal of OGP Leadership:
At the event, OGP’s current co-chairs recognized the handover to OGP’s new leadership group. On October 1st, 2014, the Government of Mexico will become the Lead Government Co-Chair and Suneeta Kaimal will become the Lead Civil Society Co-Chair. The Government of South Africa will become the Support Government Co-Chair and Alejandro Gonzalez will become the Support Civil Society Co-Chair. In addition five new civil society representatives and three new governments will join the Steering Committee.
Securing New Pledges of Support for OGP Implementation:
The High-Level Event ended with the announcement of new pledges from OGP countries to support each other in implementing their OGP commitments. These peer exchange activities are designed to build a more active and supportive network of open government reformers around the world. A total of 32 countries have made new pledges on issues such as access to information, open data, budget transparency, citizen engagement and corruption.
In addition, 13 civil society organizations have made new pledges to mobilize their networks to get involved in the OGP process in one or more participating countries. OGP’s five Working Groups and five Multilateral Partners each made pledges of support to help countries make more ambitious commitments and implement them. The pledges are summarized below.
ANNEX 1 SUMMARY OF PLEDGES
New Participating Countries:
Bosnia and Herzegovina has submitted its letter of intent to participate in OGP.
France will complete its first National Action Plan in the coming months.
Malawi will complete its first National Action Plan in the coming months.
Tunisia published its first National Action Plan on September 23rd, 2014, and pledges to implement it fully over the next two years.
Participating countries pledge support to their peers:
Brazil offers support on implementing an access to information law, from drafting the bill to making the law work.
Canada will support the creation of open government commitments both at home and abroad with a focus on enhanced international collaboration on peer review, national action plans, and open data.
Chile offers assistance on implementing and monitoring access to information law at a national level.
Colombia will leverage experience from "Urna de Cristal" - a channel for citizens to ask questions and the government responds - to help with implementation of citizen participation in ICT.
Costa Rica will support the development a social dialogue with citizens and civil society organizations to promote the joint creation of public policy and initiatives.
Croatia will share experiences in the area of improving government responsiveness as key to meaningful citizens engagement.
El Salvador offers to support countries in the region to organize hackathons to develop c software.
Finland pledges to support the implementation of the OGP national action plan through a network of civil servants that also promotes exchanges of best practices between different public institutions.
Georgia pledges to support innovative solutions for building efficient public services, such as through the Public Service Hall (PSH) and Community Centers (CC).
Greece commits to assisting countries implement access to information law and enhance transparency and public deliberation by sharing knowledge accumulated from the country’s flagship Transparency Program.
Guatemala pledges to support raising awareness of access to public information through the Citizen Participation through the program “Dialogues of Citizen Participation."
Hungary offers its experience in teaching integrity for public officials including train the trainer workshop and curriculum development.
Indonesia offers its experience in natural resources governance particularly through its role as a Co-Anchor of the Openness in Natural Resources Working Group.
Ireland will share best practice, knowledge and expertise with its Northern Ireland counterparts and assist each other in relation to Open Data.
Italy is committed to promoting transparency on public spending and to empower citizens in playing a stronger role in shaping local development.
Mexico pledges to work with countries in bringing open government principles to practice, consolidating a true partnership between governments and civil society, making this initiative a platform for global cooperation and exchange.
Republic of Moldova commits to enforce the Open Data Policy to increase transparency, improve service delivery, and fight corruption.
The Netherlands will share experience on open data, informal approach of public service and innovative ways of involving civil society.
Norway will contribute to sharing how to establish and regulate an independent Post-Employment Committee for politicians.
Panama will share expertise in the area of access to public information to increase transparency, accountability and participation.
The Philippines commits to providing assistance in the areas of Civil Society Engagement, particularly participatory budgeting, and Open Data.
Sierra Leone will assist other countries in developing strong civil society and civic engagement activities in an innovative and sustainable manner.
The Slovak Republic pledges to promote Open Data in order to improve government transparency as well as non-government and business re-use of data.
South Africa will deepen community participation in public affairs through citizen-based monitoring of government performance in order to strengthen public accountability and drive service delivery improvements.
Sweden supports countries in monitoring aid transparency as well as developing International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) commitments and a transparency guarantee.
The United Kingdom commits to keep all of its national open data tools free for anyone to reuse, and to provide advice and documentation on how to use them.
The United States will work with countries to globalize the open data movement and make government-held data more accessible to the public.
Uruguay will support implementation of activities related to open data, access to information law and e-participation, including strategy formalization and implementation of public consultation process.
Civil Society Organizations pledge to promote OGP:
Article 19 will promote the inclusion of access to information and public participation by governments in design of Sustainable Development Goals and the accompanying indicators. Along with that, Article 19 will provide assistance to local communities and policy makers on use of RTI to achieve development rights including right to water, health, land and education.
CAFOD will support the UK commitments to transparency, accountability and participation by offering experience on what works in international development.
Global Integrity is keen to help civil society organisations and governments in OGP countries to assess whether citizens are able to use information to track and influence the use of public resources to deliver public services.
Hivos contributes $3.4 million to the Open Government Partnership 4 year strategy and will actively support civil society engagement in 8 countries.
Integrity Action offers advice and support on innovative ways of engaging civil society, business and government, and enabling citizen feedback and collective problem solving to close the feedback loop and improve services in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
International Budget Partnership supports civil society organizations in 30 countries in making use of the IBP real time data tool to push for more ambitious commitments on fiscal transparency.
IREX-Ukraine is working to ensure all Ukrainians have free access to government information and tools through the country’s network of public libraries.
Making All Voices Count will support national and local OGP processes and commitments in Ghana, Philippines and South Africa over the next 3 years.
ONE will work with partners to provide an assessment on the degree to which the information citizens need to follow the money is available, is being used, and is leading to improved service delivery particularly in a small number of African countries.
Oxfam will work with its country offices in ten aspiring OGP countries and 36 member countries to engage with local and national OGP processes, especially in Africa.
Restless Development will support youth-led accountability initiatives in Ghana, Nepal and Tanzania.
Transparency International pledges to involve more people in open governance activism through its network of anti-corruption activists in 90% of OGP countries.
Web Foundation will support the Open Data Working Group’s efforts to meet its goals in developing countries to the amount of $200,000 by 2016.
OGP Working Groups pledge to provide expertise to OGP countries:
The Access to Information Working Group will work towards making the right of access to information a key component of the OGP Agenda and national action plans, and to support ATI commitments.
The Fiscal Openness Working Group will support OGP country members to make significant improvements in fiscal transparency, participation and accountability through the adoption and implementation of ambitious commitments, peer-learning, and technical assistance.
The Legislative Openness Working Group will support the engagement of legislatures in the creation, implementation, and oversight of action plan commitments, and to create opportunities for peer exchange related to legislative openness.
The Open Data Working Group will support OGP nations in the adoption and implementation of strong and consistent Open Data principles and practices.
The Openness in Natural Resources Working Group is committed to increased understanding of the importance of natural resource governance, with the aim having more and better quality commitments.
OGP Multilateral Partners pledge to support OGP countries:
The Asian Development Bank pledges to convene governments, civil society and other actors to foster learning and innovation across countries.
The Inter-American Development Bank is assisting Latin America attain more effective, efficient and open governments for better public services and more accountability.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development will engage with governments around the world to drive open government reforms in partnership with citizens and business.
United Nations Development Programme will continue its support to program countries that are also members of the OGP in the development and implementation of national action plan, through existing or future projects and programs.
The World Bank supports OGP at the country level with preparation and implementation of action plans as well as global level with facilitation of peer exchanges for reformers.
In addition, the United States commits to new commitments in their Action Plan:
The United States Open Government National Action Plan is an evolving, living document and today President Obama announced that in addition to the commitments outlined in the current National Action Plan, the United States will take additional steps to be more open, transparent, and accessible for all Americans. The United States will:
- Improve transparency in government spending, making it easier to understand how and where the federal government spends and invests;
- Expand the country’s efforts to build better government digital services, including building them in the open;
- Ensure that the US protects personal privacy while harnessing the power of big data to improve health care, fight discrimination, and protect the public from crime; and
- Promote open educational resources, to help teachers and students everywhere.
ANNEX 2 DETAILS OF COUNTRY PLEDGES
In advance of the OGP High-Level Event at the United Nations on September 24th 2014 all OGP participating countries were asked to make a commitment to engage in peer exchange and support activities with other OGP counties. This included the one sentence summary included in the Outcome Statement, and the details behind each commitment which are below.
Participating countries pledge support to their peers on a range of issue areas:
- Public Participation – Governmental leaders in Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Sierra Leone, and South Africa offer to deepen citizen engagement in policy making.
- Access to Information – Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Panama, and Uruguay will work with governments to promote access to public information.
- Fiscal Transparency – Governments in Italy, the Philippines, and Sweden pledge to share their experience in putting more and better quality information online, allowing citizens to hold them accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars.
- Open Data – The nations of Canada, Ireland, Moldova, the Netherlands, Slovak Republic, the United Kingdom and the United States commit to supporting initiatives to make government-held data more accessible to the public.
- Government Integrity – Hungary and Norway offers experience in increasing public integrity in public administration and in post-employment regulations respectively.
- Public Service Delivery – Georgia pledges assistance in creating innovative solutions for to improve public service delivery.
- Natural Resource Transparency – Indonesia will share its experience in enhancing good governance in natural resource management.
- Open Government Principles – Governments in Finland and Mexico will support the implementation of open government principles and the development of the OGP national action plan.
Please view the PDF version of this statement to read the full details of each country pledge.