Revealed: top ten commitments to open government as representatives from 73 countries gather in Brasilia
After its establishment in September 2011, representatives from 43 new member countries of the OGP will announce their action plans to make their governments more open, transparent and accountable. A review of 35 of these action plans – covering countries from North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa – shows a wide range of different priorities which mirror the unique context within each. However the ten most common pledges are:
- Innovative public accountability mechanisms – including a new ‘openness barometer in Slovak Republic, a ‘governance observatory’ in Peru and ‘public scorecard in Dominican Republic.
- Open data portals – covering everything from crime statistics and political party funding to local budgets and procurement (proposed by Chile, Estonia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Peru, Romania, Spain and Tanzania).
- New legal and institutional mechanisms – including the creation of new state agencies (including in Peru and Uruguay), changes to access to information laws and systems (Canada and Croatia) and new anti-corruption laws/strategies (Estonia, Jordan and Peru).
- Improved service delivery – including an interactive local water-point mapping system in Tanzania, digitized medical records in Spain and new/improved portals on service delivery in Italy, Israel, Tanzania and Uruguay.
- Natural resource transparency – Ukraine and Colombia have both signed up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, while Bulgaria, Colombia and Canada are taking steps to increase transparency around natural resources concessions and associated revenues (at both a national and local level).
- International aid – Spain and Canada have committed to making their development agencies more transparent and aligned with international donor reporting agreements like the International Aid Transparency Initiative.
- Public integrity – introduction of new whistle-blower protection laws in Slovak Republic and Montenegro.
- Citizens’ budgets – Bulgaria, Croatia and Tanzania are all creating citizens’ budgets at the national and/or local level to ensure public access to information to where public resources are going in plain, accessible language.
- E-petitions – Ukraine, Slovak Republic, Moldova and Montenegro are all introducing online e-petition portals to collect and respond to citizens’ proposals more quickly and effectively.
- Challenges and prizes – Uruguay, Israel, Italy, Jordan and Colombia are introducing government-sponsored prizes and challenges to encourage the private sector and public agencies to better use government data.
Jorge Hage, Brazilian Minister of State, said: "Although each nation has made commitments to tackle the unique challenges they face, there are a number of common solutions amongst new OGP members. We will give them all the assistance they need to enable their citizens to have a greater involvement in the decisions that affect their lives."
“The OGP annual meeting is a forward looking gathering. It focuses on recognizing new commitments to openness that incoming governments have made and challenges all OGP members to deliver on their promises," US Under-Secretary of State Maria Otero remarked. "By making governments more accountable and responsive, these commitments will improve the lives of 1.9 billion people around the world.”
The commitments of individual countries can be seen on the OGP’s website. Key highlights are available on request.
For more information please call hanover Communications on 0044 207 400 8997, email email@example.com or visit www.opengovpartnership.org.
Notes to Editors
1. About OGP
OGP is an international initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make government more open, effective, and accountable.
It was formally launched on 20 September 2011 when eight founding governments – Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States – endorsed an Open Government Declaration, and announced their country action plans. These founding countries have been joined by a further 43 countries which have developed action plans that will be unveiled in Brasilia. The total of 55 participating governments is reached by a further four countries that have signed the declaration of openness and agreed to present their action plan in 2013.
The combined population of the 55 countries participating in the OGP is 1.93 billion, based on the 2010 statistics from the World Bank (the latest available figures).
2. About the annual meeting
The annual meeting in Brasilia welcomes 1,190 delegates – including representatives from civil society organisations, businesses and governments – to discuss the latest reforms, tools and innovations in the open government field. Case studies, interviews and op-eds are available on request for journalists.
People who are unable to attend the annual meeting have a number of ways to participate virtually from wherever they are. Speeches given by world leaders and breakout panel discussions with open government practitioners will be broadcast live on the OGP website. In addition to engaging with the webcast, live tweeting and blogging, online viewers will be able to pose questions to those being interviewed via OGP’s Facebook page and Twitter hashtag #OGP2012.