Europe: Open Government Partnership Marks 5 Year Anniversary at United Nations
*** For Immediate Release ***
NEW YORK – 20 SEPTEMBER 2016 – Open Government Partnership (OGP) marked its fifth anniversary with a high-level forum at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly today.
French President François Hollande, OGP lead government co-chair, addressed the high-level gathering of Heads of State and civil society leaders cautioning that “the real peril for democracy is indifference, and that happens when decisions are made without the people. So it’s our common business—those of us who are involved in this initiative—we really have to make a considerable effort so that democracy can be something that is shared.”
Prime Minister of Georgia and incoming OGP government co-chair, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, highlighted a few of his country’s reforms. “Under the OGP umbrella, we initiated a freedom of information reform with a special emphasis on open data and accessibility of National Archives… fundamentally modified our civil service, put in place an effective asset declarations monitoring system, and encouraged our citizens to get involved in the process of improving public service delivery. The roots of Georgia’s success can be found in co-creation and inclusiveness of government efforts at all levels.”
Andrej Kiska, President of Slovakia, discussed Slovakia’s important work on beneficial ownership. “Slovakia — like everyone else — is not immune to corruption or cronyism. But we are an example of a country where these undesirable activities provoked ground-breaking actions. The most recent example is the forthcoming act tackling shell corporations and beneficial ownership. This state-of-the-art legislative act will establish a new register of beneficial owners of companies with business relations with the government.”
Dacian Ciolos, Prime Minister of Romania, stressed his conviction that “open government, transparency and the rule of law are the keystones to a country’s development. Profound changes require sturdy support and engagement from the highest levels, which need to go beyond the changes of government cabinets.” He concluded by stating, “I am standing in front of you today, to reaffirm the pledge of Romania in being a strong partner to the Open Government Partnership for years to come.”
Following the event, Zuzana Wienk, Director of the Fair Play Alliance and a new member of the OGP Steering Committee, said “it feels encouraging that open government has gained such a strong global advocate in these politically turbulent times when levels of citizens trust in political representation are dropping around the globe. Congratulations to the founders, they have set a great foundation we can build on to make the fruits of open governments more tangible for citizens.”
Veronica Cretu, OGP Steering Committee Member and President of the Open Government Institute, added, “We need a new culture of the government-citizen relationship, one where citizens and government work hand in hand and learn to trust one another. Joining OGP is a great start for both governments and civil society; however, what is much more important is what you do once you are actually in OGP. In the next five years, I challenge governments to be even more open and accountable to the people they serve.”
Launched five years ago today, with eight governments and nine civil society organizations, OGP is a unique international initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make governments more open, effective, and accountable to citizens around the world. Today OGP is composed of 70 governments, 15 subnational governments, seven multilateral organizations, and thousands of civil society organizations who together have made over 3,000 commitments towards open government reform.
Notes to editors:
To view a video recording of the event, please visit our Youtube page.
To watch our “5 Years of OGP” video, please click here.
Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a unique multilateral initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make governments more open, effective, and accountable to citizens around the world.
OGP was formally launched on September 20, 2011, at the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting, when eight heads of state,along with an equal number of civil society leaders, endorsed the Open Government Declaration and published the first cohort of OGP National Action Plans with specific open government reform commitments. OGP has since grown to include 69 governments (representing a third of the world’s population), seven multilateral bodies and hundreds of civil society organizations. OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) holds governments accountable for their commitments by producing thorough, impartial reports that track progress on National Action Plans.
For questions or to set up interviews, please contact:
In New York: Dietlind Lerner, communications director
In Washington DC: Rachel Ostrow, communications officer