Prime Minister of Estonia Welcomes Open Government Leaders to Tallinn
Heads of State and Government Pledge to Advance Initiatives to Tackle Corruption, Protect Civic Space, and Promote Digital Governance
Tallinn, Estonia – Estonia’s Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, inaugurated the 8th Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit by welcoming more than 1,000 people from around the world, including Heads of State, ministers, local government officials, and civil society leaders to Tallinn. Days after the Tallinn Digital Summit, open government reformers will discuss solutions to rising threats to democracy and the importance of the direct involvement of civil society organizations and citizens in creating and overseeing the decisions that impact their lives.
Heads of State and Government pledged to continue advancing efforts to address corruption, protect civil liberties and create a safe digital environment for citizens in their countries.
The timing of the OGP Summit is critical as open government and democracy are facing unprecedented threats globally. Authoritarian and populist leaders have attempted to restrict space for civil society, spread disinformation online, and attack human rights. The OGP Summit will take place a little more than 1,000 kilometers from the capital of Ukraine – where the threats we face globally can be felt directly, daily.
The Partnership Grows
At the Summit, Timor-Leste was officially welcomed to the Open Government Partnership after being granted membership earlier this year. Timor-Leste joins other countries in Asia-Pacific working with OGP like Australia, Indonesia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, and Sri Lanka.
For the first time in the Partnership’s history, the OGP Steering Committee resolved to now consider non-universally recognized applicants to join OGP. With this new change, Kosovo is now the latest member of the Partnership. Non-universally recognized applicants are not eligible to run for the OGP Steering Committee or vote in the selection of its members.
OGP also announced a new opportunity for local governments to join the Partnership this year. The new expansion of OGP Local has a planned intake of up to 50 new local governments in 2024. Local jurisdictions from countries participating in OGP that are not suspended at the time of applications and local jurisdictions in non-participating countries eligible to join OGP can apply to join OGP Local.
A Challenge to be More Ambitious
OGP’s Chief Executive Officer, Sanjay Pradhan recognized the need to tackle global crises including climate change, COVID-19, and the rise of authoritarianism to strengthen and deliver better democracies for citizens.
To really meet the moment and scale up open government progress across the Partnership, Pradhan announced the launch of the Open Government Challenge during the Summit opening plenary. This five-year Challenge calls on the open government community to raise the ambition of actions and commitments – within or outside the OGP action plan – to address themes like anti-corruption, digital governance, climate change, and open justice.
“So what should be our response and action? Through the Open Government Challenge that we launch today, we are calling on all OGP members to scale up ambition and action on ten vital policy reforms that tackle pressing societal challenges. As you take up our Open Government Challenge, I invite you to share your successes and lessons on the OGP platform, so we inspire one another and become the hub of the coolest, most impactful reforms, inside or outside OGP” said Pradhan.
Over the next five years, all members of the Partnership should aim to raise the ambition of reforms in these areas. Importantly, we hope that every member of the Partnership will participate and demonstrate relevant progress in at least one area of the Challenge through their OGP action plans or beyond.
To help reformers evaluate the performance and find inspiration for more ambitious reforms, OGP has launched a new edition of the Open Government Guide, a go-to spot for the resources reformers need – like model reforms, examples from across the Partnership, stories, and guidance on all the Challenge topics – to rise and meet the Challenge.
New OGP Steering Committee Leadership
The OGP Global Summit will also conclude Estonia and Anabel Cruz’s terms as Co-Chairs of the OGP Steering Committee. During their one-year chairship, both parties provided a strategic direction for the Partnership as it embarked on creating and implementing OGP’s five-year strategy to further democratic values and norms, specifically in fighting corruption, supporting civic freedoms, and promoting better digital governance.
“When governments and civil society organizations work together to address challenges they create solutions that are more ambitious, and results for citizens are noticeably stronger,” said Cruz. “I am proud to have led the Partnership along with the Government of Estonia at a crucial time for democracies everywhere and I look forward to the Steering Committee’s new leadership.”
Estonia and Cruz will be succeeded by the Government of Kenya and Blair Glencorse, Co-CEO of Accountability Lab. They will chair the OGP Steering Committee for one year starting on October 1, 2023.
The OGP Steering Committee voted the Government of Spain as the next incoming co-chair to lead the Partnership in 2024.