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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Welcomes More Than 2,000 Global Open Government Reformers to Canada  

Nearly 100 countries send representatives from government and civil society to discuss actions to push back against rising threats to democracy globally

Ottawa, Canada – Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau inaugurated the 6th Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit by welcoming more than 2,000 people from around the world, including former Heads of State, ministers, local government officials, and civil society leaders to Ottawa.  For the next two days, they will discuss solutions to rising threats to democracy, such as the misuse and mistrust of social media. They will also focus on how to advance gender and inclusion as a way to foster more responsive and open governments.

The OGP Global Summit comes at a particularly complex time. According to V-Dem, citizens’ ability to freely speak, associate, assemble and therefore to participate in democracy is under assault in more than 100 countries. A new OGP global report – Democracy Beyond the Ballot Box – says that nearly half of OGP members have problems related to civic rights.. The problems may not be as great as elsewhere, but there is a decline in these important measures of civic health.

OGP CEO Sanjay Pradhan hopes the Summit is a time for attendees to discuss new open government approaches to tackle the many challenges democracies around the world are facing today. “In the face of an unprecedented rise in authoritarianism, shrinking civic space and new digital threats to democracy from the spread of disinformation to violations of privacy, it is great to see reformers from government, civil society leaders, parliamentarians and other stakeholders come together to forge a countervailing force to reinvigorate democracy and give power back to the people.”

The honorable, Joyce Murray, President of the Treasury Board of Canada and Minister of Digital Government, welcomed all Summit attendees to Ottawa and looks forward to insightful conversations about inclusion, digital governance, and civic participation. “Canada is committed to accelerating open government at home and internationally as a means to strengthen our democratic accountability in this age of digital disruption. Open government is fundamentally a means of building trust in institutions through open dialogue with an informed public, encouraging widespread citizen participation in decision-making, and providing superior outcomes that include all citizens. We’re honoured to host the Summit in pursuit of these goals,” Murray said.

OGP was created In 2011,  when government leaders and civil society advocates came together to create a unique partnership – one that combines these powerful forces to promote accountable, responsive and inclusive governance.  Seventy-nine countries and a growing number of local governments — representing more than two billion people – along with thousands of civil society organizations are members.

OGP is currently co-chaired by the Government of Canada, represented by Murray and Nathaniel Heller, Executive Vice President of Integrated Strategies at Results for Development and Chair of the OGP Civil Society Steering Committee.  In advance of the Summit the co-chairs announced a focus on inclusion, participation and impact.

To amplify this shared agenda, OGP is launching Break the Roles, an integrated campaign to support 30 percent of OGP members taking a  concrete action to advance gender equality and inclusion through open government by the end of 2019.  A new coalition to promote the campaign will be announced on Thursday, May 29 in a plenary featuring Mary Robinson, first women President of Ireland, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Chair of the Elders.

“Bringing more voices and perspectives into  government leads to improved outcomes. When we include more more women and girls, indigenous communities, religious minorities, and our LGBTQ+ neighbors we are able to design policies that are more ambitious, far-reaching and impactful,” says Heller.

The OGP Summit is taking place at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa from May 29th to 31st.

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About OGP

Open Government Partnership brings together government reformers and civil society leaders to create action plans that make governments more inclusive, responsive and accountable.

The Open Government Partnership formally launched on September 20, 2011, when the 8 founding governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States) endorsed the Open Government Declaration and announced their country action plans. Since 2011, 79 OGP participating countries and 20 subnational governments have made over 3,100 commitments to make their governments more open and accountable.

For questions or to set up interviews please contact: Jose Perez Escotto, Communications Officer, jose.perez@opengovpartnership.org.

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