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Environment and Climate

In the face of intensifying climate change, resilient governments will require new policies and innovations. The values of open government – transparency, public participation, and accountability – allow governments and citizens to see the true costs of pollution, discuss alternative approaches for development, and ensure there is adequate public oversight of government action.

Overview | Recommendations | Partners | Documents | Commitments | Recent Posts

Credit: Li-An Lim via Unsplash

Overview

Environmental policies have long been the crucible for open government – from instituting public participation through environmental impact assessments, to disclosure through pollutant release transfer registers, to publishing enforcement and compliance data online. Of course, the challenges of the global climate require new policies, instruments, and innovations to ensure maximum resilience against intensifying climate changes. 

Transparency allows governments, citizens, and markets to see the true cost of pollution and develop responses to that information. It also provides information on the amount of subsidies granted to fossil fuel and related industries. Public participation creates opportunities and forums to discuss and weigh alternative approaches for development. This is especially vital for vulnerable communities who are disproportionately impacted by climate change but who may not typically have a seat in decision-making spaces. Finally, ensuring that there is accountability for decision-making, through adequate access to justice, public oversight of decision-making, and well-established grievance and dispute resolution mechanisms can help ensure safer and healthier communities.

The added pressure of protecting against the worst effects of climate change requires additional innovation. Open data and access to information on greenhouse gas (GHG) contributions can help drive innovation and identify high return-on-investment alternatives to GHG-intensive activities. Public participation in legislation, regulation, and planning for both mitigation and adaptation can increase public buy-in and improve public awareness. This is critical in planning for the increasingly unpredictable and sometimes disastrous effects of a warming world.

As countries rebuild from the devastating e!ects of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have an opportunity to think long-term and invest in a more sustainable future. Many OGP members have created new green initiatives and dedicated recovery spending to green transitions. However, such measures make up only a small fraction of these large amounts of recovery funds, even in countries that portray themselves as climate leaders. Looking ahead, open data about ‘green’ initiatives and contracts as well as oversight of large sums of money – whether domestic or international resources for climate adaptation or mitigation – will be critical to reducing potential for misuse and corruption. 

OGP members are making more environment and climate commitments in recent years. Commitments have often focused on publishing data and research about pollution and climate change, and some commitments seek to involve citizens in environmental policy-making through climate resiliency programs and conservation efforts. Fewer commitments on environment and climate involve public accountability elements, but almost all that do have been evaluated by OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism as highly ambitious.

Governments and civil society alike can use the OGP platform to act and subsequently share their innovations to help mitigate the worst effects of climate change.



Recommendations

Greater Scope of Transparency

  • Publish sectoral greenhouse gas reporting and ensure data is interoperable for comparison between countries and sectors. 
  • Make fossil fuel subsidies and their impact more transparent.
  • Provide greater transparency of information on climate in national budgets.
  • Improve transparency of the use and impact of green transition funds and plans.
  • Disclose climate-related investment risks and corresponding mitigation measures.

Civic Participation

  • Guarantee adequate participation, especially for vulnerable groups, in the design and implementation of green measures.
  • Invest in climate-smart infrastructure and human systems, and allow the public to help prioritize these investments through participatory budgeting.

Institutional Reform

  • Promote regulatory reform, such as by enhancing regulatory impact assessment processes, ending enforcement holidays, and applying a multi-stakeholder approach to regulatory changes. 
  • Sponsor research and development with time-limited protections on the data.
  • Create robust channels for citizens to seek remedy and redress for harms, present and future.

Documents

  1. Open and Sustainable Public Procurement

    This toolkit by the Open Contracting Partnership will help you to rethink sustainable public procurement driving better adoption and measurement…

    , Outbound Link, Web Page

  2. Environment and Climate Fact Sheet

    A look at global progress and member-level examples of environment and climate work in OGP

    2021, Document, PDF

  3. Implementing the Paris Climate Agreement through Transparency, Participation, and Accountability

    Explore how open government approaches can support ambitious and equitable climate actions that are backed with the political will and…

    2021, Resource, Web Page

  4. Implementing Open Data Strategies for Climate Action: Suggestions And Lessons Learned for Government and Civil Society Stakeholders

    The World Resources Institute and Open Data Charter promotes greater accessibility of climate-related data by building government officials’ and other…

    , Outbound Link, Web Page

  5. Buenos Aires Cambio Climático (Buenos Aires Climate Change)

    Explore how the City of Buenos Aires, Argentina is working to be a more resilient, inclusive and carbon neutral city.T

    , Outbound Link, Web Page

  6. Data for Climate Action in Chile - Final Report

    Effective responses to fight climate change require the collection, sharing and use of data. Explore findings from the Open Data…

    , Outbound Link, Web Page

  7. A Guide to Open Government and the Coronavirus: Green Transitions – Climate and Environment

    The economic, social, climate, and health crises of 2020 are undoubtedly costly, but they present an opportunity to build back…

    2020, Guidance Document, Web Page

  8. Natural Resources Fact Sheet

    Snapshot of global progress and member-level examples of natural resources work in OGP

    2019, Document, PDF

  9. Collective Actions on Climate and Sustainable Development through the Open Government Partnership

    2017, Document, PDF

  10. Open Climate Governance Primer

    As OGP co-chairs in 2016-2017, the Government of France and World Resources Institute made climate change and sustainable development core…

    2017, Resource, Web Page


Commitments


Recent Posts

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Opening the Americas

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Faces of Open Government: Daniel Carranza

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Four Takeaways from the First Meeting of the Local Circle on Climate Action

Learn how OGP members are using open gov approaches to take climate action, plus find key lessons from the first OGP Local Circle on Climate Action.

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Open Government Partnership