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Argentina Keeps on Opening Up to the World

Rudi Borrmann|

Hosting this event said it all: Argentina keeps on demonstrating that we are pushing the open government agenda at the federal level, and that it is our priority. So much so that the Open Government Week, where national experts and anyone interested in gaining more knowledge and contributing to the conversation shared their experience, listened to talks, and participated in workshops with government and civil society representatives from the region and the world.


We want to learn, collaborate, and move forward. As President Mauricio Macri stated at the beginning of the Americas Regional Meeting, we want “an accountable, citizen-centered state.” We want to continue along the path of open data, transparency, anticorruption, accountability and participation because, in the absence of these pillars, democracy weakens, and so does the relationship between the government and society. Trust declines. The foundation of the nation and citizens’ rights are undermined.


We were not afraid to get into the topics many avoid. The themes we addressed in the meeting were innovative, controversial, and profound: water availability and sustainable management, vulnerable populations, open education, gender equality, corruption, and others. These discussions defined the future commitments that countries will try to establish.


Civil society organizations participated in the meeting and enhanced the debate. They emphasized a variety of topics: the fight against corruption, accountability in response to historical demands, civic technology, and open data. They promoted spaces to leverage the use of these tools for their projects and campaigns.


The result? Over 1500 participants from over 30 countries filled the Centro Cultural Kirchner for 47 panels and 50 talks. Suddenly, the six continents became one, and they encapsulated all their ideals in 600 proposals, the potential of which exceeded all expectations. There were no rankings or competition: the dialogue was horizontal, peer-to-peer. And, without any shame, we attempted to find solutions to and potential ways out of our current problems.


But making progress on our own is hard. Four hands work more than two hands do, and six hands do more work than four, and so on. It sounds basic and cliché, but it is as simple as it is true. The more collaboration, the more hands to amend, support, and build a region of allies that have the same aim, identify joint projects and dialogues, and grow hand in hand. Now, the challenge is to follow up on all our objectives – and not to lower our arms.


Gathering such a large community was a huge challenge and left us with many lessons learned and challenges. Most of all, it left us with a more global vision of our world. This is the best part: we can celebrate what we have achieved, but we also have the ability to acknowledge our flaws and identify what needs to be done. Open government policies are just starting and are here to stay. After all, this is just a small sample of what those who seek to further the open government movement have built and what we aim to achieve. The good news is: there are more and more of us.


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