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Faces of Open Government: Danilo Manzano

Rostros de Gobierno Abierto: Danilo Manzano

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Ecuador joined OGP in 2018 and are ready to submit their first action plan this year with a clear emphasis on inclusion. At the 6th OGP Global Summit, LGBTQ+ advocate and open government champion Danilo Manzano shared his thoughts about the importance of including new and diverse voices to OGP processes as well as the need to have more commitments that reflect the needs of all citizens, especially those who have been pushed to the sidelines for too long. 

Ecuador just joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and will submit its first action plan this year. Which commitments can we expect to see in this action plan?

In joining OGP, Ecuador is working on four fundamental areas for the creation of a new democracy. We are taking on commitments related to transparency and access to public information, integrity and public accountability, citizen participation and collaboration, and public and citizen innovation.

These commitments are living up to the expectations of democracy in the 21st century. Academia, a diverse civil society and the state are taking on the responsibility of co-creating an open government action plan that promotes wide, free and meaningful participation.

Our goal is ambitious, but not impossible to attain, as long as each participating stakeholder understands that the sum of our efforts is what makes this process legitimate, while being able to define the individual and collective responsibilities that will ensure the effective implementation of the action plan.

In this context, we as civil society expect the state to act and that the relationship between the three stakeholder groups is horizontal and free of any co-opting and political manipulation.

This partnership allows citizens to understand that their role in this process is key, as it shows the inequality gaps and the lack of state action that have historically prevented democracy to become open and inclusive.

The co-creation process of this action plan took the risk of inviting a wide range of stakeholders and conducting a decentralized process, in such a way that social organizations, including those representing remote areas of the country, are able to voice their demands through plans, ideas, and projects.

Danilo addresses civil society and government officials – including the Vice-President of Ecuador – at a high-level event during Open Gov Week.

The process consisted of 8 dialogues conducted in different cities across the country, for a total of 314 proposals that then became 39 potential commitments. These are currently being prioritized and further refined. In line with the process timeline, these commitments will be implemented over the course of the next two years.

 This diverse plan strengthens the pillars of open government and allows historically marginalized organizations to participate in its co-creation. LGBTIQ and women groups participated in this process, which resulted in the establishment of a commitment to end violence against women and the LGBTI community.

The fact that the LGBTIQ community participated in the co-creation of Ecuador’s open government action plan is a significant milestone.

 

Why is it important to include LGBTQ+ voices in open government processes?

We are a time of diversity. Historical exclusion and worldwide struggle highlight the need to claim back our rights and access to equal opportunities.

In Ecuador, we will soon celebrate just 22 years since homosexuality was decriminalized in the Constitution. Before 1971, being LGBTIQ was considered a crime, and the state used to incarcerate the bold who dared to defy the system by increasing their visibility.  

We cannot talk about democracy if it does not include meaningful participation of sex and gender diversity as as relevant stakeholder for decision making and better planning of the country’s strengthening.

We must guarantee that all voices are heard in co-creation processes that seek to create stronger democracies in the name of open government.

This tool allows for organized and individual voices to continue to fight for equal access to health, education, employment, housing, social security and more. Thus, we want to show that, in practice, we contribute to creating better states. But our identities must be recognized at all levels, and guaranteeing equal rights should not be a privilege, but a historic debt to be paid across the world.

Diálogo Diverso is a civil society organizations participating in the country’s co-creation process. 

 

How can we leverage OGP to further the rights of the LGBT community?

First, it allows us to organize internally. We cannot make demands if we do not know what we want. Second, we must understand what open government is and what it is not, because the effective use of this potential form of collaboration can bring about effective outcomes.  

OGP allows us to come closer to people, be familiar with new dynamics and create a participatory citizenry that does not exclude diverse groups, but understands their importance for decision making processes and has a sense of respect for our needs and their implications for our everyday lives.

The partnership allows us to rethink, from the LGBTI perspective, the construction of our country. It also helps us understand the frameworks behind the establishment of pluralistic mechanisms and strategies.

This partnership will help us regain the solidarity we had lost, resulting in individual fights, leaving behind the most valuable component, which is to work in diversity and seek better days for everyone and for the full recognition of human rights without discrimination.

Comments (2)

Maria Gabriela Alvear Reply

Excelente entrevista a Danilo Manzano, defensor de derechos en Ecuador, Gobierno Abierto es una nueva forma de construir democracia.

Maribel Albán Reply

Enriquecedora entrevista sobre el Gobierno Abierto, en este contexto considero pertinente realizar algunas acotaciones: La participación del Ecuador en este tema tiene un enfoque de defensa de los derechos humanos especialmente de los grupos más vulnerables. En este contexto debe ser prioridad considerar a las personas con discapacidad, que cuentan con menos oportunidades de acceder a servicios básicos, salud, hasta el empleo.

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