Faces of Open Government – Denisse Miranda
In this section of the OGP newsletter, we feature open government champions both from government and civil society, and ask them about their OGP experiences. Here is what they have to say:
How does open government make a difference in peoples lives?
Open government at its core is all about returning to the very basic principles of democracy, the pillars under which civilizations have the ability to grow, evolve and endure crisis. It makes a difference in peoples lives, in a way similar to re building a family after a crisis; it opens up dialogue to re build the roads for change and development. Open Government is more than an initiative; it is a model for public administration with a human rights focus, where citizens and rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of information are conceived as building blocks to improve public institutions and public policy towards stronger democracies and development results. As an initiative, OGP has the potential to become in the next years the bridge where governability and accountability meet development and poverty reduction though an open, participative, citizen driven public service delivery.
How have you benefited from exchanging ideas with your government?
Having the opportunity to experience OGP from a civil society view point and now as part of the IRM research team for my country I have two different takes from exchanging ideas with government. As part of civil society it has helped us understand more the “public” way of creating, so that we can adjust our “civil society” work into a “country” way of co-creating. From the IRM researcher stand point, I have found that objective information is key to all parts involved in the open government process, especially in the co-creating process to understand what is really working, what open government really is all about and how we can improve our participation in this initiative. Open government is a model of public administration that aims for development through improved governability and accountability mechanisms, therefore having the initiative bring together under the same principles different stakeholders that in one way or another participate in this process contributes to foster an enabling environment for credibility in public institutions, collaborative approaches in development and service delivery, participation and ultimately stronger democracies.
Describe one OGP commitment from your country that you are proud of.
It is difficult to point out particular commitments but as a country there are many challenges to build more transparent and responsive governments. Overall though, OGP commitments should strive to be more ambitious with every new action plan, commitments should be precise, clear and of transcendental impact in terms of open government objectives and principles. It is also important that commitments and action plans are not conceived as particular mini projects, but as actions fundamentally transformative in a greater strategic framework for the country’s development and ultimately citizen’s quality of life.
How are you working to overcome challenges in opening up government in your country?
One of the greatest challenges in opening up governments is not in government itself, but in getting civil society and citizens involved. If open governments thrive on responsiveness towards their citizens, how will a government ever be open if there is no demand for response? Hence we believe in investing in a strong civil society movement towards opening up government in enabling environments, giving citizens information they can use to demand openness and quality service delivery upon demand and exercising their right to access information. A big part of overcoming challenges in opening up governments is to learn from past experiences and the IRM reports are a great source of information to learn and improve. Promoting the use of the IRM data within governments and civil society is a priority, as well as making this information available, useful in citizen friendly formats and relatable to our every day life, whether you are a civil society organization, media, government official, international cooperation entity or common citizen.
Denisse Miranda is Governability and Transparency Coordinator at Federation of Non Governmental Organizations of Honduras (FOPRIDEH)/Part of the IRM research team for Honduras.