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Faces of Open Government: Isabel Moya Pérez

Rostros de Gobierno Abierto: Isabel Moya Pérez

Open Gov Week is celebrated every year in May to unite governments and civil society and find solutions to the most pressing issues communities face through events, public debates, webinars, and more. Isabel Moya Pérez, Deputy Director General of Open Government of Spain, shares what her country did during their OGW and how the new OGP strategy can help foster more open and accountable democracies.

Why is Open Gov Week so important for Spain?

Spain is an open country, which has made improving its democracy an objective shared by all its public institutions. Open Gov Week is an opportunity for everyone in the country, wherever they live, to learn more about how their institutions work, what they are working on and how public services are provided. The Week is also a good example of the importance we give to collaboration between governments and with civil society in a highly decentralized State like ours, in which its autonomous communities and municipalities have political and administrative autonomy.

Transparency and accountability, public integrity, participation, and collaboration are the common values ​​we uphold. The Week allows us to sensitize citizens about the role they play in our democracy and the importance of all people fully exercising their rights of access to public information and participation. In 2021, the Open Government Forum of Spain adopted an agreement for the inclusive communication of open government and this is also a commitment that Spain has assumed in the IV action plan, so we are in line with this exciting OGP initiative.

What kind of events did you organize for Open Gov Week? Give two examples of the most important events that help advance the open government agenda in the country and contribute to co-creation or implementation of open gov reforms. 

Thanks to the commitment of all organizers, this year’s OGW -which in Spain was celebrated in March so as not to interfere with the call for regional and local elections – has resulted in the registration of 1,025 events, which is a really high number. Of these, 431 have consisted of open houses at different institutions and 100 in seminars/webinars. But, 82 have also been held in workshops, 77 informative talks, 75 presentations of public plans and 54 debates or colloquiums, as well as participatory processes such as launching consultations or virtual content events.

Spain has therefore broken its own record (in 2022 we organized 500 activities) and we are very satisfied with these results. Each and every one of these activities constitutes a grain of sand to continue advancing in the open government agenda in our country, but I will cite some events that, in my opinion, can illustrate the degree of political commitment of all the powers of the State.

For example, the Minister of Finance and Public Function participated in the annual meeting of the Plenary of the Open Government Forum, which we held in the Autonomous Community of La Rioja, supporting the commitment of the Government of Spain with open government values and highlighting the role that our multi-stakeholder body plays in the design, implementation, and evaluation of open government policies.

Eight other ministers also participated in the Week, such as the Minister of Universities, who is a renowned expert in participation in public policies, who gave an interesting conference, through our HazLab laboratory, with the title “Public Policies: between technocracy and democracy”, or the Minister of the Interior who inaugurated the week, bringing the values ​​of open government, to the Dueñas Penitentiary Center in the province of Palencia, on the occasion of its 25 years of operation.

Of special interest is the Conference on the reform of the Transparency Law that was developed at the Center for Political and Constitutional Studies with the participation of representatives of constitutional bodies and those of constitutional relevance, who made interesting contributions on said reform, for which a broad participatory process has been opened within our Open Government Forum.

The important thing is that open government, during the Week, reaches everyone, regardless of their place of residence or personal or socioeconomic circumstances.

What is your advice for other countries organizing events during Open Gov Week?

In my opinion, the key to the success of the Week in Spain lies in the coordination and cooperation between all the actors that participate in the governance system of the IV Plan for Spain: The Open Government Forum, the Sector Commission (which brings together at the three levels of Administration: this, regional and local), and the Inter-ministerial Group of Transparency and Open Government Information Units, and, of course, civil society organizations. We coordinated details with all of them well in advance including the road map for the organization of the Week. A form on the Transparency Portal was used to register events and my open government team went out of its way to ensure that everything went smoothly, reviewing registrations and answering questions. 

My advice is to strengthen collaboration with all stakeholders to achieve the success of this initiative.

Congratulations to the government of Spain for being selected as part of the OGP Steering Committee. Now that your term will officially begin in October 2023, what are you most excited about in this new role?

Spain joined OGP in 2011, but until this year we had not considered the possibility of being members of the OGP Steering Committee. We are especially moved by the fact that this first mandate of Spain in the leadership of the Partnership also coincides with the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union and that we have the opportunity, together with the rest of the members of the Committee, to contribute to the objective of making It is possible that the values ​​of open government are considered as authentic citizen rights.

We want to contribute ideas, because we believe that our experience in the OGP has been very positive and that the time has come for us to bet on a better democracy by working together. Spain is a State, from the political and territorial point of view, highly decentralized. We would like to contribute our experience in the design and execution of the IV Open Government Plan for Spain 2020-2024, which is being developed cooperatively with the different levels of government and with civil society. In this sense, our experience can be a reference for other countries that have a federal or regional structure. We are also looking forward to hearing and learning from the other Committee members and working with them to advance open government values ​​around the world. Being able to effect change seems exciting to us.

OGP just launched its strategy for the next five years (2023-2028) to better respond to the community’s needs and tackle the challenges democracies face today. What opportunities does the new strategy offer for the OGP community? And what are you most excited about?

What excites me most about this strategy is the opportunity it represents for us all to advance in improving democracy, responding to citizen expectations so that transparency, accountability, participation and inclusion form an essential part of public governance.

The strategy supposes, in this sense, a change of vision, which Spain shares, that it is not only necessary to increase the number of reformers, but that we must also add to this collective effort those who do not yet belong to our Community, putting people at the center of government decisions. In order to face these challenges, it is essential that we are capable of assuming concrete and ambitious commitments, while being aware that in each case we start from different realities.

The strategy is also committed to inclusion, which, as I have already said, is a cross-cutting issue of our IV National Action Plan, so that no person is left behind when exercising their democratic rights due to their gender, race, disability, socioeconomic situation or any other circumstance. Spain is very committed to strengthening this inclusive vision of open government. In my opinion, OGP must continue to actively promote equal opportunities and social inclusion

Comments (1)

Gladys Estela Riveros Rojas Reply

“La estrategia también apuesta por la inclusión, como expectativa ciudadana”, el de ser escuchado y ver el resultado como retorno de su petición, además se recupera la confianza entre ambas partes, existe una comunicación integra entre la ciudadanía y el estado.

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