Faces of Open Government – Mabel Caceres
What got you personally involved in open government? What in your background inspired you to work in this field?
Open governments are a way to strengthen and improve democracy. Besides, as a journalist, I have witnessed how corruption has undermined many countries, including mine. Thus the need for transparency and citizen participation.
What’s the best example of a concrete OGP achievement in Peru?
Transparency and accountability for the budget of the school feeding program has notably reduced complaints of poor administration and corruption in this social program.
Why is open government important, and what makes an organization like OGP vital?
It is important because it allows for governments and civil society to become aware of the positive impacts of applying these values in the administration of commitments that, in one way or another, engage everyone.
La Libertad, Peru is one of the states in OGP’s Subnational Pilot Program. You’ve lived outside the capital – have you seen subnational open governance work there? Do you think it can help improve democracy in Peru?
Currently, almost no institution works well outside of Lima, for various reasons. Through decentralization, we expect to strengthen democracy.
As the IRM researcher for Peru, how would you evaluate the relationship between civil society and government? Has it improved since joining OGP?
It is complex and highly dependent on the context, but the sole fact that Peru participates in OGP is in itself an opportunity to improve it.
You’re a journalist who has won awards for your activism on press freedom. How do you think Peru compares to other countries in Latin America, in terms of journalistic freedom?
Peru is currently experiencing better conditions for freedom of press than other Latin American countries, which do not enjoy democratic rule. However, there still are risks, such as the elevated concentration of media ownership and investments in publicity.
The new president of Peru is much more involved in open government than prior administrations. What do you think his election means for open government in your country?
Not exactly involved, but he has expressed his intention to commit to the principles of OGP. Therefore, I think that this is an unprecedented opportunity to pick up the process and make it succeed.
Peru has had issues with openness on environmental issues that continue to resonate today. What are some of the issues – climate change, corruption, resource governance – that you think open government can help solve?
Yes, starting by disclosing investments, taxes and tax expenditure. Misinformation usually results in conflict, and there is a lack of integrity in public officials in charge of issuing licenses and supervising projects.