FACES OF OPEN GOVERNMENT – PATRICK LIM
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?
The practice of open government makes government more transparent and participatory, both of which make it more accountable to citizens. As citizens have greater capacity to hold government accountable, public services will improve. In a society with high inequality such as ours, it is often citizens who need government services the most – the poor and disadvantaged – who have the greatest difficulty in being heard. It is important that government becomes accountable to them.
How have you benefited from exchanging ideas with civil society?
Constant dialogue with civil society helps generate new ideas and support for government reform programs. Civil society can also be a source of honest feedback, which often times is crucial in preventing a bureaucrat like more from being too bureaucratic. At the same time, the dialogue also helps civil society understand constraints of those working within the government structure.
Describe one OGP commitment from your country that you are proud of.
The grassroots participatory budgeting. While participatory budgeting is nothing new, the scale by which it is being implemented by national government is unprecedented. The program takes cognizance of political-economy realities and seeks to use the right levers in changing a rampant culture of patronage politics and dependency.
How are you working to overcome challenges in opening up government in your country?
Opening up government will be naturally opposed by sectors who have long benefited from a status quo of opaqueness and discretion. Such groups will find ways to obstruct efforts to transition from closed to open government, from exclusive to inclusive governance. It is thus crucial that sectors such as civil society, sections of business and others who champion such a transition work and support with reformers within government to ensure that such efforts are not impeded.