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How Can Open Government Promote the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals?

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On January of 2016, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will go into effect. For 193 Member States of the United Nations this date marks the beginning of a 15 year challenge to effectively implement 17 ambitious goals aimed at ending extreme poverty, fighting injustice and inequality, and fixing climate change for all people in all countries. It will be through the promotion of more equal, open and peaceful societies that the global community will be a step closer to ensuring the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) provides a ready-made platform for helping countries to advance the effective implementation of the SDGs through the adoption of National Action Plans. These plans promote open government through public commitments made by its 66 Member Countries. Governments and civil society agree to innovate on public participation, freedom of information, fiscal and extractive resources transparency, public service delivery, and open data.

How is OGP complementary to the 2030 Agenda?

The 2030 Agenda addresses many facets of governance for sustainable development, ranging from the universal provision of basic services, gender equality and rule of law, to peace, security, and participatory decision-making. The 2030 Agenda and the OGP reinforce similar messages giving greater visibility to the role of transparency, civic participation, accountable public institutions, and technological innovation as enablers of sustainable development for just and peaceful societies to thrive.

Therefore, OGP provides a vehicle for countries to implement the SDGs in three ways:

1. Directly, by setting goals and targets specifically focused on openness, echoing Goal 16, which seeks to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies for all through accountable institutions

2. Indirectly, by recognizing that open government principles are crucial for achieving a much broader range of sustainable development goals, linking openness to governance for the improvement of the lives of the many vulnerable and poor around the world

3. By providing tools for better designing accountable and transparent mechanisms for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the SDGs

Additionally, Mexico has worked with experts from governments, civil society organizations, and the private sector, to develop the international Open Data Charter (ODC) that sets the founding principles for a greater coherence and increased use of open data across the world. The ODC will help to improve the quality and accessibility of reliable disaggregated data much needed to measure progress and to ensure everyone benefits from the implementation of 2030 Agenda.

Furthermore, during the 70th United Nations General Assembly, 11 governments of the Steering Committee of OGP endorsed the Joint Declaration: “Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” which acknowledges Goal 16 as a transversal goal to successfully achieve the rest of the goals. However, the challenge will now be to encourage more OGP countries to endorse this declaration and to see their National Action Plans as vehicles for reaching the targets laid out by the SDGs.

We recognize this Agenda is a very ambitious global plan, that represents a challenging endeavor, which will be only be met if governments, individuals, civil society and multilateral organizations partner and work together to leave no one behind. In order to reach our Global Goals we must make use of platforms that empower citizens and promote openness, transparency and prosperity such as the Open Government Partnership. Strengthening the complementarity between the governance and open government elements in these two agendas will be a central to its successful accomplishment.

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