OGP – A Historic Opportunity in Today’s Geo-political Context
Remarks at UNGA High-Level Event, “Rebuilding Trust in Government”
Excellencies, OGP Leaders,
We meet at a time when democracy is under threat in many parts of the world, civic freedoms are under attack in over 100 countries, authoritarianism is on the rise, and trust in government is at an all-time low. But it is precisely at this time, now more than ever, that the Open Government Partnership – with 75 countries, more and more local governments, and thousands of civil society organizations – can serve as a countervailing force to show a more hopeful path. We have a historic opportunity and moral imperative to show this better path to deepen democracy and win trust back.
To be sure, we find similar challenges in some OGP countries. But what grounds and galvanizes our call for action is that within many OGP countries, courageous reformers from government and civil society are joining forces to put citizens first – at the very heart of government.
- In Estonia, citizens crowdsourced and voted on their policy proposals to usher citizen-led legislation on political party financing. In Paris, citizens are setting budget priorities that respond to their needs.
- In Georgia, Ukraine and Mongolia, citizens are following public money, open contracts and delivery of basic services, and flagging problems for corrective action, saving $1 billion in Ukraine.
- In Nigeria, to combat grand corruption, oil, gas and mining contracts and company ownership are being opened up to citizen oversight for the first time.
- In Chile, to curb influence peddling, citizens are tracking meetings and donations between lobbyists and officials.
- And at a time when several governments are shutting down voices, Latvia and Serbia are expanding civic space so more voices can be heard.
These are inspirational reforms – but they are too few and far-between. We call upon government and civil society to join forces to transform these innovations into global norms, into a new social compact where citizens shape and oversee open governments.
We call upon you, political leaders and civil society, to forge a new, strong, visible global coalition that galvanizes and multiplies political energy to propel the open government movement forward, prevail over the dark, looming threats to democracy, and put citizens first – to deliver on that precious OGP vision of governments truly serving their citizens.