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Open Government, a Catalyst For Democracy

Modern democracy calls for transcending electoral processes and requires the consolidation of state mechanisms that promote transparency, ethics, the right to information and citizen participation. The combination of these principles of open government result in a more efficient, effective and participatory state. More importantly, these elements allow citizens to own political processes, reaffirming the legitimacy of the democratic system. Without them, the state will be unable to regain the citizenships’ trust.

The new open government paradigm represents a modern expression of the democratic culture, and relies strongly on information technology and citizen participation. It aims to make the State more efficient and modern by promoting a structural change that empowers the citizens and reaffirms the public institutions’ call for service.

Open government is unique from other public management models as it promotes the active participation of citizens in decision-making, audit processes, and development of public policy. The greater the level of citizen participation, the more legitimate a democratic system is. This, in turn, is reflected in social and political stability.

Social stability and peace are pivotal for democracy as they represent a fundamental element of the relationship between institutions and the citizenship. In Central America, where certain stakeholders and organizations operate outside the law and attempt to substitute or weaken the state, social peace is necessary in order for Governments to operate and recover the ability to act in economically vulnerable environment.

When public institutions take responsibility for vulnerable populations, democracy is strengthened and the principles that make the rule of law are implemented. Democratic institutions and social stability contribute to building trust among national and international economic and productive sectors, which contribute to strategic action that in turn reactivates the economy.

When social stability is combined with economic growth, societies can achieve an inclusive, participatory and equitable development, where all sectors and populations benefit and there is a rule of law. The positive and structural impacts of open government are shown through the transformation of the democratic culture, the restoration of public service and the active exercise of rights.

When public service is restored, State institutions are encouraged to participate in collaborative processes with academic institutions, the public sector, and civil society. Every sector and population has managerial, technical and creative skills that can strengthen the processes and institutions of public administration. Thus, social innovation is an operating arm of open government, which allows for creation and transformation of projects, policies and actions that establish methods and norms beyond the status quo of the state.

Open government fights against corruption and results in innovation, the reduction of the digital gap, and a strengthened relationship between the State and its citizens, creativity, participation and social inclusion. Open government, therefore, is a catalyst of democracy as it transforms the dynamics of the political system, modernizes the State and guarantees the respect for human rights.

This post is part of a series produced by the Huffington Post and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) surrounding OGP’s 2015 Global Summit, which is took place in Mexico City from October 27-29.

Open Government Partnership