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Open Government Standards: Call for participation

Open Government Standards is a citizen-led initiative to set standards on what open, transparent, accountable and participatory government really means. Open Government is a hot topic right now, but what does it really mean in practice? What should governments be doing in the areas of Transparency, Participation and Accountability to qualify as “open governments”? What are the uses of new communications technologies which really advance openness as opposed to merely perpetuating existing bureaucratic practices in a digital environment? This initiative is the civil society response to the increasing use of the term “open government” without a clear definition and with a lot of confusion and overlap with other concepts (good governance, e-government, efficient government, etc.). Another driving force behind the Open Government Standards was the very mixed quality government action plans presented to the Open Government Partnership in April. With some absurd concepts included in the action plans – promoting cleaner beaches in Malta, faster marriages for pregnant women in Armenia, and Twitter accounts to denounce drugs traffickers in Spain – Access Info Europe and partner organisations decided it was time for civil society to specify what it understands by open government. There is a clear imperative to reach agreement on what is open government so that citizens can call on our governments to meet this standard and so that we can measure progress on the three core pillars of open government: Transparency, accountability and participation.

Collaborative Drafting Process

Access Info Europe has consulted leading international experts to create the first draft of the Open Government Standards, which will be presented on 18 September in Helsinki during the Open Knowledge Foundation Festival. Following the debate in Helsinki, the draft will be opened to a broader consultation which will run until mid November. Once the Open Government Standards are defined, the initiative and its dedicated website will compile civil society analyses of government action plans and will map best practices in Open Government around the world. The civil society network working collaboratively around the Open Government Standards will demand true progress with the one clear message from the public: #IwantOpen Please contact us with your ideas or questions and for information on how to join in: contact@opengovstandards.org

This contribution was written by Alvaro V. Ramirez-Alujas in collaboration with Victoria Anderica, Legal Researcher and Campaigner at Access Info Europe.  Please visit the contributor section of the blog for further details on Victoria Anderica and her work.