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Parliaments as Partners for Open Government Reform

Parlamentos: socios para las reformas de gobierno abierto

María BaronandPaul Maassen|

On the eve of the Open Government Partnership Summit in Ottawa, the Parliament of Canada hosted the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News. It was an unusual but powerful picture – Members of Parliament and representatives from over forty legislative institutions from all over the world speaking up for transparency and accountability, and taking a common stand on an issue that is hugely important to the people they serve. 

Messages matter. And this one could not have been more timely.  

At OGP, we want to see more of this. We want to see more parliaments lead, championing OGP principles, and more parliaments working with civil society to put citizens back at the heart of government.  

Reflecting on the conversations we had in Ottawa, it is clear that our ambition to engage parliaments as partners for open government reform is now very much a shared one.  Open Parliament Day, hosted by the Parliament of Canada and Parlamericas, together with the Global Summit, were attended by representatives from over forty legislative institutions.  Joined by Directorio Legislativo, the National Democratic Institute and the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, longstanding champions welcomed new faces from Cabo Verde to New Zealand, all looking to learn from each other and committed to raising the open parliament bar. 

At #OGPCanada, parliamentarians and civil society organizations discussed ways parliaments can support and participate in open gov processes.

Parliaments have been co-creating commitments in OGP action plans for years, and since 2016, our legislative engagement policy paves the way for those who want to dream bigger. The Parliaments of Georgia, North Macedonia, Paraguay and Indonesia delivered the first full parliament chapters in OGP action plans last year.  And it’s not just a numbers game – we are seeing improved co-creation processes and, as a result, improved commitments. 

But there is still plenty of room to raise the bar. With the support of the Open Parliament e-Network (OPeN), we call on our reformers in parliament to: 

  • Make open government a matter of practice, not politics.  By coming together across party lines, parliaments can build lasting support for openness. The Parliament of Georgia launched an Inter-Factional Working Group that connects members from different political groups with civil society. As a result, Open Parliament is no longer a partisan issue – it is an agenda supported by the entire institution. Georgia’s Working Group was recognized with the first Open Government Champion Award and has gone on to deliver an ambitious Parliament Plan.
  • Partner with OGP for ambitious reform.  You know what your constituents worry about, and you can use the OGP platform to steer the national agenda. In Chile, Members of Parliament played a pivotal role in building support for landmark lobbying legislation. They recognised that people wanted change, and that small steps were not good enough. Their drive to deliver for their constituents resulted in Latin America’s most innovative Lobbying Act.  
  • Lead by example. Open government is about working with citizens, not just for them. Estonia uses citizen assemblies to tackle big challenges like political reform and pensions. They combine online and offline consultations to develop legislative proposals that truly represent what citizens need and want. Croatia’s e-consultations invite citizens to comment on proposed legislation, monitoring them from the working group phase to their adoption by parliament. 

Open government reform can be slow, and sometimes we take one step forward only to take two steps back. Ambitious, lasting reforms are possible – but only with parliamentary support. 

We hope to work with each and every one of you going forward, and we stand ready to help. 

Comments (1)

Rodrigo Orellana Bórquez Reply

Buena tardes:
Me parece interesante la participación parlamentaria en el sueño de fortalecer el Estado Abierto, lo importante es aprovechar los avances de otras legislación y compartir las experiencias para las buenas prácticas

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