Press Release: Open Government Reports Show Mixed Progress in Combating Corruption
Open Government Partnership Support Unit
Last week the Open Government Partnership (OGP) released 26 of 38 country Progress Reports by its Independent Reporting Mechanism with findings about their progress in implementing open government reforms.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Twenty-six national Progress Reports from OGP’s Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) were released last week, with another 12 set to be released later this month. As a whole, the reports show that a number of governments have made noteworthy progress in combatting corruption and opening up government to input from civil society. At the same time, many governments have made little headway in tackling the biggest governance issues in their countries with a notable minority clamping down on civil protest and public participation in government.
OGP is a partnership of 69 governments and hundreds of civil society organizations working to make government more accountable to their citizens. At the core of OGP are national action plans which are composed of government commitments to improve transparency, open up decision-making, and make officials answerable to the public. The content of the commitments are co-decided by governments and civil society in each country. In order to monitor progress and encourage continued momentum on the two year National Action plans, OGP’s IRM team publishes Progress Reports that provide an assessment of how countries are doing in achieving their commitments. The reports also produce data that provide insights into global open government trends.
“This year we are seeing a continued effort by governments to use OGP in their struggles against corruption”, said Joseph Foti, Director of the IRM. “This is particularly interesting in OGP countries like Argentina, Guatemala, Ukraine and Tunisia, each experiencing changes in government resulting in part from popular concern about excessive corruption.”
Recent open government measures that have been achieved as part of OGP Action Plans include:
Tunisia has begun opening up major infrastructure projects to public scrutiny;
Ukraine opening up 80 years of KGB documents to its citizens; and
Chile enacting one of the most advanced lobbying reforms in the Americas.
In addition to anti-corruption measures, OGP commitments address a wide range of transparency and accountability areas such as climate change, human rights and access to information. Successful commitments to make government more open include Ireland’s referendum on marriage equality, Canada’s open data reforms, and Bulgaria’s mining law reform.
“These reports show us that even in difficult contexts, there are reformers around the world who are fighting to open up governments to citizens and are starting to achieve amazing results,” said Joe Powell, Acting Executive Director of OGP, “In 2016, it is essential we focus on how to encourage genuinely ambitious open government reforms, and create spaces for government officials and civil society activists to tackle problems together. Open government reforms will only happen when basic freedoms are protected and civil society is given the space to engage freely in a dialogue with government.”
A number of the IRM reports find that national action plans are falling short of the goal of opening government. For example, the IRM found that South Korea has “failed to address an ongoing deterioration of public accountability and civic participation in government.” In Tunisia, still riding a wave of reform following the Arab Spring– a revolution sparked by corruption– activists interviewed for the report stated that reforms must go beyond the national level to involve local governments and citizens to truly control corruption.
Commenting on the reports as a whole, Powell added, “Independent reporting on progress is one of the things that makes OGP different to other international initiatives. These reports can make for uncomfortable reading, even for the most reform-minded public official, but they provide vital learning on how to tackle difficult policy challenges.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
For more information and to read the progress reports, please go to http://www.opengovpartnership.org/irm
- Starred Commitments in the 2016 Progress Reports
- IRM Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Independent Reporting Mechanism webpage
- Blog: Checking in on Open Government
- Blog: Why and How to Comment on IRM Progress Reports
OGP is a unique multilateral initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make governments more open, effective, and accountable to citizens around the world.
OGP was formally launched in September 2011 when eight founding governments – Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States – endorsed an Open Government Declaration, and published OGP National Action Plans with specific open government reform commitments. In just four and a half years OGP has grown to include 69 governments, seven multilaterals and hundreds of civil society organizations.
MEDIA CONTACT: Madaleine Weber, Communications Officer, Open Government Partnership Support Unit email@example.com