Remarks by OGP CEO Sanjay Pradhan at the UK Anti-Corruption Summit, London England
On behalf of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), I applaud the UK Government for its leadership in convening this historic summit. And I applaud leaders from government, business and civil society gathered in London for their commitment to join this vital global initiative.
Yet this is only the beginning. Even with the best intentions, commitments made at international forums like this will be of limited value unless they translate into credible actions and results. This is where the OGP can contribute in three crucially important ways.
First, there has been an unprecedented rapid growth in OGP in just five years – from 8 founding Heads of States at the UN General Assembly in 2011, 69 countries today (and soon to be more following hugely welcome announcements of intent to join last month by Germany and by Nigeria at this Summit) have joined OGP, along with thousands of civil society organizations. This provides a powerful platform for countries to translate the Summit’s commitments into concrete OGP National Action Plans, with government reformers and civil society advocates shaping reforms to make them as ambitious as the context allows. Importantly, OGP has built-in accountability through the Independent Reporting Mechanism that can track implementation to ensure that countries live up to their commitments.
Second, OGP represents an explicit and unique government-civil society partnership which is essential for combating corruption. While governments are making transparency commitments, civil society can monitor contracts or beneficial ownership registers to combat grand corruption. To fight petty corruption that afflicts the lives of ordinary citizens, civil society can amplify the voices of the poor and the voiceless, leveraging mobile phones and social media, on bribes they have to pay or on whether teachers and textbooks are showing up in schools. And governments can respond to this citizen feedback to improve service delivery in their OGP action plans.
Third, OGP peer countries can join forces to raise their collective ambition on anticorruption, as the UK and South Africa have done on beneficial ownership transparency. Imagine how powerful it would be to have some 70 countries, from North to South, moving together on beneficial ownership, moving together on open contracting, and moving together on opening up government budgets to citizens. This is the platform OGP offers – to inspire a race to the top among countries.
I invite all stakeholders to utilize OGP’s unique platform to translate the Summit’s commitments into concrete, ambitious and accountable actions. I invite governments that are not currently participating in OGP to consider joining this exciting global movement. And I invite all delegates here to join the OGP Global Summit in December in Paris where we will convene a special session to discuss progress on the commitments made at the Summit today.