Shaping Government, Improving Lives: Open Gov Week 2018
2018 has been – and remains – a watershed year for the Open Government Partnership (OGP). With five new local participants, OGP’s membership has now grown to ninety-six national and local governments, along with thousands of civil society organizations. This year, a record seventy-six national and local governments will be preparing action plans with civil society. We have also launched the OGP Trust Fund this year, and will have a major Global Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia in July.
The action plan process – the creation of commitments to make government more accountable, transparent, and responsive to citizens – happens every two years in OGP participating countries and local governments. The process brings together representatives from government, civil society, the private sector and other stakeholders to create tangible, actionable, ambitious commitments to open up government and improve citizens’ lives. They then have two years to implement these commitments.
This is by far the largest number of Action Plans to be co-created in a calendar year. But, as they say, it’s all about quality, not quantity.
Enter Open Gov Week.
Open Gov Week is a global call to action. We’re calling on citizens, civil society, governments, the private sector, and other stakeholders to come together to discuss how opening government to citizens can improve their lives, and co-create more ambitious commitments to ensure that government is more responsive to their needs. The action plan process seeks to give everyone a voice; now it’s time to use that voice to scale up ambition and make real impacts on citizens’ lives.
In launching Open Gov Week, we took our inspiration from Italy – a country that, for the past two years, has held Open Administration Week. Throughout the country, citizens and government came together to discuss issues that mattered to them – from data on EU funding, to local sanitation, to urban design. In 2018, Open Administration Week featured over three hundred events. At the launch of Open Administration Week, I spoke about the need to open new frontiers of citizen participation, through direct citizen engagement, inclusion, and deliberative participation.
Open Gov Week gives everyone the opportunity to advance those frontiers, so citizens can better shape and oversee government. Around the world, governments, civil society organizations, and citizens are organizing events on what’s important to them: whether it’s polling station accessibility in Pakistan, budget transparency in Buenos Aires, or the Sustainable Development Goals in Spain.
We have over five hundred events registered for the week, all over the world, both in OGP countries and in places you wouldn’t imagine. Events organized by OGP here in DC touch on the cornerstones of open government, while also tackling some more nuanced themes: from civic space, accountability, and open data to natural resources, inclusion, and gender.
There are literally hundreds of ways for you to take part in Open Gov Week. Now is the time for all stakeholders to get involved to shape and oversee government so it delivers on its precious promise, to truly serve and improve the lives of its citizens.