The UK government will this week be handed the reins for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) when it becomes co-chair at the inaugural meeting of the group in Brazil.
This week also sees an important meeting of the G20’s Anti-Corruption Working Group in Mexico. These two meetings will help set the agenda for open government, transparency and accountability over the coming years.
Jamie Drummond, Executive Director of ONE, who will be addressing a high-level G20 meeting on corruption this week, said:
"The next 12 months could be a game-changer for the relationship between citizens and their governments around the world, building on the momentum of events in North Africa, the Middle East and beyond. As the incoming co-chair of the Open Government Partnership, the UK has a vital role to play.
"David Cameron would like the UK to claim the crown as the most transparent and accountable government in the world. He now has the opportunity and the responsibility to stake this claim as co-chair of OGP. The success or failure of the Open Government Partnership will be determined on the UK’s watch. It is vital the UK takes this responsibility seriously.
"There are encouraging signs that the UK has genuinely embraced the transparency agenda, including in its approach to development. The UK’s Department for International Development is already recognised as a leader on aid and development transparency. However, it is worrying and inconsistent that the UK Government may allow crucial EU rules on transparency in the oil, gas and mining industries to be watered down as a result of corporate lobbying. With the London Stock Exchange home to the majority of extractives companies in Europe, the UK is in pole position to ensure the European law is something that works for citizens around the world.
"The management of national resources is a vital component of the open government agenda and will also be discussed at the G20 anti-corruption meeting this week. The G20 must take action to ensure that natural resources can be a blessing rather than a curse for citizens in developing countries.
"If the full potential of the open government initiative is realised, the wins for the fight against extreme poverty will be huge. If we are to fulfil our ambition to tackle poverty in a world beyond aid, we must ensure that African citizens have the tools and information to hold their own governments to account.”
Notes to editors
ONE is a global advocacy and campaigning organisation backed by 3 million people from around the world dedicated to fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa. www.one.org
The Open Government Partnership is a new global effort to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance and support the implementation of multilateral commitments to open government. Since the official launch of the OGP last September in New York, over 50 governments have come together with civil society and the private sector to further develop and implement national action plans to promote open government. For further information see: www.opengovpartnership.org
The Open Government Partnership High Level Conference is taking place in Brazil between on 17-18thApril. The UK assumes co-chair alongside Brazil. ONE is calling for:
The Open Government Partnership to be about citizens as well as governments. Government is only part of a governance equation that has citizens and their relationships with government and the private sector at the centre.
The Open Government Partnership to be about more than open data. Transparency and information is only the starting point for better governance.
The Open Government Partnership and countries’ plans to open governance must not stop at the borders. In a globalised world, people, profits, pollutants, power and poverty – as well as information – flow and extend across borders. So does the impact of national regulations.
The G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group is the forum within which members of the G20 – the most economically powerful countries in the world, including China, India, Brazil, the US, the UK and South Africa – seek to drive progress against corruption. Mexico has the Presidency of the G20 this year. The G20 Anti-Corruption Working Group is meeting in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, this week. The G20 Summit itself will be in Los Cabos, June 18th - 19th.
The European Commission has proposed an EU-wide transparency law to shed light on the payments oil, gas and mining companies make to the governments where they operate. This would empower citizens with the information they need to hold their leaders accountable for money received. In 2010 Africa’s natural resources were worth $333 billion.