The Open Government Partnership
The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a new global initiative through which countries at all points on the spectrum of economic development can share their experience about how to make governance more open, transparent and accountable.
OGP aims to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. OGP encourages governments to take advantage of their citizens’ desire to engage, so that through their experience and input, local and national governments make better decisions for their citizens. Direct engagement with citizens is beneficial to governments, increasing their legitimacy and buy-in. Further, these informed citizens are better able to compare options and act in their best interests and those of society.
Launched in September 2011, by eight founding countries (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom and United States) OGP now has 54 participating countries. Member governments must meet basic eligibility requirements, embrace the Open Government Declaration, promise to deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation and commit to independent reporting of their progress. The OGP is governed by a steering committee of governments and civil society organizations. In this, its inaugural year, the steering committee comprises of the eight founding governments, co-chaired by Brazil and the United States. OGP will garner global attention as it hosts its first annual meeting in Brasilia April 17-18. By taking advantage of this moment of opportunity, governments can empower citizens with the information that they need to take greater control of their own development and make an important contribution to accelerating progress on poverty reduction.
The OGP requires that civil society and businesses are regularly consulted as governments develop and implement their OGP action plans. These stakeholders also stand to gain from increased access to information about governments, citizens, and what they want. Businesses can use data that is published by governments to create new products and services that in turn spur economic growth. More generally, countries committed to defending transparency and fighting corruption are more attractive to entrepreneurs and other international sources of capital essential to providing jobs and spurring development.
The Open Government Partnership has the potential to encourage the opening of governance on a global scale, bringing together transparency and accountability initiatives – for instance on budgets, on aid and on natural resource governance, at global, national and local levels – as part of a wider vision with revolutionary potential. Open Government and open governance more broadly is a key component of the vision of Open Development which ONE, working in partnership with other organizations and always listening closely to the views of its African counterparts, seeks to promote. In Brazil and as the UK Government becomes co-chair of OGP, ONE will be working hard to ensure that Open Government Partnership fulfills its potential to play an important role in opening governance on a global scale.