World leaders have supported a call for collective actions on open governance reforms at the just concluded Open Governance Global Summit in Paris, France.
The three-day Summit which held in December 2016, signified a historic moment as world leaders and civil society organisations launched the new open government reforms.
The global summit saw the setting up of a 15-member OGP’s Sub national Pilot Programme, the admission of five new countries to the Partnership, over 600 workshops and panel sessions which led to a successful outing. The event hosted over eighty governments and hundreds of civil society organisations who signed up to a collective action with the Paris Declaration.
According to a statement issued by the OGP secretariat at the end of the summit, “The Paris Declaration includes nineteen collective actions, where governments and civil society groups agree to work together towards output-oriented tangible results.
The “Collective Actions include: Transparency and open contracts in the natural resource sector; Transparency on lobbying; Ending abuse of anonymous companies, implementation of access to information laws; Harnessing the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development and Climate Risk Resilience, implementation of guiding principles for open data policies; and increasing responsiveness of public services.”
While delivering his address, the Open Government Partnership CEO, Sanjay Pradhan, reminded participants of the current geopolitical context. He noted that “The Open Government movement has never been more under threat – and yet our works have never been more vital for a more hopeful world. We need civil society activists, journalists, parliamentarians, private sector and reformers in government to leverage the OGP platform to join forces, forge coalitions and find collective courage to fight vested interests.”
Also, addressing the summit through a recorded video, US President Obama said: “As I prepare to leave this office, I am more convinced than ever that the most important title is not President or Prime Minister – it’s citizen. In the coming years I intend to join you on the front-lines as we work together as citizens to build societies more just, more equal and more accountable. So thank you for all that you do and keep up the great work.”
In another address at the summit, Manish Bapna, executive vice president of the World Resources Institute, co-chair of OGP said: “OGP must now go further faster to stem the rise of authoritarian populism. As a Partnership, we must lead the open government movement, restoring democratic values against a wave of nationalism, extremism and the closing of civic space.”
The Summit also saw the presentation of the Open Government Awards. The theme for the 2016 edition of the award was “Making Transparency Count.” The award was open to civil society organisations that have used OGP results to further their work.
Top prize went to ProZorro (link is external), which sheds light on corrupt procurement practices in Ukraine. One of the runners up was Indonesia’s API Pemilu platform, which centralizes election data to improve citizen engagement and streamlines the elections process. The Honduran branch of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) which strives to make government more accountable for construction and infrastructure spending was another runner up.
Four initiatives received honourable mentions: Malawi’s Transparency Infrastructure project; Mongolia’s Check My Service project; Mexico’s Budget Transparency Portal; and the Netherlands’ Open Spending portal.
The OGP was formally launched on September 20, 2011, on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting, when eight heads of state, along with nine civil society leaders, endorsed the Open Government Declaration and published the first document of OGP’s National Action Plan. Today OGP is composed of 74 national governments, 15 subnational governments, seven multilateral organisations, and thousands of civil society organisations who together have made over 3,000 commitments towards open government reforms 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.