The Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit is taking place at a critical time in history. The Government of Estonia and civil society co-chair Anabel Cruz are co-hosting the world’s biggest gathering of open government and democracy champions.
Open Governance for a Resilient Future: The world has been hit by repeated crises in recent years, with many set to have long-lasting impacts. In response, the world needs more open governance than ever, with governments and citizens working together to solve the most pressing challenges facing our societies. Open governance can help build a more resilient future for our world.
Strength in Unity: Together, we can strengthen democracy, counter autocracy, and create a world where every voice matters. By building a stronger and more resilient global community we can improve democracy through cooperation. Join our coalition for open government and democracy to shape a better tomorrow.
Unite for Impact: We in the Open Government Partnership community have the ideas and common endeavor to make change happen. We are a global coalition of reformers in governments and civil society working to build a future founded on openness, collaboration and better lives. Together, we have the solutions to make democracy work and deliver for people.
Why does this Summit matter? Open government and democracy are facing unprecedented threats globally, from economic inequality to climate change, disinformation and pandemics. Authoritarian and populist leaders have attempted to restrict space for civil society, spread disinformation online, and attack human rights. The OGP Summit will take place a little more than 1,000 kilometers from the capital of Ukraine – where the threats we face globally are felt daily.
To meet any of the challenges facing our world, we must all be united as partners in open government and democracy. The time for action is now. Open government can empower people to shape and oversee transparent and accountable governments daily, leading to stronger democracies and better societal outcomes. We know that when government and civil society work together, we see more ambitious and impactful reforms transform our communities. Transformative reforms have made some governments more open, but challenges remain.
At the OGP Global Summit, government representatives, civil society actors, and others will exchange experiences and best practices. These creative and inspiring reformers and innovators will share progress on open government initiatives that address the biggest challenges on anti-corruption, civic space and participation, climate and environment, digital governance, open justice, and democratic resilience.
The new OGP Strategy
The Summit is also a great opportunity for the open government community to advance implementation of OGP’s 2023-2028 strategy, which was launched earlier this year after an extensive global participatory process. With it, OGP aims to create a more political, people-centered, and inspiring partnership to drive open government initiatives worldwide, tackle important challenges facing society, and build on successes and lessons learned from the community.
OGP’s 2023-2028 strategy seeks to:
- Build a growing, committed, and interconnected community of open government reformers, activists, and champions;
- Make open government central to how all levels and branches of government function and deliver on their priorities;
- Protect and expand civic space, which is essential for open government to thrive;
- Rise to the moment and accelerate collective progress and ambition on open government reforms; and
- Become the home of inspirational open government innovations, evidence, and stories.
To achieve this over the next five years, the Partnership will mobilize enhanced political support, including from mayors, parliamentarians, and heads of state. OGP will also broaden and strengthen coalitions of reformers, engaging diverse champions to advance ambitious reforms. This will require developing the leadership skills of current and future community leaders through partnerships and learning programs.
And to strengthen the already robust network of open government practitioners, OGP will expand global and regional partnerships with actors such as the OECD, ECLAC, Asian Development Bank or World Bank to amplify open government principles and enhance advocacy opportunities.
OGP is also increasingly playing an instrumental role in global fora to build continuity between big global moments, such as this OGP Global Summit; Summit for Democracy; the G7; the G20; United Nations meetings and special sessions like the upcoming UNCAC.
OGP action plans are important vehicles for advancing domestic priorities and commitments made in other fora which may align across several areas including anti-corruption, civic space, and inclusion of marginalized communities. OGP is the delivery mechanism that can give effect to commitments made at global fora, and ensure that they are implemented and monitored. To further this work, OGP will soon introduce a more flexible action framework to foster greater ambition in advancing open government reforms.
Advancing sectoral reforms through open government
Since the inception of the Partnership, OGP members have used OGP to mainstream open government approaches across different thematic areas for greater impact and results. 80 percent of OGP countries are advancing anti-corruption reforms, 53 percent are advancing justice reforms, and just under half of all OGP countries are tackling climate and environmental policies through the OGP platform. At the same time, open government norms such as access to information are being advanced by 47 percent of OGP countries, 69 percent of OGP countries are advancing openness across their budget and fiscal cycle, while only 35 percent are tackling commitments on civic space (with a below average rate of ambition).
While these numbers show a critical mass of members demonstrating policy action, these reforms are still too few and far between to tackle the pressing economic, democratic, environmental challenges that our communities are currently facing. Open government approaches can tangibly improve the quality and delivery of the critical reforms needed, but for this to happen, OGP members need to galvanize greater political leadership and collective action.
To meet the moment, at this Global Summit OGP will be launching the Open Government Challenge to challenge all members of the Partnership to show leadership on at least one of 10 open government thematic areas and show tangible progress over the five year strategy period. The aim is to raise the volume of ambitious commitments within specific policy areas, so they eventually become new global norms. More information will be available during the Summit.
Anti-corruption: Tackling corruption has been a central aim of OGP since its founding in 2011. To curb illicit financial flows and promote public integrity, OGP-facilitated reforms on open contracting, beneficial ownership transparency are among the most ambitious and deliver some of the strongest early results in the Partnership. But to generate real impact, open government reforms to advance anti-corruption priorities can’t be implemented in siloes. OGP members must raise ambition across these specific areas, while also developing and strengthening cross-institutional anti-corruption strategies.
Civic Space and Participation: Active citizens and a vibrant civil society are vital to democracy and good governance. Civic space is a critical foundation for open government and OGP’s strategy sets a goal for the partnership to protect and expand civic space. A significant proportion of OGP members are already making commitments to strengthen civic space, but more focus and ambition is needed to address global declines in democratic freedoms.
Climate and Environment: An open government approach can help promote the legitimacy, effectiveness, equitability, and sustainability of climate and environmental policies and actions, including those in agreements signed by OGP members. Through open government, stakeholders can strengthen the transparency and accountability of domestic systems for managing ‘green’ finance, increase access to information on climate policies to take on vested interests, and build participatory processes into their policy-making to enable and empower public participation.
Justice: Citizens may be met by opaque legal processes, unaffordable legal help, or discriminatory practices that prevent them from obtaining equal access to justice. Open government measures can ensure efforts to increase access to justice are responsive to people’s needs. More transparency and accountability can also contribute to judicial fairness and independence by helping to ensure that people receive equal protections, benefits, and rights under the law.
Digital: Digital technologies are enabling citizens to be more active participants in democracy. Recently, issues like electoral disinformation, discriminatory artificial intelligence have shown that democratic values can be overridden and undermined if emerging technologies are left unchecked. Open government approaches – including transparency, public accountability and participation can strengthen policy frameworks required to tackle the risks from emerging technologies.
Gender and Inclusion: OGP gender and inclusion-focused commitments have grown exponentially since 2019 and better reflect the needs of women, youth, and minority populations. However heartening, this progress is fragile and many hard won equity gains are already at risk. We must continue to make inclusion a conscious choice, actively engaging those most impacted and vulnerable to meaningfully open government to all. Rising authoritarianism has resulted in rollbacks in women’s rights around the world and added to a chilling effect on women and LGBTQIA+ people’s participation in public life.
Join us! This year’s OGP Summit provides the opportunity and recognizes the imperative to take our open government movement to the next stage. Let’s join forces to mainstream open government and continue to support each other as we renew democracy and deliver better outcomes for all.