Time for open government in the post-2015 debate
A debate is brewing at the United Nations over how and whether to include open government principles in the post-Millennium Development Goals agreement. Governance indicators – either in a standalone goal or embedded in other goals – were notably absent from the first MDGs, but popular citizen demand for greater accountability from their leaders is overwhelming. Domestic reformers in governments are also winning the argument, with the Open Government Partnership now 63 countries strong. Those countries have made over 1000 open government reform commitments between them.
These 63 OGP countries are not the usual suspects associated with advocating the good governance mantra at the UN. Indonesia and Mexico are currently co-chairing OGP and have both expressed strong political support for transparency, accountability and participation, while also walking the talk nationally. Indeed, the majority of OGP Steering Committee government members are low or middle-income countries. This increased the impact of their letter last year to the UN Secretary-General calling for ‘strong institutions and governments that are more open and accountable to citizens’, and endorsing the High Level Panel report chaired by the leaders of Liberia, Indonesia and the UK.
The OGP model provides some valuable lessons for negotiators of the post-2015 UN agreement. First, it is universal. The old rules of North-South, East-West and developed-developing divides do not apply. Innovation and best practice are coming from a geographically and economically diverse group of countries, all eager to learn from each other. This includes civil society, who have an equal seat at the table in OGP at the international level, and increasingly in national-level OGP processes too. Continue >>>