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A Pledge for Transparency at the Open Government Partnership 2013 Summit

October 30, 2013
by Jacque Porte

On October 31st, government representatives from over 60 countries will meet in London for the 2013 Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit. Summit participants will share their experiences with transparency and provide examples of how open government can “improve public services, drive economic growth, reduce poverty and corruption, and restore public faith in government.”

The OGP focuses on defending space for civil society to engage, sharing inspiration from across the partnership, ensuring accountability for results, and promoting ambition. This year’s summit is hosted by the UK, and British Prime Minister David Cameron recently pledged that the 2013 event will “drive a transparency revolution in every corner of the world.” The UK government hopes to encourage progress in five key areas:

  • Open Data: radically opening up government data for greater accountability, public service improvement and economic growth
  • Government Integrity: fighting corruption and strengthening democracy through transparent government
  • Fiscal Transparency: helping citizens to follow the money
  • Empowering Citizens: transforming the relationship between citizens and governments
  • Natural Resource Transparency: ensuring natural resources and extractive revenues are used for public benefit
  • The summit will welcome new participating countries and will announce the launch of thematic working groups, multilateral partnerships, and a new Open Government prize competition. Participants will also announce their recommitment to open government as part of their OGP action plan.

    This gathering of over 1,000 delegates from around the world reflects a universal push towards providing greater access to information to citizens. As blogger Christopher S. Penn writes, “Transparency is the currency of a trust relationship,” and this shift towards transparency certainly reflects a desire to foster trust between government and citizens, helping citizens and representatives to participate and communicate to achieve positive change.

    In light of this year’s Open Government Partnership summit, what is your local government doing to promote transparency and citizen engagement in your community? Would citizens benefit from increased access to documents and media? How are citizens who are unable to attend meetings in person encouraged to participate in their local government?

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