Open Government -- Why It Matters

Posted by Maria Otero
July 12, 2011
Brazilian Foreign Minister Delivers Remarks at Open Government Partnership

Democracy is rooted in open government -- government that is transparent, accountable and responsive to the voices of its citizens. That is why today we announced the Open Government Partnership, a new international initiative aimed at securing concrete commitments from governments, in partnership with civil society, to promote transparency, increase civic participation, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to make government more open, effective, and accountable.

Around the world, trust in government is declining. At the same time, the Internet and social media have lowered barriers to participation in democratic processes. We've seen that with the role of social media in recent elections here in the United States and in so many other countries around the world. Technology is transforming the ways people access information and relate to their governments and to each other. Access to accurate information empowers citizens in making decisions about how they are governed. As an international community, we cannot afford to be complacent. We must find new and innovative ways to operate government more effectively, and in a manner which involves the citizens. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) works towards this goal.

Why? Because open and responsive governments are more effective, efficient, and innovative. From improving service delivery to reducing corruption, open government efforts are helping build more democratic and prosperous societies that enable citizens to have a more direct say in the decisions that affect their daily lives.

Open government has also been a vehicle for promoting innovation and economic growth. By liberating thousands of government datasets, many countries have built entirely new industries and saved billions of dollars by harnessing the knowledge, resources, and expertise of the private sector to help create new applications and operating systems that are changing the ways government does business.

Secretary Clinton and Brazilian Foreign Minister Patriota opened a day-long event at the State Department on July 12 with almost 60 nations and more than 60 civil society organizations in attendance. Representatives discussed best practices in open government through interactive panels, issue framing sessions, and idea sprints. Another feature, "Innovation Alley," demonstrated technologies and other tools and methodologies available from private and non-profit companies and organizations that enhance open government. We were joined by representatives of 12 companies and organizations from around the globe who shared personal experiences of promoting more open, transparent governments. Today, we are also launched the Open Government Portal that will serve as the primary repository for all OGP country action plans.

It has been a tremendous pleasure to co-chair the OGP in its inaugural year with Minister Jorge Hage of Brazil, and to work with the steering committee to engage a large and diverse group of countries in a fresh conversation about governance challenges that have stumped democracies for decades and even centuries. Working closely with civil society and OGP member governments, we look forward to generating momentum for open government that can help restore public confidence in leadership, as well as improve government efficiency and effectiveness.



Mark B.
West Virginia, USA
July 13, 2011

Mark in West Virginia writes:

Thank you

Massachusetts, USA
July 13, 2011

Christina in Massachusetts writes:

this is a good idea if it is writen down in plain english everyone in the country unerstand and everyone no mater what money or class you are from. if this country treated everyone equal there wouldn't be a problem. like take my husbands case in Guatemala his three kids are still up here with no father because his case doesn't "need" to be expaited. my kids have every right to have their father as much as the other person's

New Jersey, USA
July 14, 2011

Josh in New Jersey writes:

@ Christine -- I believe you are slightly misinformed I don't think this policy is aimed at individual cases the tone of the policy has to do with national issues not a single case which an individual feels should be expedited. I wish you the best of luck in your troubles but please don't expect too much


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