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Open Government Partnership Holds Peer-Exchange Meeting to Drive Forward Transparency Effort in 42 New Countries
Source: http://www.opengovpartnership.org/news/open-government-partnership-holds-peer-exchange-meeting-drive-forward-transparency-effort-42-ne
Source Date: Sunday, December 18, 2011
Focus: E-Education
Country: Brazil
Created: Dec 19, 2011

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) marked a major milestone by holding its first peer exchange meeting for 42 new participant countries in Brasilia, Brazil during December 7-8, 2011.

OGP—a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance—has been gaining momentum over the past six months. Since the founding eight countries announced their OGP country action plans at the September 2011 Heads of State launch event with Presidents Obama and Rousseff, an additional 42 countries have subsequently joined the effort. The December 2011 peer exchange meeting in Brazil was the first time this new group of OGP countries came together with civil society to discuss progress on their national action plans, which they will launch at the first stakeholders meeting in April 2012 in Brasilia.

To become a member of OGP, participating countries must embrace a high-level Open Government Declaration; deliver a country action plan developed with public consultation; and commit to independent reporting on their progress going forward. As discussed during the peer exchange meeting, governments must work closely with local civil society to draft country action plans that make ambitious new commitments in the areas of transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

Peer exchange sessions at the meeting discussed the challenge of meeting the ambitious timelines set by OGP. However, all noted the power of the OGP to provide new incentives for domestic reformers and to move governments “across the finish line” to implement open government initiatives that are needed.

White House Senior Director Samantha Power, Brazilian Ambassador Vera Mahcada, and Brazilian Comptroller-General Jorge Hage spoke of political support that the United States and Brazil have given to the OGP effort. “There is a need for individual champions within and outside government to work together to achieve more open societies,” said Power. Many participants expressed appreciation for a new global community in which governments and civil society work together to innovate and reform governance in the service of citizens. “Democracy is fundamentally about expressing ideas, and that is what open government is about,” concluded Tim Kelsey, UK Cabinet Representative.

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