Good afternoon everyone. First of all I would like to thank the Center for Global Development in Action for hosting this event and for recognizing global leaders and initiatives that have made positive contributions to our nations.
For me it is a great honor to stand here before all of you as a representative of Mexico, the government chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an initiative that has changed the relationship between governments and their citizens. Mexico receives this award on behalf of the 65 governments and civil society leaders that are part of this partnership, and I recognize all of them for their hard work on making OGP one of the most promising partnerships in the world.
Today we live in a time where the free flow of information has translated into higher expectations from our people. There is a current demand for more transparent and accountable governments. There is also a need to promote civic participation and innovation, and there is an imminent obligation to implement public policies that foster inclusive growth. In order to fulfill these expectations, three years ago, 8 governments, including us, decided to partner with several civil society organizations and created the Open Government Partnership.
What, at the time, might have seemed like just one more high level political commitment became an effective space where heads of state and government officials interact with members of civil society in a horizontal and democratic platform that has made governments more transparent and accountable through policies that encourage social inclusion and economic growth.
Today, three years later, OGP has achieved sustainable accomplishments:
It has acquired global and local relevance. Membership has increased from 8 to 65 countries, and participation has gone from heads of state to the inclusion of municipalities and local stakeholders that help in the creation of Action Plans, revealing the partnership´s depth and importance.
Moreover, there are currently more than 2,000 open government commitments, averaging more than 20 per action plan, and more than 50% have been completed so far. Furthermore, 35% of the current commitments have had a transformative impact.
But beyond Action Plans, the principles of open government have become the best vehicle for the implementation of policies that promote social inclusion and economic growth.
Therefore, as lead chairs we are working on the implementation of three main lines of action:
First, we wish to strengthen the role OGP can play in helping countries take the principles of open government to practice through the use of functional tools that encourage inclusive development.
Second. We understand the need to consolidate the concept of open government by strengthening the partnership between civil society and governments, based on mutual trust. This award today is a great example of how this concept is beginning to be acknowledged by important communities that care about development such as this room.
Finally, we need to create a true platform of cooperation and exchange of best practices between all countries that are part of the initiative. Despite the impressive growth of OGP in three years, it is time to deepen the impact of its principles through the adoption of mechanisms that transform governments in the national and subnational levels. To add on to this, as chairs, we will work on the implementation of open parliament, open judiciary and open cities initiatives.
Along those lines, let me share what we have done in Mexico:
As current chairs of OGP we have a serious commitment to openness. This is why we created a multi stakeholder coalition that works as our decision making body. It is called the Tripartite Technical Secretariat and it is composed by 8 civil society organizations, the Federal Institute for Access to Public Information and Data Protection (IFAI) and the Federal Government represented by the President’s Office. Within this body we formulated our action plan, and we make sure that our vision as lead chairs is fulfilled. This is a practice that we wish to share with all of the membership.
Also, we have created an innovative, open and transparent way to monitor the 26 commitments from our 2013-2015 action plan. We developed a public dashboard that lists all of the commitments, the names and contact information of the government officials responsible for their implementation, and each of the activities that have to be performed in order to complete them. Each activity has a date of completion and a color code that determines its current state, and once it is complete it has a verification method in which an attachment to the activity has to be added. Finally, there is a space in which anyone can comment.
Through this tool, we are making sure that through the four principles of open government (transparency, accountability, civic participation and innovation) we complete our 26 commitments that are based on five objectives: a government centered citizenship, an open and participatory budget, open data for development, social empowerment and governance of natural resources.
The Open Government Partnership has become a crucial mechanism for good governance and economic growth. Not just by making governments more transparent and accountable, but by forcing all of us to implement public policies that focus on the actual needs of our citizens.
The best way to solve our current challenges is by understanding what they are, and the best way to understand what they are is through open government. Therefore, we should continue to take advantage of the important work performed by OGP in order to create more accountable and transparent governments that promote more involved and prosperous societies.
Once again, on behalf of all the member countries, Thank you.