Sunshine Week launched about a decade ago as a way for journalists to draw attention to the importance of transparency in government. Over the years, open government advocates and government professionals have joined the effort to promote transparency, strengthen our democracy, and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
As part of Sunshine Week, Federal agencies have been highlighting their open government efforts in a variety of ways. These include engaging the public and other stakeholders in discussions around open government, hosting trainings for government workers on the importance of implementing the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and proactively disclosing additional government records in the public interest.
While we work year-round on open government efforts, this week we are excited to highlight achievements and progress made on open government goals. Examples from this week include:
- The State Department created a dedicated website to provide the public access to deliberations on the Keystone XL proposed pipeline project, hosting links to information about the status of the project, the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, and other project documents.
- Agencies held training and briefing sessions with FOIA and open government professionals to learn about new open government efforts and brush up on FOIA issues including customer service and processing. For example, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence hosted the Intelligence Community FOIA Officers Information Day which included presentations to FOIA professionals in many of the 17 agencies that comprise the government intelligence community.
- The United States formally became a candidate for the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an international effort aimed at increasing transparency and accountability of payments companies make and revenues governments receive for their natural resources.
- The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a memo to agencies directing Federal agencies to develop policies that will improve the management of and access to scientific collections that they own or support—including drilling cores from the ocean floor and glaciers, seeds, space rocks, cells, mineral samples, fossils, and more.
We are proud of this progress, but recognize that there is always more we can do to build a more efficient, effective, and accountable government. We look forward to the work ahead and ongoing collaborating with the public to build a more open government.
Nick Sinai is U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer
Corinna Zarek is Policy Advisor for Open Government