the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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Celebrating Open Government Around the Globe

Summary: 
To mark the OGP’s third anniversary, President Obama joined with heads of state from other participating countries to celebrate these steps to improve the ability of citizens to engage with their governments and better harness the power of transparency to drive growth.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a meeting on the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a meeting on the Open Government Partnership at the United Nations in New York, N.Y., Sept. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) began three years ago with eight countries committing to be more transparent and to fight corruption alongside civil society. Today, the OGP has grown into a partnership that includes 64 nations and hundreds of civil society organizations, who together have made more than 2,000 commitments to advance open government for more than 2 billion people around the world.

To mark the OGP’s third anniversary today, President Obama joined with heads of state from other participating countries to celebrate these steps to improve the ability of citizens to engage with their governments and better harness the power of transparency to drive growth:

  • Governments in Mexico and Bulgaria are putting more and better quality information online, allowing citizens to hold them accountable for how they spend taxpayer dollars.
  • Civil society organizations in Brazil, Paraguay, Ireland, and Sierra Leone are working with government reformers to draft and reform freedom of information laws that governments are enacting.
  • The nations of Indonesia, Albania, and Macedonia are developing new tools to report on corruption and promote transparency. 
  • Governmental leaders in Mexico, Georgia, and Ghana are establishing new systems to ensure civil society participation in the public policymaking process.
  • Peru launched a package of anti-corruption measures that resulted in 212 convictions of public officials in 2013.

Here in the United States, we are accelerating our efforts to open up government data to fuel entrepreneurship and economic growth, modernize our Freedom of Information Act with input from experts, and harness American ingenuity to solve important problems.

Our Open Government National Action Plan is an evolving, living document — and today President Obama announced that in addition to the commitments outlined in our current National Action Plan, the United States will take additional steps to make our government more open, transparent, and accessible for all Americans. We will:

  • Improve transparency in government spending, making it easier to understand how and where the federal government spends and invests;
  • Expand our efforts to build better government digital services, including building them in the open;
  • Ensure that we protect personal privacy while harnessing the power of big data to improve health care, fight discrimination, and support law enforcement; and
  • Promote open educational resources, to help teachers and students everywhere.  

The United States remains a global leader on open government, but there is still progress to be made domestically and around the globe. All OGP member countries must face the challenge of corruption head-on and ensure that governments, financial institutions, and legal systems are transparent and are working effectively to prevent corruption and money-laundering and bring wrongdoers to justice. The United States will continue to take action to prevent the U.S. legal and financial systems from being exploited by those who engage in corruption. And we must actively seek out participation of civil society — an equal partner in OGP.

The United States will continue to lead open government efforts as a member of the OGP steering committee, working with our government and civil society partners in continuing to transform the way that governments serve their citizens in the 21st century.

Gayle Smith is Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for Development and Democracy. Nick Sinai is the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer.


Watch the President's remarks at today's Open Government Partnership meeting at the United Nations:

Watch on YouTube