Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero today said civil society groups are complimenting and in many cases fueling government efforts towards open government.
At the Open Government Partnership reception, Ms. Otero said Secretary Clinton joined Brazil’s Foreign Minister, Antonio Patriota, in announcing a new multilateral initiative – The Open Government Partnership.
“Open Government Partnersip brings together governments and civil society organizations to improve governance in the 21st century.” -Ms. Otero
She highlighted that there is no question that, in the 21st century, the tenants and aspirations of democracy are bolstered by the tools and technologies at our disposal. She stressed that communication technology and other innovations are knocking down the walls that once kept populations from reaching their elected officials and from influencing public discourse.
“Never before in the history of self government have we been quite so capable of enhancing transparency, increasing accountability, and promoting civic engagement. And governments around the world are responding in kind.” -Ms. Otero
Ms. Otero emphasized that around the world, more than 80 countries now have freedom of information laws, a vital step towards open government – up from only 13 in 1990.
She noted that NGO projects in Tanzania, Uganda, Indonesia, and the Philippines are proving theydecrease the likelihood of corruption in vital government services by encouraging citizens to monitor the disbursement of government funds.
She stressed it is this critical exchange and interaction between civil society and governments that makes the Open Government Partnership unique.
“In addition to being a new partnership among developed and developing nations from every region in the world, OGP is a collaboration between governments and civil society organizations that are committed to making democracies work better for the people.” -Ms. Otero
She highlighted that well over 60 civil society organizations were represented alongside high-level representatives from nearly 60 nations from every region in the world during today’s meeting. The representatives will address issues of corruption, lack of transparency and lagging civic engagement.