Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero today said open government is a powerful tool to help create dialogue between citizens and government during an interview in ‘Conversations with America.
“Conversations with America” is a discussion between a top State Department official and an NGO leader, where one can watch and participate in the dialogue.
On July 12th, the United States will host a multinational meeting to discuss ways to bring greater openness to more nations. It will will be followed by a September gathering of governments in New York for the launch of the Open Government Partnership.
According to Ms. Otero, open government is based on three principles. She said the first one is the principle of transparency, the way in which a government can provide information to its citizens about what it’s doing. She noted this is the first principle that the United States believed to be important in open government.
“The second one is civic engagement, civic participation. That is really having the public contribute ideas, expertise, other areas, in order to be able to help their governments make policies and develop their programs.” -Ms. Otero
She highlighted that both first principles – of transparency and civic engagement – then feed into the third principle, which is accountability.
She stressed that accountability basically means that governments are responsible for their decisions or for their actions, and that they are able to respond to their citizens on that behalf.
“Open government is really a powerful tool. It’s not an end in and of itself. It’s a way in which governments can become more effective, they can be more efficient, and ultimately can govern better. And governments around the world are noting that this is a very important way to proceed.” -Ms. Otero
Maria Otero is the Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs at the Department of State. She oversees and coordinates U.S. foreign relations on a variety of global issues, including democracy, human rights, labor, environment, oceans, health and science, population, refugees and migration, and monitoring and combating trafficking in persons.