Civil Society Organizations and Over 100 Governments Push for Reforms against Authoritarianism, Corruption, and Closing Civic Space
Days after the White House Summit for Democracy, thousands in the open government community will gather for the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Seoul, Republic of Korea on December 15-17. The participants, including a dozen Heads of State and hundreds of civil society leaders, will focus on how reformers in and out of government can work together to advance democratic reforms and fight growing authoritarianism.
The Global Summit comes as democracies continue to face internal and external threats. The state of democracy, as measured by Freedom House, is at its weakest in 15 years, and more than a quarter of the world’s population now lives in democratically backsliding countries.
“Across our Partnership, courageous reformers are advancing ambitious reforms to renew democracy and tackle unprecedented global crises—from a devastating pandemic to economies in turmoil. Our platform also seeks to ensure that commitments made at high-level events such as last week’s White House Summit for Democracy and COP26 are turned into concrete actions,” said Sanjay Pradhan, Chief Executive Officer of OGP.
At the OGP Summit, U.S. President Joseph Biden is expected to urge nations to take up a call to action to “fight the scourge of corruption” by working in partnership with civil societies and courageous citizens around the world.
According to OGP’s Civil Society Co-Chair María Baron, “Government and civil society can work together when they share the same mission, even if approaches and perspectives differ. To counter the global issues we face, we must act collectively. While OGP has one of the most vibrant communities of civil society organizations and activists, we cannot do it without government.”
This year, OGP celebrates its 10th anniversary. At the Summit, it will release an in-depth Decade Report, featuring stories and analysis of independent data showing that when governments co-create reforms with civil society, they are more ambitious and results are stronger. More than 4,500 reforms have been co-created in 78 countries over the past decade. 2,000 of these were reviewed independently, and over 20 percent were assessed to have made government significantly more open. The report also found that countries that used their OGP action plan to fight corruption were more likely to carry out reforms.
These actions help fight corruption, promote direct citizen engagement, combat growing inequality, and improve citizen trust of government. For example:
- Data shows that the more open a government is, the better the socio-economic outcomes.
- Countries that published more government data have had lower death rates during COVID-19 than more secretive governments.
- Countries that have more budget transparency borrow money at lower rates and spend more of it on vital social services.
Since 2011, the Open Government Partnership, founded by eight national members and nine civil society organizations and initiated by former U.S. President Barack Obama, has grown into a partnership of 78 national and 76 local government members and thousands of civil society organizations.
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Jose Perez Escotto
Open Government Partnership
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