73 countries gather for Open Government Partnership meeting
While the eight partner countries that founded the Open Government Partnership may think of their strategies as prototypes, OGP Co-Chair for Civil Society Warren Krafchik said some of the newer partnership nations have established their own programs worthy of emulation. Krafchick attended the first annual OGP meeting in Brasilia, Brazil April 17 and 18.
"There was a time when you looked particularly to Europe and the U.S. for the best practices, for the models of how to conduct governance. That's shifted," Krafchik told O'Reilly Media's Alex Howard.
"We now have Tazania, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa, India. These are now, in many cases, the yard sticks of what good practices are, and I think that completely shifts the development paradigm in this world," added Krafchik.
Fifty-five countries now belong to OGP and 47 joined in the past 8 months. Among the new additions acknowledged at the meeting by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was Libya, "a government that before this year could never have participated in an Open Government Partnership," she said.
"Countries with open governments, open economies, and open societies will increasingly flourish," said Clinton. "By contrast, those governments that hide from public view and dismiss the idea of openness and the aspirations of their people for greater freedom will find it increasingly difficult to maintain peace and security," she added.
Clinton noted that asserting openness it not enough and technology is not a magic wand that can be waved to make a government more open. Each member country has a national action plan with proposed commitments to openness that they must fulfill.
If nations do not fulfill their promises to openness, the will first receive advice and collaboration from other OGP member countries, said Krafchik.
"The first idea of OGP is to make it work. But if that approach doesn't work, then the government in the public domain will receive the dissatisfaction of the citizens in the public at large," he said.
"The governments that enter into this process are doing it because they want to do well and they want to make sure the world sees that they do well," he added.
Re-committing to openness is also important, said Clinton. At the meeting she announced that the United States joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative "to bring more transparency to our oil, gas and mining industries."
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