U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, along with officials from 46 countries and various civil society organizations, formally launched the Open Government Partnership on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. The Open Government Partnership, or OGP, is a new multilateral initiative to promote transparency, fight corruption, strengthen accountability, and empower citizens.
The eight OGP founding governments, led by Brazil and the United States, adopted an Open Government Declaration, pledging to advance certain core principles outlined by President Obama.
"We pledge to be more transparent at every level -- because more information on government activity should be open, timely, and freely available to the people. We pledge to engage more of our citizens in decision-making -- because it makes government more effective and responsive. We pledge to implement the highest standards of integrity -- because those in power must serve the people, not themselves. And we pledge to increase access to technology -- because in this digital century, access to information is a right that is universal."
Each of the eight OGP founding governments also presented an action plan with concrete commitments to put the principles of the Declaration into practice. The United States, for example, committed to a new partnership between government and industry to disclose revenues from publicly owned oil, gas, and mining assets. Brazil pledged to develop several initiatives to increase transparency and open data, including restructuring its Transparency Portal website. Mexico will increase the publication of socially useful information in four key areas – budget allocation, security, education, and telecommunications.
38 other governments -- including Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, and Uruguay -- committed to join OGP and deliver their own action plans by March 2012.
The Open Government Partnership "is about citizenship and people’s involvement," said Brazilian President Rousseff. "It is, therefore, a project to ensure democratic modernization."