The open government partnership: will Brazil promote green transparency?

On September 20, eight governments will gather in New York to launch the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a new multilateral initiative to strengthen transparency, citizen participation, accountability, and share new technologies and innovation. The Brazilian and U.S. governments are leading the initiative, which also involves the governments of Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, and the United Kingdom as founding members.

To join this club, governments must commit to fiscal transparency through timely publication of budget documents and an open budget system, a law on access to information, rules for public disclosure of income and assets of elected and senior officials, and citizen participation and engagement in policymaking and protection of civil liberties. Another 22 countries have already joined the partnership, bringing the total participating countries to 36.

As co-chair, Brazil is expected to make strong commitments to strengthen transparency and civil society participation. Yet Brazil has not yet been successful in passing an access to information law and the country has much to do in order to ensure greater transparency.

The World Resources Institute’s Access Initiative, a network of civil society organizations working on environmental democracy, organized the Three Demands campaign, in which countries make demands of their respective governments for commitments at the Rio 2012 Earth Summit.

Brazil is hosting the 2012 Earth Summit (Rio+20) next June, which indicates that the country is willing to commit to sustainable development and green economy in an open debate with civil society. This can only be achieved with an accessible and open government; the Open Government Partnership provides the basic tools for civil society organizations to participate in government decisions and policy making.


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