The G20 Open Data Plan against corruption

The G20 Leaders established the Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG) at the Toronto Summit in 2010 in recognition of the significant negative impact of corruption on economic growth, trade and development. The work of the ACWG has been guided by two-year action plans that include commitments by G20 countries to ratify and implement the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Still, at the end of 2014, corruption continues to represent a significant threat to global growth and financial stability.

The ACWG recognizes that promoting greater transparency and integrity in the public sector is essential to preventing the misuse or diversion of public funds, which can have a significant negative impact on economic growth and development. The G20 must continue to lead by example in this area by ensuring that government agencies, policies, and officials model international best practices for public transparency and integrity.

For that, the new 2015-16 G20 Anti-Corruption Implementation Plan that has just been ratified in the last Leader’s summit in Brisbane includes different areas of action with specific commitments, including several focused on Open Data. More specifically:

The ACWG has identified open data, public procurement, whistleblower protections, immunities from prosecution, fiscal and budget transparency, and standards for public officials as main issues affecting the public sector transparency and integrity which merit particular attention in 2015-16.

What’s the problem?

Open data initiatives play an important role in promoting public sector transparency and accountability, and can also have significant benefits for the private sector. In particular, open data helps businesses to assess risks and opportunities in different markets so they can make better investment decisions. Open data also gives citizens better visibility of the flow of public money across borders, and enhances public debate on the use of public money.

The G20 value add

Building on open data initiatives developed in other fora (e.g. the G8 Open Data principles), the G20 will lead by example in promoting and implementing international best practices on open data.

Links to the G20 broader agenda

Open data has important benefits for the wider G20 agenda, for example, with regard to investment by empowering the private sector to make better investments decisions.

Specific commitments in the current G20 implementation plan

  1. The ACWG will prepare a G20 compendium of good practices and lessons learned on open data and its application in the fight against corruption.
  2. The ACWG will prepare G20 Open Data Principles, including identifying areas or sectors where their application is particularly useful and taking into account different national legal frameworks.
  3. G20 countries will complete self assessments of their open data frameworks and initiatives, with reference to the G20 Open Data Principles, and consider next steps.

The new Open Government Partnership Open Data Working Group

Governments are increasingly creating new open data initiatives and they are the most popular Open Government Partnership commitment so far. Still, the potential of Open Data and its implications for governance are only starting to be articulated.

The mission of the OGP Open Data Working Group is to hold the promise of radically transforming the way government and societies work together to analyze and solve challenges; helping OGP governments implement their commitments and develop more ambitious and innovative action plans related to open data.

Open Government Partnership

More specifically, the new Open Data Working Group aims to:

  • Serve as a guiding voice on open data issues to help OGP governments implement their action plans and develop ambitious new commitments.
  • Increase awareness of open government data issues across the OGP.
  • Amplify and broaden the evidence base for open data reforms.
  • Gather and strengthen existing resources.
  • Engage with the broader global open data community.

Participation in the group is open to all OGP countries and civil society organizations working on open data issues. I was invited to participate on behalf of OpenKratio, a citizens’ group that promote Open Government and Open Data values within the society and the only Spanish representation in the group so far.

The working group first convened on the side of the OGP Summit in London last October. Topics that were discussed during the meeting included:

  1. Open Data measurement – the need to better understand the impacts of open data.
  2. Capacity building – what’s yet to be done and were are the gaps.
  3. Data standards – how to cross-link between information silos to achieve greater impact.
  4. Developing and implementing stronger open data commitments – is there a need for a common set of principles?

There was also a formal launch in a public event as part of the really interesting OGP summit general agenda, which included several high-level participants from governments and civil society, such as Tim Berners-Lee (Founding Director of the Web Foundation; President and Co-Founder of the Open Data Institute) and Beth Noveck (Professor of The Gov Lab, New York University).

This panel explored the current reality of open data implementation, drawing upon early findings from the Open Data Barometer study, and how to move faster to close the gap between rhetoric and reality to unlock the real potential of open data.

The group is currently working on a more specific concept note that will drive the group work in the future on the basis of the feedback and input from the first meeting. Stay tuned for the next steps of the Group during the following months.

Cien años de evolución en la comunicación entre Gobierno y ciudadanos

Un 15 de marzo de 1913, hace ya 100 años, el presidente Woodrow Wilson celebró la primera rueda de prensa en la Casa Blanca, todo un hito en la historia de la democracia y de la comunicación entre el gobierno y los ciudadanos.

Presidentes de los Estados Unidos

Varias décadas después en 1955, Eisenhower permitió que las cámaras grabaran por primera vez una rueda de prensa presidencial.

Fue Kennedy en 1961 quien dio un nuevo paso adelante al ofrecer la primera rueda de prensa de un presidente en directo por la televisión, cambiando para siempre las reglas de la comunicación entre el Gobierno y los ciudadanos. El directo tuvo dos efectos inmediatos, los presidentes tenían que prepararse mucho más ante una rueda de prensa, pero también hizo posible que se pudieran comunicarse de una forma más directa con los ciudadanos.

Hoy en día las nuevas tecnologías están volviendo a revolucionar la forma en la que los políticos se comunican con los ciudadanos, lo que nos deja una pregunta muy interesante:

¿Cómo será la comunicación entre los gobiernos y los ciudadanos en el futuro?

Quizás llegue el día en el que la transparencia y la rendición de cuentas no se articulen a través de actos puntuales, sino que la apertura se convertiría en el estado natural de los gobiernos. Afortunadamente no habrá que esperar otros cien años para la próxima revolución en la comunicación entre gobierno y ciudadanos, esa revolución se llama Open Data, ya ha comenzado y nuevamente parte de los Estados Unidos.

El 21 de Enero de 2009, y en su primer día de mandato, el presidente Obama firmó un memorando sobre Transparencia y Gobierno Abierto, dando lugar a una nueva era de Gobierno Abierto y Responsable dirigido a acercar el Gobierno a los ciudadanos.

En Septiembre de 2011 se publica la declaración de Gobierno Abierto y queda formalmente constituido el Open Government Partnership, promovido por los Gobiernos de Estados Unidos y otros siete países, con el compromiso de aumentar la disponibilidad de información sobre las actividades gubernamentales, apoyar la participación ciudadana, aplicar los más altos grados de integridad profesional en los gobiernos y aumentar el acceso a las nuevas tecnologías para la apertura y la rendición de cuentas.

A día de hoy 58 países se han adherido ya a la sociedad por el Gobierno Abierto y sus principios, y ese número sigue aumentando día a día. Entre los compromisos adoptados por los países destaca uno mayoritariamente: el Open Data.