The OAS Fellowship on Open Goverment in the Americas: Impact and Learning Report 2015 - 2017
Most Latin American societies have advanced considerably in their democratic consolidation in the last three decades. However, important challenges remain in the exercise of some of their citizens’ fundamental rights. The right of access to public information is one of these rights, and it is today recognized as crucial to asserting other economic, social and cultural rights in democratic societies: A government that acts openly and transparently, grants citizens access to public information and encourages collaboration and participation enables them to make well-informed decisions in all areas of life, demand better quality of public services, hold public officials accountable and participate actively in their country’s political debate and decision-making processes. It increases its own democratic legitimacy and the people’s trust in public institutions and the political system.
It is in this context that the concept of Open Government has emerged as one of the most important paradigm shifts in public management in the 21st century: a set of public policies that are founded on the principles of transparency and access to public information, citizen participation, inter-sectorial collaboration and the harnessing of new technologies to promote and achieve a better relationship between different government stakeholders, better public services and citizens’ quality of life. Open Government is a key ingredient of democratic governance, social stability and economic development as it meets the citizens’ increasing demands for effectively exercising their rights and actively participating in their countries’ decision-making processes. In 2011, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) was launched as an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Since then, OGP has grown from 8 to 75 participating countries (and 15 subnational governments), in which government and civil society are working together to develop ambitious action plans to implement Open Government principles. The Americas, in particular, stand out as the region with the most widespread participation in OGP, including 18 OAS Member states.