Press Releases: September 22nd 2011
Representatives from more 40 nations aspiring to the ideals of an open society convened in New York on Tuesday to announce their shared commitment to transparency and greater civic participation in public affairs.
The event is part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative that was announced last year by US President Barack Obama, who received immediate support by seven other international leaders including Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“Today, the eight founding nations of our partnership are going even further — agreeing to an open government declaration rooted in several core principles. 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,” Obama said at the opening of the event.
The founding members include Mexico, Indonesia, South Africa, the Philippines and current OGP co-chairs the US and Brazil. All eight pledged to be more transparent, allow greater citizen participation in government and increase access to technology.
Obama said the moment was ripe for the initiative, with people across the Middle East and North Africa pushing for their governments to represent and benefit their citizens and with emerging democracies around the world showing how “innovations in open government” can increase prosperity and justice.
He said an additional 40 countries had begun working toward joining the partnership next year.
Obama said that as part of this pledge his administration would launch a new online tool that would allow Americans to petition the White House directly. He said they also would make the technology available to other governments.
Representing Indonesia on Tuesday was Yudhoyono’s most trusted aid, Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the chairman of the Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control (UKP4).
“Indonesians know too well how life was difficult when information was only shared among the few and how our bureaucracy was not an accountable tool for excellent public policies. However, Indonesians
today know how they can benefit from openness and transparency,” Kuntoro said at the event on behalf of the President.