OECD Issues Report About Open Government Efforts

8 December 2016

The OECD has released a report about what it calls “an implementation gap” in national open government efforts, including the right to information, with findings based in part on a 2015 survey of the 35 member governments and an additional 19 countries.

“This report provides a holistic, data-driven analysis of how countries are currently implementing open government practices, the main challenges they face and the untapped opportunities that exist for enhancing transparency, accountability and citizen participation both in the policy-making cycle and in service design and delivery.”

The “evidence suggests that providing funding for both coordination and implementation of open government reforms remains a challenge for many countries,” according to the report which can be downloaded until Dec. 31 from the OECD library (www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance) with the username: gov-oecd2016 and password : oecd2016-ilibrary.

“These kinds of findings illustrate an implementation gap: while many governments have declared open government principles as aspirational statements, few appear to be seriously integrating them into direct people management systems,” the report concludes.

In answer to one survey question, 89% of the countries that responded claimed that one of the key objectives they hope to achieve by implementing open government initiatives is to improve the transparency of the public sector. “It should be noted, however, that very few countries hope to improve the transparency of the private sector through their open government initiatives,” according to the report.

Among the things, the report recommends that countries broaden their open government efforts, including to sub-national governments. It also urges the promotion of a free and independent media.

Access to Information Included

“The right to access public sector information is the cornerstone of an open and inclusive government and a crucial element to reduce corruption and deepen trust among citizens and their governments,” according to the report. But it calls access to information (ATI) a “necessary but not sufficient condition” for open government in Chapter 2 on the “enabling environment for an open government strategy.”

The commentary includes some comments on specific national ATI situations (Tunisia, Indonesia and Morocco), summarizes previous OECD research and makes some general recommendations.

Among brief notes on national situation, the report criticizes Indonesia for not establishing enough government units to disseminate information.

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