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Open governance: Helping citizens engage with government

What's at stake?

In recent years, many countries have recognised the importance of open governance in strengthening democracy, curbing corruption and promoting better development. If citizens do not know how decisions are made, how taxes are spent or who is responsible within governments, citizens cannot ensure governments are working for their benefit.

Transparency, accountability and participation are necessary conditions to ensure that public resources are used efficiently, public policies are designed in the best interest of the population, and governments act with integrity. Despite many initiatives to promote transparency, accountability and participation in government, much work is still needed to deliver the benefits of open governance to citizens all over the world.

What we're doing about it

Open governance means citizens have rights to access to information and participation; governments have the institutions and policies to promote transparency, accountability and participation; and the appropriate tools are available, and investments made, to enable these policies.

Through open governance, citizens are guaranteed an enabling environment for participation. Citizen participation in public policies and processes means they can hold authorities to account, denounce instances of malfeasance and sanction elected officials – all key to fighting corruption.

We seek to maximise citizens’ effective use of open governance to advocate for and create change through promoting direct engagement with communities on open governance; coordinate with civil society to promote coherent, open government standards and monitoring systems; and foster stronger government commitments to implement critical open governance reforms.

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Our approach

The Open Governance Project furthers open governance by focusing on citizens and their power to generate positive change.

The project’s key activities include:

● Identifying, developing and advocating for the adoption of open governance standards at the national and international level;

● Monitoring open governance standards through a scorecard which helps identify the baseline of governments’ efforts on transparency, accountability and participation;

● Based on scorecard results, developing and advocating for recommendations on how national governments can better achieve open governance;

● Engaging citizens through tools and campaigns that enable participation and a better understand of the principles of open governance;

● Leveraging the work of the Open Government Partnership to improve the design and implementation of national and local plans.