BRIEF

Open Government

June 18, 2015

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OVERVIEW

Open government — increased transparency, citizen participation and collaboration between government and citizens — is a key driver of development in the 21st century. Citizen-centric governance, with openness as a central pillar, improves the use of public resources, facilitates inclusive decision-making processes and increases trust between governments and citizens. Governments that are more open are governments better positioned to act effectively and efficiently, to foster private sector growth and to respond to the true needs of all citizens.  

The global momentum behind open government has increased significantly in recent years, and with it, so has the World Bank Group's (WBG) commitment to helping clients become more open and, by doing so, achieving inclusive and sustainable development. The creation of the Governance Global Practice (GGP), provides a unique opportunity to foster collaboration and maximize the development impact of open government.

The vision of the Open Government Global Solutions Group (GSG) is to strengthen the GGP’s and the WBG’s open government support to clients, thus accelerating progress on the Bank’s twin goals. Acting now on open government is crucial because client demand for assistance in implementing related reforms is increasing. The GSG can play a key role in preparing the GGP to respond to these demands. It can also help the Bank adopt a collaborative and integrated approach to open government, in close collaboration with the Open Government Partnership (OGP), through which governments in every region have made commitments to increased openness.

The GSG’s specific objectives are to: develop an integrated approach to open government; incorporate open government into the GGP’s engagement strategy; identify business models to effectively engage with clients and respond to their open government demands; establish and strengthen collaboration with key stakeholders working on open government; and socialize the open government agenda inside and outside of the Bank.

PROGRAMMING EXAMPLES

Morocco

The 2011 Constitution, adopted in the wake of the Arab Spring, acknowledged the people's demands for more open and inclusive governance. It emphasized the principles of transparency and participation and introduced the right of citizens to petition public bodies, to present legislative motions to Parliament, and obtain access to public sector information. The WBG is supporting the concretization of these new constitutional rights through the First Transparency and Accountability Development Policy Lending (DPL) series called Hakama ('governance' in Arabic) and accompanying technical assistance financed by the G8-sponsored MENA Transition Fund. The Hakama program is supporting intertwined policy and institutional reforms on fiscal transparency, access to information and citizen engagement, three eligibility criteria for the Open Government Partnership, which Morocco hopes to join.

Tunisia                                                                           

The interim Government appointed after the 2011 Jasmine revolution called upon the World Bank Group for assistance with the transition. Breaking from past secrecy and repressive practices and setting the foundation for a democratic state were at the top of their agenda. The Bank supported this transformational policy shift on fiscal transparency, access to information and citizen engagement through the Governance and Opportunities DPL series and parallel open government technical assistance. The adoption of these policies/laws enabled Tunisia to join the Open Budget Partnership. The Bank is now supporting their implementation, primarily through an open budget platform and capacity building of public officials, parliamentarians and civil society, in cooperation with the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT).  

Philippines

Challenge: Achieving inclusive growth has been an elusive goal for the Philippines. However, a strong economy coupled with commitments to improving governance has increased confidence in the country’s prospects to achieve inclusive growth.

The challenge is to support the Government of the Philippines in the implementation of its open government reforms and to continue fostering confidence and inclusive growth.

Since taking office, the administration has made substantial improvements in areas such as budget formulation and transparency, open data, open contracting and citizen participation. These measures are not just common sense, they also build trust with constituencies that have not always seen the government as a partner. This has helped to support a process of coalition building to ensure that this confidence becomes a reality.

Approach: The WBG and other development partners have worked hand-in-hand with the Government of the Philippines to help them achieve their goals. For example, the Bank has provided technical assistance in the implementation of the Philippines' OGP National Action Plan. The support focuses on the Open Government Data initiative — part of a key set of instruments under the Philippines' Good Governance Anti-Corruption Cluster Plan (GGAC 2013-16) for improved governance, transparency and innovation.

The Government of the Philippines acknowledges that joining the OGP is just the first step in a long-term process. The major commitments for the next several years include the ratification of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill with Open Data provisions; creating more demand-side engagement activities such as hackathons, workshops and Open Data walk-throughs; and preparing the technical and strategic frameworks for Phase II of Open Government Philippines. The second phase focuses on the most important aspect of open government: closing the feedback loop between governments being "open" and citizens using this openness to hold governments accountable to improve their programs. Phase II therefore applies the principles and practices of openness to improve government programs across the board, including Bottom-Up-Budgeting (www.OpenBUB.gov.ph) and Open Reconstruction (www.OpenReconstruction.gov.ph).

Results: In September 2014, the Philippines was granted the Gold Open Government Award for Grassroots Participatory Budgeting (GPB). The country was recognized for its outstanding efforts to deepen citizen engagement in the budget process. The award followed the disclosure of over 600 different data sets on the recently launched website for Open Data: www.data.gov.ph. These data are already being used to help contribute to disaster relief reporting, monitor public procurement and track government expenditures.