Helen Clark: Speech at the Open Government Partnership Five Year Anniversary High-Level Event at the 71st UN General Assembly

Sep 20, 2016

Building the capacity of public sector institutions is key to achieving SDG 16. Photo credit: UNDP

Over the past five years the Open Government Partnership (OGP) has helped drive important reforms in many countries.

UNDP is proud to have been an official partner of OGP since its launch, and to have helped develop its multilateral framework. OGP’s founding principles align closely with UNDP’s governance and peacebuilding mandate, and our aspiration to help build links and trust between governments and peoples. 

The OGP principles are also closely aligned with the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. UNDP welcomes OGP’s “Joint Declaration on Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. 

Successful implementation of the new global agenda is a top priority for UNDP and the entire UN development system. We have particular expertise on Goal 16 on achieving peaceful, just, and inclusive societies and the need to “… build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels”. 

Many governments have called on UNDP to support the design, planning, and implementation of their OGP commitments. 

For example:

•    In July, more than 100 civil society groups, civil servants, and champions of open governance in Asia and the Pacific gathered at a dialogue hosted by UNDP and OGP in the Philippines. Participants shared their experiences of establishing transparent and effective institutions in support of SDG 16 and their OGP commitments.

•    In El Salvador, UNDP facilitated civil society engagement in the development of the OGP Action Plan. UNDP also supported a platform of “Civil Society Organizations for the Open Government Partnership” which provided Salvadorians with ways of being involved in monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan.

•    In Georgia and Chile, UNDP supported the elaboration of the first Action Plans for Legislative Openness within the OGP. UNDP assisted in the modification of Congressional regulations and practices on ethics, transparency, and anti-corruption. Georgia received last year’s OGP Award for this initiative.

•    In Armenia, UNDP supported the process of formulating the Second OGP Action Plan. UNDP has also supported the establishment of Open Governance Labs, through which civil society and government have created spaces for mainstreaming openness, participation and accountability in the public administration.

Looking to the future, there are many opportunities for further strengthening UNDP’s partnership with OGP. UNDP can:

•    host national and regional dialogues around OGP priorities, and promote the development of and follow up to commitments made in OGP countries; 

•    provide technical support for the development of open government mechanisms, including implementation and monitoring of Goal 16 targets, open legislative processes, and access to information - using the approaches and good practices offered by UNDP and other partners; and 

•    support the alignment of OGP commitments with national action plans for the SDGs, and boost related monitoring mechanisms.

One specific example: with support from USAID, UNDP is assisting four OGP countries El Salvador, Georgia, Indonesia and Tunisia with standardization of monitoring of Goal 16 targets, including for multi-stakeholder monitoring. The Community of Democracies, academia, civil society, and other stakeholders will be engaged developing score-cards on SDG implementation and in identifying data gaps.

To conclude. SDG 16 is innovative and ambitious - and so is the OGP. Building the capacity of public sector institutions is key to achieving the 2030 Agenda. Transparent and accountable institutions are central to promoting the people-centered approach to development for which the SDGs call.

In today’s interconnected world, building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels, requires building open government partnerships, and following through on the commitments made in the 2030 Agenda to leave no-one behind.

At UNDP we value our collaboration with OGP and look forward to further expanding our strategic partnership in the years ahead.

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