The UK was today announced as the 2012 co-chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an innovative international initiative bringing developed and developing countries together to promote transparency and harness new technologies for open government to help fight corruption, engage citizens and save lives.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, will accept the UK’s lead role at the official launch in New York today. He will deliver a speech to delegates from across the world, sharing experiences from the UK and will announce new commitments on aid transparency.
8 countries have already joined the partnership. The inaugural chairs are the US and Brazil. The UK will take over the US role in March 2012. Brazil will continue its role as co-chair alongside the UK until September 2012.
Every participating country must sign a declaration committing to greater transparency and set out their individual country action plan.
Francis Maude will represent the UK and announce new commitments relating to open government and aid:
- Government aid conditional on working towards transparency: when deciding whether governments will receive UK budget support, progress against Open Government Partnership membership criteria will be assessed. When the UK gives budget support to other countries, 5% of this will be ring fenced to be spent on strengthening local accountability to support progress against Open Government Partnership goals.
- Greater transparency over aid budgets: at present, only 1 UK government department, the Department for International Development (DfID), publishes information on how it spends aid funds according to international standards. In future, other UK departments that spend aid funds will have to publish this data.
DfID will now work with other relevant departments to agree timescales for the publication of the new data.
Speaking ahead of the event on Tuesday, Minister for Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said:
The UK has the most ambitious open data agenda in the world. Transparency can be transformative. It can help build trust, efficiency and save lives. We’re here to share our experiences and promote the global spread of transparency. We all have an enormous amount to learn from each other. I am proud to be representing the UK and to be in a partnership that I believe will be a force for good in our time.
Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell, said:
The best way to demonstrate that aid works is to be open and transparent about how it is spent. We want to dispense with the power to sweep things under the carpet - that’s why we’ve created an independent aid watchdog to provide unflinching scrutiny of our programmes.
We publish what we spend on our website, and demand that organisations - including overseas governments - which receive UK taxpayers funding meet standards for transparency. The UK chairing the Open Government Partnership is another important step.