The UK was today announced as the 2012 co-chair of the Open Government Partnership - an innovative initiative bringing developed and developing countries together to promote open government and aid transparency.
Video: The benefits of open government. News story continues below
The UK will accept the lead role at the official launch in New York later today.
Eight 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.
During the event, the UK is set to announce new commitments relating to open government and aid transparency:
Government aid supports better transparency - 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 the Department for International Development publishes information on how it spends aid funds according to international standards. In future, other UK Government departments that spend aid funds will have to publish this data.
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.