Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform participates in Open Government Partnership summit in Mexico City

Issued 30 October 2015

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin T.D., was amongst Ministerial heads of State and Presidential participants from over 70 countries from across the world who took part in Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit in Mexico City.  The Summit took place from October 27th to 29th and was attended by over 2,000 participants from civil society organisations, business, academia, tech, and governments. 

Top of the agenda was the agreement on theJoint Declaration on Open Government for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Minister signed up to the Joint Declaration on Ireland’s behalf. In doing so he was among at least 33 of OGP’s current 66 countries and dozens of civil society organisations that committed to using their participation in the Open Government Partnership to implement the new Global Goals and to increase the transparency of the resources intended to fight poverty.

The Minister said:-

“Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals provides the opportunity to eradicate poverty and I am very pleased that the Declaration was the priority focus of the Summit and that it has been signed up to by so many countries.”   

During the Summit the Minister heard examples from other countries on how openness can improve public services, drive economic growth, reduce poverty and make governments more accountable to the people they serve.   He contributed as a panel member to sessions on seeking to better integrate OGP activities in EU Member States and on the importance of Ethics and Transparency in the Legislature.  

The Minister said:-

“The Summit provided an important opportunity to re-affirm Ireland’s commitment to governmental transparency and reform, as well as to collaborate with ministers and civil society representatives at international level to advance effective models of civil society engagement and to share experiences and best practice on OGP actions”.

The Minister’ attendance at the Summit follows the recent publication (21st October 2015) of Ireland’s Mid-term Self-Assessment Report on its performance in respect of its commitments under its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. 

The Minister concluded:

“I am very pleased to have been able to report to the international Open Government Partnership Steering Committee that very substantial progress has been made in the first of a two-year work programme and that of the 26 commitments included in the Plan, 12 are now completed, and 10 more are substantially progressed.  My Department will continue to work with civil society members to monitor progress in implementation of the remaining actions and to consider how best to progress development of the second OGP National Action Plan”.

Ends

 

Note for Editors

The Open Government Partnership (OGP), launched in 2011, is a multilateral initiative comprising 66 participating countries which aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.  It is overseen by a multi‐stakeholder International Steering Committee involving Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Georgia, Croatia, South Africa, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Philippines and France and representatives of civil society organisations. Mexico is currently the lead chair of OGP, and South Africa is the government support chair. 

Major events at the Global Summit included:

●       Sri Lanka, Cote D’Ivoire and Papua New Guinea join OGP

●       At least 33 countries signed the Joint Declaration on Open Government for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

●       Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International Executive Director, joins OGP as a new Ambassador.

●       The summit followed on the heels of an OGP Civil Society Day, which drew over 1,000 participants

●       Winners of the global Open Government Awards.

●       New accountability reports launched on the founding eight OGP countries.

●       A pilot program for taking OGP to a city level, to be implemented by leading Mayors.

Ireland’s Membership of the OGP

Ireland sought membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in the belief that its aims would add further depth and provide an important international complement to Ireland’s existing reform programme, which aims at strengthening transparency and accountability of public institutions, providing improved and innovative public service and increasing citizen participation in policy-making. 

Irelands Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan 2014-2016 (NAP) was developed jointly with civil society and citizen interests over a period of 14 months and published in July 2014. It includes 26 commitments, spanning three core areas: Open Data and Transparency, Citizen Participation, and Strengthening Governance and Accountability.   

Ireland published its Mid-term Self-Assessment Report assessing its performance in respect of its commitments under the NAP on 21st October 2015.  Of the 26 commitments included in the NAP, 12 are now completed, and 10 more are substantially progressed. The Department and civil society members will monitor progress in the implementation of the remaining actions and consider how best to progress development of the second OGP National Action Plan.

Sustainable Development Goals

17 Sustainable development Goals (SDGs)are at the heart of the new development framework adopted by global leaders at a UN Summit in New York from 25-27 September. The new agreement is called “Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (the 2030 Agenda). The Summit saw the largest number of heads of state and government in the history of the UN gather to adopt the new framework, the 2030 Agenda, which will guide the actions of all countries in their efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger and achieve sustainable development over the next fifteen years. The Taoiseach led the Irish delegation on the opening day of the Summit and President Higgins and Minister of State Sherlock also participated.