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Alicia Bárcena, Helen Clark, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Helle Thorning-Schmidt to Serve as Open Government Partnership Ambassadors

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10 October 2017|Press Release

The Ambassadors were invited by the organization’s Steering Committee for their commitment to open government, as well as their storied careers and legacies fighting for citizen participation and empowerment.


Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC Executive Secretary
Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC Executive Secretary.
Photo: Carlos Vera/ECLAC (archive)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - October 10, 2017 - Four visionary women have been invited to serve as Ambassadors for the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The Right Honorable Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former United Nations Development Programme administrator; Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Prime Minister of Denmark and current CEO of Save the Children; Alicia Bárcena, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean; and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former Minister of Finance of Nigeria and former Managing Director of the World Bank will all serve as champions of the global open government movement.

The Ambassadors were invited by the OGP Steering Committee for their commitment to open government, as well as their storied careers and legacies fighting for citizen participation and empowerment. They join Winnie Byanyima, the Executive Director of Oxfam International, and Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, as OGP global ambassadors. The OGP Ambassadors play an even more critical role as they seek to work with OGP Support Unit and Steering Committee to strengthen the global open government coalition to position OGP as a powerful, positive global movement for openness and deeper democracy, and as a countervailing force against the rise of closed government.

“I am thrilled to be joining OGP as an Ambassador,” said Clark. “Open government is essential to advancing global development, and we’ve seen strong evidence that citizen participation can lead to landmark progress in climate action, gender equality, conservation, and beyond. I look forward to working with my fellow Ambassadors and open government champions around the world as we embark on this journey.”

“OGP is making great strides throughout the developing world, particularly in my home country of Nigeria,” said Okonjo-Iweala. “Fiscal transparency, open procurement, and participatory budgeting have created unique avenues for citizens and governments to work together to improve both quality of life and economic status, particularly for young people. Championing the cause of open government and the benefits it can bring is a challenge I eagerly anticipate.”

“Latin America has, in many ways, been a proving ground for the benefits of open governance,” said Barcena. “Countries like Mexico, one of our pioneers, Uruguay and Brazil have integrated open government policies into everyday life for citizens, while also bringing open government to the subnational and local levels, where citizen-government interaction has huge potential to affect change. Being able to advocate for this cause on a global stage is a humbling opportunity and I encourage that we move forward towards the concept of an open State to promote, in conjunction with a more empowered civil society, the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 SDGs.”

“Save the Children has worked for almost a hundred years to improve the lives of children around the world,” said Thorning-Schmidt. “OGP is a platform from which we can advocate for more open governance that better serves vulnerable children. We are passionate about involving children in the decisions that affect them. We know that increased civic participation can create real and lasting change in children’s lives. I look forward to working with the other Ambassadors to broaden and deepen the impact of OGP.”

OGP’s new Ambassadors will work with the Support Unit and Steering Committee of the global multilateral initiative to advocate for the the principles of transparency, inclusivity, accountability, and civic participation and will work together to fight the tides of rising authoritarianism, citizen distrust, and closed government.

For more information please contact:

Rachel Ostrow
Communications Officer
Open Government Partnership
Phone: +1 202 609 7859