"Open Government advocates for a significant increase in transparency, access to information and accountability, which, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, is crucial to ensuring the efficient and effective use of resources for response and recovery," Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), said in a video message transmitted during the Virtual Leaders Summit of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), held on Thursday, September 24, 2020.
The Open Government Partnership proposes creating a space so that civil society and the public, together with government institutions, are able to play an active role in monitoring funds and programs for post-pandemic support and recovery, Bárcena explained.
“ECLAC has established a COVID-19 Observatory that can be a useful instrument in this effort,” the Executive Secretary stated during the event held in the framework of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which was moderated by the former Prime Minister of New Zealand and OGP Ambassador, Helen Clark, and which drew the participation of Heads of State and Government along with other prominent figures from across the world.
During her message, Bárcena said that “ECLAC continues to promote Open Government policies and practices among all branches and levels of State in the countries of the region.”
According to the senior official, opening up systematic channels for public participation and creating spaces in which to address public and private interests can foster the construction of policy agendas that reflect the power of collaboration; modern, efficient, sustainable and inclusive public management; trust between State institutions and citizens; and lastly, a better quality of democracy.
“One of the initiatives through which Latin America and the Caribbean is advancing this vision and leading by example is the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters, or the Escazú Agreement,” Bárcena said, explaining that it “supports more open, transparent and inclusive decision-making, from a whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach.”
Since the creation of the Open Government Partnership in 2011, 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have joined this initiative, 51 National Action Plans have been co-created, and 1,100 commitments linked to the principles of Open Government have been implemented. In addition, there is a growing number of Open Government initiatives being carried out at the subnational level, which is closest to citizens.