Jean Lievens: Open Government Partnership and the Environment

Cultural Intelligence, Earth Intelligence
Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

Open Government Partnership: It’s Time for Deeper Engagement with the Environment Sector World Resources Institute This post was co-written with Consuelo Fernandez, an intern with WRI’s Access Initiative. The Open Government Partnership (OGP)—which held its most recent summit about three weeks ago—has made tremendous progress in its two years of existence. The OGP, a voluntary partnership between governments and civil society, aims to make governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Discussions at the summit made it clear that the partnership is already demonstrating impact. Sixty-two governments have now joined OGP, making 1,115 commitments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The Summit provided a real sense that there’s a growing community who really “gets” the importance of open government to meeting development goals. Yet there was still a gap in the discourse in one particular area—the environment. Open Government and the Environment While it’s encouraging that OGP governments have made more than 1,000 commitments to transparency and accountability, as of this month, only 29 of these commitments—or 3 percent— pertained to environmental and natural resource management. We define ”environmental” commitments as those which specifically mention environmental issues or natural resource management and have a direct impact on ecosystems, land use practices, or resource extraction. The gap in environmental commitments is particularly troubling, given that climate change, air pollution, water risks, use of toxic and solid waste, extractive sectors, the growth of cities, and land use change are of fundamental importance to present and future generations. Without government transparency and accountability, development decisions can come at the expense of communities and the land, water, and resources they rely on for their livelihoods.

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