On September 20, 2016, on the margins of the 71st United Nations’ General Assembly, France officially took the co-chairmanship of the Open Government Partnership, alongside the NGO World Resources Institute, which focuses in the management of natural resources and climate issues.
During the ceremony, also the celebration of the Partnerships’ fifth anniversary, François Hollande, President of the French Republic announced the priorities that will guide France’s actions within the OGP. On this occasion, Georgia and Mr. Mukelani Dimba from the South African organization Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC) jointly became vice-chairs of the OGP.
- The co-chairmanship declaration
France will hold the presidency for a year, during which it will work with its partners to strengthen three thematic priorities, to strengthen the functioning of the Partnership and to expand to new members, particularly from the francophone community.
“Opening government is to work for the renewal of democracy and public action. It is to build a world in which stronger transparency and accountability mechanisms take us into a more stable, more prosper and more equal society. A world where transparency and access to information consolidate trust towards institutions and reanimate citizens’ desire to engage in public action, next to public servants. A world where government is “from the people, by the people and for the people”. A world where, at the digital age, public action is enriched by collective intelligence when facing the major challenges of our planet.”
“Three political priorities will be at the center of our action: first of all, climate and sustainable development; then, transparency, integrity and the fight against corruption; and last but not least, the digital common goods. “
In parallel, France has committed to play an active role in the finalization and the implementation of the new strategic plan of the Partnership that includes the review of certain operating methods and the “playing field” of the OGP. The eligibility criteria will be reviewed and the actions against countries that miss to respect their engagements will be reinforced.
In order to achieve the full potential to this transformation, France has also stated that the OGP has to involve new institutions as well as stakeholders and expand to local authorities, parliaments and the private sector.
- The French President’ speech
In front of Heads of State and government, ministers, parliamentarians, dozens of civil society organizations, public servants and worldwide engaged citizens, the president of the French Republic reminded the French commitments within the OGP since 2014.
“Two years ago, I came here among you and announced that France was going to join the Open Government Partnership. Not to give you advices, but to learn from you. How can we open ourselves better, debate better, discuss better, decide better and make sure that our citizens are able to co-elaborate public policies.”
Mr. Hollande invited his counterparts and the international community to ambitiously prepare the 4th OGP Global Summit that will gather thousands of participants that, on a daily basis, are creating new forms of governance, engagement and participation in public life.
“I wish that at the time we meet in Paris on December 7th, countries will be able to announce concrete commitments in favor of increased transparency, participation and the renewal of public life. I look forward to see you all next December so that we can give to the Paris Summit the same level of ambition that we gave to the climate meeting last December. We have to remember that it was in Paris where the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was announced to the world and that we can add to these rights, the rights for an Open Government and for an even more shared democracy.
- The other events
On the margins of the ceremony, a meeting of the OGP’s Steering Committee (see the photos), which reunited 11 state representatives and 11 civil society representatives, was held to define the major axis of the Partnership’ strategic plan review and the preparation of the Paris Summit (a provisional program was released). Several bilateral ministerial meetings were organized during which Secretary Jean Vincent Placé was able to exchange with his peers on the action to take within the OGP.
France participated in the event Harnessing the Data Revolution for Climate Resilience organized by WRI and the White House (see the video and Etalab’s presentation at 2:35:00). Taking into account the engagements of the Paris Agreement on climate change, of the OGP and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, France presented a joint declaration where 15 countries and different organizations commit to put data at the service of climate resilience.