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New International Initiative for Open Government

In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 2011, US President Barack Obama announced a new global open government initiative led by the US and Brazil.  His statement on this subject was short and the message may have gone unnoticed by most people. 

Eight countries have already signed the declaration and delivered country action plans (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, and the United States) and others have committed to do so.  Nevertheless apart from Brazil, none of the other BRIC countries have made a commitment.  What is holding them up?

Nevertheless there was an immediate comment from Twaweza from Kenya who responded:  “In a world marked by so much turmoil, we need open government to build trust and to revitalize the social compact between states and citizens. Openness can bring governments and citizens together, cultivate shared understandings, and help solve our practical problems.  It starts with sharing information.” 

BIIA salutes this comment.  Information sharing is at the core of transparency.  BIIA also supports this initiative and hopes that the governments from other nations will soon join this movement. 

David Curle, Director & Lead Analyst of Outsell commented in his recent Outsell Insight : “The best byproduct of open government from the perspective of the information provider is the existence of raw, standardized, machine-readable data that can be transformed into new information products that the agencies might not have dreamed of within the narrower scope of their missions.”

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