Press Release

Open Government Partnership Wins 2014 Commitment to Development Award for Enhancing Government Openness in Developing and High-Income Countries Alike

October 27, 2014

Washington, D.C. (October 27, 2014) – The Open Government Partnership has been named the winner of the 2014 Commitment to Development Ideas in Action Award for its achievements in encouraging governments around the world to commit to greater transparency, accountability and citizen engagement.

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The Commitment to Development Ideas to Action Award, bestowed annually since 2003, honors an individual or organization for making a significant contribution to changing attitudes and policies of the rich and powerful toward the developing world. The award will be presented by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and accepted by representatives of the OGP at an event on November 5, 2014 in Washington, DC.

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency and accountability, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. Since its inception in 2011, OGP has grown from eight founding governments* to 65 countries, representing a third of the world’s population, and secured more than 2,000 commitments from participating governments to be more open and accountable to their citizens. Many of those commitments have now been completed and are resulting in real changes for citizens.

“We are delighted to honor the Open Government Partnership with the 2014 Commitment to Development Award,” said CGD president Nancy Birdsall. “The OGP has demonstrated the power of voluntary, public commitments as a catalyst for greater openness in a wide range of participating countries. It shows that all countries have room for improvement when it comes to openness and transparency—and can improve when they publicly commit to doing so.”

“The Open Government Partnership is honored to be receiving the prestigious award. Recognition like this confirms our belief that more open, accountable and effective governments will result in better development outcomes for people everywhere,” said Linda Frey, executive director of the OGP Support Unit. “It should be the norm that people have a voice in how their countries are governed and that governments are responsive to their input. We are proud that OGP is increasingly being used as a platform for advancing the types of reforms that open up governments to citizen participation.”

To join OGP, countries must commit to uphold the principles of open and transparent government by endorsing the Open Government Declaration and thus committing to “foster a global culture of open government that empowers and delivers for citizens, and advances the ideals of open and participatory 21st century government.” Countries must also commit to work with civil society on an ongoing basis to craft and implement open government reform commitments.

Open, transparent government is necessary for citizens to have input to government policies and decisions, and to hold government accountable for results. OGP countries have tackled a diverse range of issues in their action plans. These include access-to-information laws; increasing budget and fiscal transparency; commitments to tackle anonymous company ownership; open contracting and procurement reform; political financing; opening up government data; improving extractive industries transparency; and creating open policymaking platforms. These types of reforms benefit citizens all over the world directly in terms of policy change, and give citizens the means to hold governments accountable for impacts on people well beyond their borders.

Perhaps the greatest strength of OGP is that it provides a forum for openness advocates in government and civil society to share information to learn what does and does not work. At its best, OGP can facilitate a productive, global exchange of information on openness issues that encourages countries to craft increasingly ambitious national action plans. OGP also has an Independent Reporting Mechanism that evaluates whether OGP participating countries are delivering on their promise to reform, and engaging with civil society.  This ensures OGP focuses on ensuring real change is happening on the ground in OGP participating countries, and that this change is benefitting citizens.

Previous winners of the Commitment to Development Award include: the European ministers of international development who constituted the Utstein Group (2003); Oxfam's Make Trade Fair Campaign (2004); then-Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown (2005), then-U.S. Congressman Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) (2006), Global Witness (2007), the ONE Campaign (2008), Diego Hidalgo Schnur (2009), Publish What You Pay (2010), former president of the International Center for Research on Women Geeta Rao Gupta (2011), then-U.S. Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) (2012), and Unilever chief executive officer Paul Polman (2013).


*Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States

The Center for Global Development: CGD works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community to make the world a more prosperous, just, and safe place for all people. As a nimble, independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit think tank, focused on improving the policies and practices of the rich and powerful, the Center combines world-class scholarly research with policy analysis and innovative outreach and communications to turn ideas into action.