“Glass Village Project”, “Smart Municipality”, “The Guiding Lights of the Archipelago”….read more about the unique public service initiatives that were submitted this year!
At OGP, one of the principles guiding our work is that open government reforms should ultimately benefit the lives of the average citizen. This means that while OGP countries can reform public policies and programs to become more open, accountable and responsive, citizens should be able to see, hear and feel those changes in their lives in very real, concrete ways. This may seem like a lofty ideal, but we like to aim high! The annual Open Government Awards were created to showcase some of the best examples of how change is being felt on the ground. The Awards are a reminder not just to us, but also to the entire community working to make governments more open – of what can be achieved through their efforts.
This year’s Awards theme is “improving public services through open government.” Public services are the most direct way in which people interact with and experience their government. Education, healthcare, water, roads, public safety – if delivered well and accessible to all – form the foundation of inclusive development. In today’s world, people have the potential to be active rather than passive users of public services, and governments can and should help to strengthen this role. Thirty countries (18 of which were joint applications between governments and civil society, and nine which were initiatives led or co-led by subnational governments) competed for the Open Government Awards this year. This was once again a testament to how eager OGP countries are to showcase open government initiatives making a difference on the ground.
The range and diversity of the initiatives is compelling – Indonesia, Uruguay and South Korea demonstrate how they improved health outcomes; Slovakia, Jordan and South Africa showcase how they boosted the quality of education; Estonia, the Netherlands and Latvia present the use of innovative technology to improve public services; the Philippines, Bulgaria, Brazil and Hungary use smart incentives to improve local governance; and still others – such as Mexico and France – illustrate approaches to unique public policy problems such as ensuring safety in public day care centers and improving uptake of social benefits by disadvantaged groups.
The range of applications presented a challenge to our esteemed panel of 23 judges, who were asked to assess the boldness of each initiative relative to the unique social, political and economic challenges faced by each country. If you are attending the Global Summit in Mexico this October, you will have the chance to hear powerful and inspiring talks from the reformers who are behind the winning initiatives. We hope they illustrate the partnerships, innovations, opportunities as well as setbacks that each initiative has undergone in order to be successful. As Marianne Lundsgaard, the winner from Denmark said last year: “After receiving the Award our organisation has received more work and publicity. We have presented the Award to many Danish politicians and I have answered quite a few emails from other countries concerning Senior Citizens Councils in Denmark, and the way we have given senior citizens a voice.” OGP will be honoring three overall winners, four regional champions and a special recognition category for the country that was best able to demonstrate how it improved public services for marginalized and disadvantaged groups.
The Awards ceremony will be held on October 28th from 9-1 pm Mexico time, and will be livestreamed. So look forward to the moment we reveal the winners, and take the opportunity to engage them at the Summit to hear more about their good work. We hope you will be as impressed and inspired as we are every time we host this competition!