United tions, Sept 21: Transparency and civic participation in decision-making are vital for democracy, the economy and sustaible development, government and civil society leaders said on Tuesday as they celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) here. “Democracy has become quite fragile, quite vulnerable,” French President Francois Hollande said. “The real peril (to democracy) is indifference, and that happens when decisions are made without the people.
“Make sure that democracy is the most open, the most concrete, the most shared possible so that it may once again become a hope for many people,” he said. Hollande, who is the incoming co-chair of OGP, emphasised the far-reaching impact that openness in government has on society.
“Transparency should also be a part of the economic domain,” he said. “Those of us who make decisions have to realise what we are doing economically to other people. So transparency is an indispensable condition of democracy.”
South African President Jacob Zuma said OPG membership had grown from eight founding members to 70 over five years and it was a testament to the success of the organisation and its growing importance in propagating transparency in governments around the world.
Zuma is completing his term as OGP’s co-chair. OGP is an intertiol initiative to bring together governments and civil society organisations to promote open governce.
Participating countries have to endorse the Open Government Declaration, provide action plans developed with public consultation, and agree to their independent monitoring implementation.
India is not a member of OGP. Manish Bap, the other incoming co-chair, recalled his visits to Udaipur over the years and the environmental degradation of the city and its iconic lake that he saw. “The problem was not the desire of city leaders to create jobs or promote growth.” “It was the failure of the leaders to engage with ordiry citizens. I came to realise that development efforts that didn’t truly involve the ordiry people were likely to fail,” he said.(IANS)