SECRETARY BLINKEN: Hello, everyone. I’m glad to join this year’s Open Government Partnership Summit. I’m grateful to everyone who made this event possible: our host and OGP steering committee co-chair, the Government of Estonia, and our CEO Sanjay Pradhan.
Twelve years ago, eight countries worked with civil society groups to launch the Open Government Partnership based on shared principles: the belief that every person in a society should be able to understand the government decisions affecting their lives and have a say in shaping them; that citizens should have the power to hold public officials and their governments to account; and that governing involves more than just governments, with members of civil society, academia, the private sector all playing critical roles.
Over the last decade, the Open Government Partnership has shown that when these principles are put into action, our democracies are more equitable, more prosperous, and they’re better able to deliver essential services for their people. But as President Biden often says, democracy doesn’t happen by accident. It must be renewed every day by all of us. The United States is committed to revitalizing democracy at home and around the world and doing so through the Open Government Partnership and other organizations.
That’s why we’re grateful to have been elected to the OGP steering committee in March. Over the next three years, we’ll help set the Open Government agenda with our fellow members and work toward our shared priorities. And we’ll bring in perspectives from across our government, applying the best practices that we’ve gathered from our initiatives both within our country and around the world. We’ll also incorporate lessons learned from our other efforts to support open government, including the Summit for Democracy.
During his first year in office, President Biden launched the Summit for Democracy, bringing together countries from around the world to strengthen our democratic institutions. Since then, the United States has worked with our partners to implement our summit commitments so that, together, we can address some of the toughest challenges we all face, from rising inequality to the misuse of technology.
We’re also focused on tackling corruption to help defend the integrity of governing institutions and restore people’s trust in them. During his first year in office, President Biden launched the first ever U.S. strategy to counter corruption. As part of this initiative, the United States joined 35 other nations at the second Summit for Democracy and committed to improve transparency in our financial systems so that we can prevent corrupt actors from hiding their identities and their assets in our countries. And this December, in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States will continue those efforts by hosting the largest biennial UN conference on anti-corruption.
While we’re making progress globally, in this area and others, we’re also working to bolster our own democracy. We’re taking steps to implement our domestic Summit for Democracy commitments. And last December, we also released our newest Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, which outlines our latest pledges to make our government more transparent, including creating opportunities for citizens to weigh in when we develop new regulations.
As we move forward, we’ll continue encouraging and amplifying similar initiatives that our OGP colleagues are using to strengthen democracy – like passing laws requiring that government documents are written in plain language; letting citizens propose ideas for public projects and vote on funding them; creating committees of civil society leaders to help shape policy; transforming government services so that they’re fully accessible online, whether that’s filing taxes or voting in elections.
We know how much work remains. But by joining forces, by sharing our experiences, by holding each other accountable, we can learn from each other, and we can make our democracies more open and transparent and demonstrate clearly that there is no better system of government in the world.
I look forward to a successful summit. Thank you.