The more people know about their government, the better prepared they are to work to improve it. This simple idea, coupled with the premise that leaders should serve their people rather than themselves, is at the heart of the open government movement.
President Obama joined with the leaders of seven other nations in 2011 to launch the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global partnership between governments and civil society organizations to advance transparency and accountability, increase citizen engagement and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.
Five years later, thousands of government leaders and civil society representatives gathered for the 2016 OGP Global Summit in Paris. The partnership has grown into a platform for reformers in more than 70 countries representing 2 billion people.
The U.S., for its part, has made nearly 200,000 sets of government data and scientific research available to students, entrepreneurs and the public through data.gov. An increasing number of police departments nationwide are making their operations more transparent through the Police Data Initiative.
Obama told the 2016 summit that as he prepares to leave office, he is more convinced than ever “that the most important title is not president or prime minister; it’s citizen.” He said he looks forward to working, as a citizen, “to build societies that are more just, more equal and more accountable.”