ESCWA & OECD: Open government key to achieving transparency in Arab countries - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

25 Jan 2022

ESCWA & OECD: Open government key to achieving transparency in Arab countries

Part of Open Government report cover

Beirut, X December 2021--Open government is key to achieving transparency and accountability in the Arab region, and hence boosting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, highlights a new report issued today by the United National Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The report on “Economic and Social Impact of Open Government:  Policy Recommendations for the Arab Region analyses the trends of open government in the Arab region based on internationally recognized measurements and case studies. It shows that some Arab countries are ranked better than world trends, being strongly engaged in e-government as shown by the UN e-Government Survey 2020, and having made considerable efforts to move to openness, notably through the development of open government data (OGD) portals.

However, “many Arab countries still underperform compared with countries outside the region with similar levels of economic development,” underlined Nibal Idlebi, Chief of the Innovation Section at ESCWA. “Some have launched initiatives to promote citizen participation, but none of them has adopted or implemented a national strategy for citizen participation and engagement,” she underscored.

The report calls for the dissemination and enhancement of open government data through the establishment of transparency portals and implementation of capacity-building programmes. It also stresses the need to better engage people on key public policy issues through public consultation, economic and social dialogue, and other participatory mechanisms.

Idlebi added that ESCWA was actively working with all Arab countries for the development of institutional, legal, economic and social frameworks and partnerships on open government to better engage citizens. “The Commission has already launched an open government project in the Arab countries to enhance institutional development for better service delivery and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” she concluded.

Finally, the report argues that, in a world where the COVID-19 pandemic has opened the doors wide for virtual engagement, the report argues that open government contributes to better social services and inclusiveness, and accelerates social and economic , while creating new opportunities for Governments, the private sector and citizens for better and innovative interactions.

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