Chidiac was speaking at the opening session of a three-day regional workshop on “Open Government and Emerging Technologies in the Arab Region” held by ESCWA under her patronage.
Chidiac said that open government has become part of the daily discourse of the public sector in Lebanon as well as the local and international organizations, although the required qualitative shift in applying the principles and basics of the open government is not that easy. Governments are responsible to give citizens the right to access information easily, and citizens have the right to ask for information if needed.
She added that governments are also responsible to involve the citizens in decision-making by continuously communicating with them, especially because developing an open government that holds the government accountable and protects the rights of the citizens requires a dynamic society.
ESCWA Deputy Executive Secretary Mounir Tabet also delivered an opening statement in which he said that Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development identified the good governance and building transparent and effective public institutions as necessary factors in supporting sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development. Implementing open governments in the Arab region will contribute to achieving several Sustainable Development Goals, promoting innovation and creating new jobs especially for young people.
Tabet pointed out that despite the challenges faced by Arab countries, open governments are being developed gradually, a number of initiatives focusing on open data are being implemented and three countries have joined the Global Open Government Partnership, namely: Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. In this context, ESCWA has provided an integrated framework for the application of the open government in compatibility with the situation of the Arab countries in various fields, such as technology investment, e-government, legislative status, as well as the culture of the Arab society and the interaction of citizens and non-governmental organizations with the public sector.
It is worth noting that this workshop is the second one organized by ESCWA under a broader project entitled "Institutional development for better service delivery towards the achievement of the sustainable development goals in Western Asia" launched in 2016.
The main objective of this workshop is to build the capacity of participants on open government that will provide participants with knowledge on options, tools and actions to develop and implementation open government initiatives in the Arab region, especially related to open data and participation.
The workshop activities will be based on the capacity development materials developed by ESCWA on open data and on participation, collaboration and engagement, as well as the Commission’s study on an open government policy framework for Arab countries.
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