Countries Commit to Improve Transparency and Public Engagement on Climate and Natural Resources
As co-chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which brings together 74 governments and thousands of civil society organizations, WRI worked with members to advance climate action and sustainable development. National, regional and local governments have made public commitments to accelerate climate action and sustainable development through citizen engagement, open data and fiscal transparency.
Failure to provide access to information on public spending and opportunities to engage in decision-making make it nearly impossible for the public to hold governments to account for progress on national climate goals or for effective use of government revenue from resources such as timber, mining and oil. Many governments are either unwilling to reform or lack the know-how to do so, undermining progress on the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Co-chairing the Open Government Partnership with France in 2016-17, WRI helped to design an OGP declaration with collective actions on climate and natural resources that helped frame national commitments, and provided technical assistance and circulated guidance to countries to develop them. WRI’s climate, forests and governance experts brought together civil society organizations to work closely with national governments, particularly in Latin America, to shape commitments that enhance transparency, participation and accountability on climate action and natural resources. WRI and its partners worked closely with Argentina and Costa Rica in developing their climate commitments and with Colombia, Liberia and Panama on their natural resource commitments.
WRI also helped pilot a subnational program in OGP to mobilize regional and local governments to develop and implement open government commitments. WRI teams in Brazil and Mexico partnered with NGOs and officials to create these commitments.
In 2016 and 2017, 13 governments committed to improve access to climate data, engage citizens in climate policymaking and transparently track climate finance; 12 governments made open government commitments on natural resources, including on land, forests and water.
Argentina, for example, committed to provide greenhouse gas inventories and maps of climate impacts on a public website, enabling citizens to participate in developing more effective, equitable climate policies and to hold officials accountable for meeting their climate commitments. On natural resources, Liberia pledged to place land records, contracts, community and customary land tenure data, and relevant laws and policies in the public domain, helping to prevent the abuse of power for private gain.
At the subnational level, the Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and eight governments in Mexico announced reforms to deepen access to information and increase public consultation. After a successful pilot of its subnational program, OGP now plans to double its membership from 15 to 30.