The OECD approach to open government and how this Review supports Costa Rica in its effort to become an open state

The OECD has been at the forefront of international efforts to promote and disseminate public sector reforms inspired by the principles of open government for more than 15 years. In close co-operation with its member and partner countries, the OECD provides a forum for the exchange of best practices to effectively implement open government reforms worldwide. This OECD Open Government Review (OGR) builds on the experience gained in other OGRs, including those for Lithuania, Morocco, Myanmar, Tunisia and Indonesia.

Defining open government

A government is open when it is transparent, accountable, engaging and operates with integrity, which - through specific policy instruments and practices driving change and innovation processes - is likely to lead to better services and policies, higher trust in government, social well-being and greater quality of democracy (OECD, 2016). As mentioned above, the OECD defines open government as “the transparency of government actions, the accessibility of government services and information, and the responsiveness of governments to new ideas, demands and needs” (OECD, 2005).

In its responses to the OECD Survey, Costa Rica complemented this definition: “Open government is key for this administration. It is postulated as a renewed appeal for the reform of the state and the modernisation of the public administration based on an innovative relationship between different actors to co-create public value. Open government is not an end in itself, but a means to promote transparency, collaboration and participation. Open government is the third pillar of the Solis Rivera administration. Transparency is here understood in a proactive way - meaning to recognise rights and powers of citizens so that they can, based on their access to public information, participate and form opinions about public affairs. Collaboration is defined as the commitment of citizens and other actors to participate and work together with the government to improve public services, as well as mainstreaming the interoperability that must exist both within and between the various agencies and state bodies. Finally, citizen participation emphasises the role of citizens in public affairs and in making decisions that affect them”. This elaborated definition provides the backdrop for the current government’s OG efforts and gives a basis for the implementation of an ambitious open government agenda.

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