Friday, August 26, 2011

Rebuilding trust

I've been thinking a lot about ways that trust in government can be rebuilt, matched with government existing in a form that is worthy of its citizens' trust. One of the best approaches, I think, is better engagement of citizens and stakeholders in policy making and implementation. I was checking out the International Association for Public Participation's blog the other day and came across a couple of really interesting things along these lines.

One was a link to the Open Government Partnership, which the US is taking a lead role in initiating. Its formal launch is coming in September and I will be keeping an eye on its progress to see what, if any, practical advancements come out of it.
The Open Government Partnership is a global effort to make governments better. We all want more transparent, effective and accountable governments — with institutions that empower citizens and are responsive to their aspirations. But this work is never easy.

It takes political leadership. It takes technical knowledge. It takes sustained effort and investment. It takes collaboration between governments and civil society.

The Open Government Partnership is a new multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, OGP is overseen by a steering committee of eight governments and nine civil society organizations.
The other really interesting link was to GovLoop, a social network for people working in government to share ideas, build relationships, and engage in policy discussions. They also welcome students and individuals interested in public service. I've only found one of my classmates on there so far, but hopefully this blatant evangelism will get others to sign up!

We really need more happening in my part of the world (meaning Arkansas; Australia seems to be more on target) around deliberative democracy, public participation, etc. There are IAP2 chapters all around the US and the world... except the mid-South. Other than the Clinton School, I'm having trouble identifying schools with any sort of similar program closer than Indiana. Maybe some of those Oregonians and DCers who seem to have it down should come our way. Spread the love.

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