Open Government Initiative
On his first-full day in office, President Obama signed the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, committing his Administration to making the federal government more efficient and effective. Since then, federal agencies have done much to make information about how government works more accessible to the public, to solicit citizens’ participation in government decision-making, and to collaborate with all sectors of the economy on new and innovative solutions.
Key accomplishments include:
- The implementation of the Open Government Directive requiring federal agencies to deliver Open Government plans laying out their commitments;
- The release of unprecedented amounts of new data through a centralized portal (Data.gov), and the use of this data to create new products and services;
- The launch of collaborative platforms such as Challenge.gov to engage citizens in problem-solving;
- Transparency efforts to ensure the effective use of taxpayer dollars (USAspending.gov) which includes foreign assistance spending; and
- A commitment to open government at the White House, with the posting of visitor records, staff financial disclosures, salaries, and ethics waivers on the White House website for the first time.
Pittsburgh G20 Leaders’ Statement
At the 2009 Group of 20 Summit in Pittsburgh, the United States joined with other countries in the Leaders’ Statement in making a firm commitment to enhance international aid transparency in 2010. This pledge reaffirmed a long-standing U.S. commitment to enhancing aid effectiveness, consistent with our endorsement of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action.
The United States has:
- Established a government-wide policy on transparency of aid information in favor of openness that will require U.S. government agencies to collect and publish foreign aid data.
- Published high-value foreign aid data sets on Data.gov. The “Greenbook,” a listing of all U.S. overseas loans and grants, obligations and loan authorizations, has consistently ranked among Data.gov's "Top 10 Most Downloaded Datasets” and provides a complete historical record of all foreign assistance provided by the U.S.
- Launched the Foreign Assistance Dashboard (www.foreignassistance.gov), a visual presentation of U.S. Government foreign assistance funds that enables users to examine, research, and track aid investments in a standard and easy-to-understand format. Over 120,000 visitors have accessed the site since its launch, which currently includes data from the Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
- Become a signatory to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), committing to publish up-to-date data in a common, open format that makes it easy for stakeholders to find, use, and compare information about its aid spending.
Open Government Partnership
The Open Government Partnership (OGP), a new multilateral initiative launched on September 20, 2011 by President Obama and other heads of state, aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. The U.S. National Action Plan, a major accomplishment of the President’s initiative, includes a commitment to increase its foreign assistance transparency.