21 February 2015, by Suneeta Kaimal and Alejandro González Arreola, Open Government Partnership.
This post was originally published on the Open Government Partnership website.
Mexico has a demonstrated track record of international leadership in the field of transparency. In 2002, Mexico pioneered a progressive and citizen-centered access to information law. Mexico created a new international standard for independent oversight with the establishment of the Federal Institute for Access to Information (Instituto Federal de Acceso a la Información Pública—IFAI), inspiring countries around the world to embark on similar reforms. Recognizing such innovation in openness, Mexico became one of eight founding countries of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2011.
After joining OGP, Mexico continued to advance the openness agenda. Mexico expanded access to government services online and created digital democracy tools to make government actions and government spending more transparent. In 2013, Mexico provided constitutional autonomy to IFAI to enhance its authority at national, state and municipal levels, and broadening the remit of the right to information law to all private entities that receive public funds, including unions and political parties, among others. In 2014, Mexico assumed the position of lead co-Chair of OGP, with a commitment to “promoting transparency, fighting corruption and citizen empowerment.”
One of the most compelling features of these constitutional reforms is that they embraced an unprecedented process of open parliament. Congress and civil society collaborated closely and the IFAI Commissioners were appointed in an open and public process. This same spirit of co-creation guided the elaboration of the General Transparency Law that regulates the application of the constitutional reform. The robust bill that was presented in December 2014 represented broad consensus among all key stakeholders.
However, during the past week, we have heard expressions of deep concern from Mexican civil society and IFAI commissioners regarding a last-minute set of changes to the bill proposed by the Federal Executive Branch that may undermine key progressive achievements reached by the recent constitutional transparency reforms.
As Civil Society Co-chairs of the Open Government Partnership, we share these concerns. We encourage the Mexican Government and Congress to seize this opportunity to re-confirm their proven record and commitment towards transparency, access to information and co-creation processes with civil society, as appropriate to their leadership of the OGP.
About the Authors
Suneeta Kaimal is the Deputy Director of the Natural Resources Governance Institute (USA) and Alejandro González Arreola is the Executive Director of GESOC, Gestión Social y Cooperación, A.C. (Mexico). They serve as Civil Society Co-chairs of the Open Government Partnership.
- Closing Remarks by President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico at the High Level Event of OGP in the margins of the General Assembly of the United Nations, September 24th, 2014.