Sri Lanka is the latest to join the international Open Government Partnership, it was announced this week.
President Maithripala Sirisena will head a national steering committee that will monitor the country’s progress in open government and transparency.
The Sri Lankan Cabinet has signed a declaration, committing “to foster a global culture of open government that empowers and delivers for citizens, and advances the ideals of open and participatory 21st century government”.
Sri Lanka is the first South Asian country to join the OGP. It joins other countries in Asia, including Indonesia, Philippines and Republic of Korea. The partnership now has 70 countries in total.
The partnership aims to secure commitments from governments to promote transparency, cut corruption and use new technologies to improve government. Governments must meet criteria in four areas – fiscal transparency, access to information, income and asset disclosure and citizen engagement – before they are eligible to join.
Sri Lanka has “resumed the publishing of monthly fiscal data which was discontinued under the previous administration”, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Minister of Justice said at the Open Government Partnership Summit on 28 October.
The government is also considering implementing a “code of ethics” for politicians and civil servants to cut corruption in public offices. It hopes to “ensure that these individuals carry out services to the public more efficiently and transparently”.
Sri Lanka must make public consultation in government decision-making the “norm rather than exception”, he said.
The government is also trialling digital identity and blockchain technologies to ensure that citizen and government data is trusted and cannot be tampered with.