Blogue de Lyne Robichaud

04 février 2012

Casting a vote on actions at UN

My comment to JohnFMoore's new discussion thread at Citizens in the lab: Do you see a role for open government and citizen participation at the United Nations?

Casting a vote on actions... we can wait a couple of decades before seeing this happen at UN!

The 43 State members of the Open Government Partnership (at UN), which signed an open government Declaration, IF THEIR RULES OR PARTICIPATION were modified to include avenues of exploration to promote the development of open government around the world, they could create an association of open government states. On the portal of such an association, challenges to solve global problems could be asked to citizens from around the world (something similar, for instance, to the platform.

Consider the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie: it has several vectors, operating under its umbrella. Several associations of state members, municipalities or universities, with various missions:

. Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie
. Agence universitaire de la Francophonie
. Association internationale des maires francophones
. Université Senghor

In the Open Government and Francophonie Project, at Step 6 (of 6), it was proposed to create a new OIF vector dedicated to open government. But the Francophonie would have to create first a multilateral partnership, similar to the OGP, for Francophonie member States. This Francophone multilateral partnership could merge with the existing OGP, or a more realistic avenue would be to establish bridges of collaboration between these multilateral partnerships. Eventually, these multilateral partnership structures could be heading toward a global association of open governments, in a few years from now.

Many initiatives are undertaken, having to do with open data. But in my opinion, the collaborative component of open government needs to be further defined and consolidated, for international organizations to successfully tap into collective social intelligence.

Multiplying challenges to solve global problems, where citizens of the world would collaborate, co-create and co-produce, would probably lead to a gradual change in global governance.

This is how I imagine things. There were no resources allowed for proper thinking of this grand vision of open government, in regards to the Open Government and Francophonie Project. Maybe, one day, I will have the opportunity to continue in this direction, or others will take up this task. It would be a logical step, in my opinion, to set up a global organization of open governments.

Can citizens take action? Can they create it themselves, without waiting for UN or other umbrella organizations? We have seen some attempts, last year, such as the Global citizenship project, driven (among others) by Lovisa Williams and Alan W. Silberberg. These efforts have stalled, just like the Open Government and Francophonie Project did. Why is that? Because of risk aversion from governments and lack of support of citizens' efforts. Where can citizens find the financial support to undertake such bold initiatives? Will governments agree to cooperate?

There is a need to write a decent business plan for such a social enterprise. I asked for help at Innovation and Economic Development (of my municipality). They refused to grant me access to their program. These local authorities told me that they do not have the expertise to conduct the business analysis of such a project. Citizens should go knock at some door, somewhere, a willing institution to provide financial support, with a project along these lines. I still think that it was a good idea to propose an international committee of experts, to do the thinking. We should try, and try and try again. But how not to sink into bankruptcy? I still hope that the think tank Edgeryders can identifiy possible solutions to this problem. We would have to discuss it, however.

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