News 13th April 2016

Scotland set to lead the way internationally

by Ruchir Shah

Something wonderful is happening.

In our increasingly uncertain, fragile and repressive world, Scotland is joining with fourteen localities across the globe to light the way forward for openness, transparency and accountability.

We have been selected as part of the International Subnational Government Programme. Each ‘subnational’ pioneer involved is not a full member country, but does have a substantially devolved legislature.

The programme is led by the Open Government Partnership, set up by 69 of the world’s leading nations to make governments more responsive to their citizens.

Until now all of the action has been on governments eligible for full United Nations membership. But as we know in Scotland, there’s lots going on past the level of the nation state. More and more devolved regions, cities and even nations within nations, are taking on the functions of governments that would have otherwise been run from the centre.

I’m quite excited about Scotland being chosen as a pioneer for two reasons. Firstly, the Open Government project requires governments to work out their commitments jointly with civil society, and to prove that they have done so. Secondly, it’s a way of doing things that is fast becoming the most powerful way in which charities, NGOs and the third sector can hold their governments to account against United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

By gaining pioneer status Scotland will be in the limelight on its commitments to human rights, open democracy, and how it engages its citizens. Our country will have an opportunity to shine globally, and we will have the full backing of international experts and pioneer partners to help us on our journey.

SCVO is the lead agent on behalf of civil society in Scotland. Together with our UK lead partners, Involve UKWales Council for Voluntary Action and Northern Ireland Environment link, we aim to use this opportunity to build the Scottish OGP civil society movement.

Scotland can now be a global pioneers for the kind of government our citizens have always wanted.

Find out more at the OGP Scotland webpage.

On the 20 April, SCVO and Involve UK are hosting an event to inform the Scottish actions for the UK Open Government Action Plan for 2017-2019. Sign up here.

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