PWYP Norway`s input to Open Government Partnership (OGP), plan of action IV

Three pillars for transparency in 2018 – 2020. Three types of challenges.​

Three pillars for transparency in 2018 – 2020​

Government writes that they envision a plan based on the following main areas:

  1. Public acquisitions, information on real licensees and anti-corruption.
  2. Open data and further use of public data.
  3. Integrity and transparency in management.

This is a suggestion from the former OGP-council, and can be adjusted according to KMD (Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation).

Publish What You Pay Norway (PWYP Norway) works to put in place legislation for financial transparency in society in general, but especially in the extracting industries. The purpose is to promote a more sustainable society. We believe that financial transparency in the extracting industries, and other industries, will make it possible for residents in countries rich in resources to hold authorities and companies responsible for how a society`s common resources are managed.

PWYP Norway wishes to promote measures within OGP which are coordinated and with a clear direction. We also wish to limit priorities for the current action plan with regards to possible later priorities which in turn can be adjusted by other OGP-councils.

On this basis we wish to offer advice and recommendations for good measures and processes for increased transparency in public management.

Three types of challenges

The purpose of Open Government Partnership (OGP) is through concrete initiatives, and by using technology, innovation, and transparent data, to solve challenges in three areas:

  • Transparency and openness
  • Participation from civil society and active fellow-citizenship
  • Responsible management and democracy 

The three concepts should be understood as a societal whole. Transparency, participation, and responsible management does not occur as isolated phenomena in society, nor does it concern authorities alone. It concerns what the role of authority is in society and how this role is executed.

Transparency does not affect authorities unilaterally, but the society that authority represents. That is why OGP must work for both transparency directly from authorities, but also so that transparency in the rest of society functions satisfactorily.

Among other, this entails that transparency in private businesses must also be legislated at a level where it is not contingent upon the individual business to abide by what should be viewed as “minimum transparency". This is key so that the individual business itself does not get to define what is adequate, while concrete requirements are a prerequisite in how authorities are transparent.

If private businesses are permitted to be opaque, while only authorities and citizens must be transparent, it will create a power-asymmetry which in the long term undermines modern Norwegian rule of law, democracy, and the welfare state. The power survey of 2009 was already pointing in that direction as recently as almost ten years ago. The revelations and leaks in the last few years clarify the extent of power – and economic asymmetry in society and the relationship to the lack of transparency, and thereby makes explicit the need for transparency and the importance of civil society`s participation and active fellow-citizenship.

PWYP Norway is proposing five main commitments for international transparency measures for extracting industries at minimum, but preferably for all businesses.

Read more about what we propose in our input to OGP and the department`s own draft.