Minister Brunetta talks about Italy's path in promoting open government
The Minister for Public Administration Renato Brunetta granted an interview, as a representative of the Italian government which, in 2022, has the responsibility of co-chairing the Steering Committee of the world partnership for open government. The interview is also published on the Open Government Partnership (OGP) website, in the section Faces of OpenGovernment.
1. Minister Brunetta - you originally signed Italy’s Letter of Intent to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) back in 2011. In your opinion, how has open government evolved in Italy over the past 10 years?
First of all, let me recall that Italy was among the first countries to endorse the Open Government Declaration. In my reform of the public administration, in 2009, I introduced the application of total disclosure as part of a wider project for contrasting opacity and measuring the results that the public administration produces. Even then I was convinced that transparency of the administration was a key factor of the country's efficiency and competitiveness. Since 2011, many things have changed, but the principles and values of OGP maintain their relevance, even more so in the current state of international affairs, as civic participation and access to government information are constantly challenged by technological and geopolitical developments.
2. Italy was the first country to host Settimana dell’Amministrazione Aperta in 2017, which later inspired OGP’s Open Gov Week (OGW), now in its fourth year. Why did Italy first decide to create an OGW? How has OGW helped Italy to advance its open government agenda?
Italy hosted the first Settimana dell’Amministrazione Aperta to address the calls for action by several civil society organizations, under the aegis of the Ministry for Public Administration, which leads our participation in OGP since 2011. The Week was conceived to present the results of civil society initiatives, using the framework of collective dialogue based on commitment and responsibility. It is an opportunity to test Italy’s pledge to open government and to steer public action.
3. Italy published its fifth OGP action plan in February this year, which, among a number of things, focuses on opening up the expenditure of Italy’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan. What do you believe are the most important opportunities in applying open government approaches to the pandemic recovery?'
Open government principles can be a source of accountability for policy-making, at both national and EU level. Our 5th National Action Plan, which is the result of a co-creation process where public actors and civil society organizations participated, aims to advance open government principles and to bring recovery and resilience closer to the practices of open government. The Recovery and Resilience Plan “Italia Domani” is the main instrument to renew our public policies around civil society and youth engagement, transparency in the use of public funds, and digital innovation linked to public service delivery.
4. Italy is co-chairing OGP with Aidan Eyakuze in 2022 and your co-chair agenda has three key goals: incentivizing country-level action; leveraging global and regional fora; and leading OGP into its second decade. How is the Europe Regional Meeting, hosted by Italy later this year, going to support these goals?
Our tenure as the lead co-chairs of OGP comes at a particular moment for the Partnership and open government at large, as democracy is being challenged in several areas of the globe. The Europe Regional Meeting, hosted in Rome in October, will be an opportunity to take stock of the OGP accomplishments in its first decade of functioning and an opportunity to reflect on the road ahead under several perspectives: transparency of public communication in an evolving information ecosystem; evidence-based and data-driven public discussion and democratic engagement; digital delivery of public services; public sector integrity.