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Government partners up for transparency

Maltese government commits to international Open Government Partnership to implement government transparency and accountability for civil society.

Bianca Caruana
2 March 2012, 12:00am
During an open dialogue session for safer communities and improved accountability, Chief Executive Officer of the Malta Housing Authority Paul Debattista said the meeting also intended to discuss Malta’s participation in the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

“The OGP which was signed by the Maltese government in July 2011 is a global effort to make governments act more transparent and accountable with citizens. Implementing these policies will require investment and sustained effort, and a dialogue of collaboration between the government and civil society,” Debattista said.

Political, economic and commercial officer with the Embassy of the USA in Malta Thomas Yeager said that a number of countries were chosen selectively in September 2011 according to mechanisms already available.

“Malta was found to have the mechanisms to create an open and transparent dialogue with civil society. It is good to see that civil society in Malta has accepted the challenge for an open government,” Yeager said.

Yeager also said sharing the best practices with countries within the region could enhance this form of collaboration. “Malta is considered the leader in the South of the Mediterranean for the Maghreb to inspire and set an example for those countries hich have recently gone through political turmoil.”

Referring to a saying coined by seventeenth century poet John Donne, Minister for Justice, Dialogue and the Family Chris Said said: “No man is an island. Today, we can safely state that ‘No government is an island’.

“Governments are necessary to lead and manager their countries but for them to perform and deliver quality service and be effective, they must have as equal partners the civil society that represents all citizens in all their diversity.”

Said referred to the foundation of the Malta Council Economic and Social Development (MCESD) as a milestone in the process of public dialogue in Malta. “MCESD is consultative in nature but I believe that all council members have contributed to the successful development of these islands. Consultation has become the norm even before the most important law, the annual budget which is presented to Parliament,” Said said.

Said added that the government was also committed to well-structured and high standards of consultation. “This vision of consultation will be implemented through Directive 6, namely ‘Parameters for Consultation Exercises with Stakeholders’ which was issued last year under the Public Administration Act.”

Throughout 2012 and 2013, Said said the eGov programme was to be implemented to transform public services into “catalysts of a more competitive economy for Malta” which will also bring together all online government services under on framework.

“The government also intends to work with the Opposition to ensure that Parliament has the required resources to meet its obligations. In the OPG, Malta opted for two grand challenges focusing on ‘Creating safer communities’ and ‘Increasing corporate accountability’. We are convinced that through the input of the civil society, we will achieve all our targets and we will have a fairer society and a better place to live in,” Said said.