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Remarks & Releases

Remarks by Dr. Jeri Guthrie-Corn at the Global Forum on Public Governance

At the Global Forum on Public Governance - OECD Conference Center - November 21, 2012 - Paris, France

Good morning. I am pleased to chair this session on openness and innovation, as part of the Global Forum on Public Governance.

The United States is proud to be a world leader on innovation, democratic governance, and transparency. Let me share some ideas we have undertaken. President Obama has approved easy-to-use websites like Recovery.gov, USASpending.gov, and the IT Dashboard so that citizens can track where their tax dollars are going. The White House also launched We the People, a new platform that gives all Americans a way to create and sign petitions on a range of issues affecting our nation. And if a petition gathers enough online signatures, it is reviewed by policy experts and the contributors receive an official response.

Today's discussion is very timely as countries around the world are facing pressures to open up their governments and find innovative ways to deliver public services, under tight budgets. Moreover, openness leads to a better understanding of peoples' needs and gives equal access for all to the policy process.

As Secretary Clinton pointed out, "In the 21st century, the United States is convinced that one of the most significant divisions among nations will not be North/South, East/West, religious, or any other category so much as whether they are open or closed societies."

That is why the United States and Brazil launched the Open Government Partnership in September 2011 -- to promote transparency, empower citizens, and fight corruption; the initiative already has 57 members and growing.

Again I cite Secretary Clinton who said, "We know too well the costs of corruption on communities and businesses, on economic growth and democratic institutions, and on global stability and security. Corruption not only erodes the trust and confidence that citizens hold in one another and in their governments, it also robs both citizens and governments of resources that could be invested in a brighter future."

In addition, in line with the priorities of the Deauville Partnership for Arab Countries in Transition and the principles disseminated by the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the American people -- through the U.S. government's Middle East Partnership Initiatives (MEPI) - gave $1.5 million to an MENA-OECD Open Government Project. The Project is supporting the people and governments of Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia as they design and implement Open Government policies - citizens, governments, and civil society organizations working together.

Another pillar of our discussion today is promoting public sector innovation to improve service delivery, to be more responsive to citizens' demands. Imagine if your government response could be as fast and as reliable as a Google search! One small municipality in New Jersey is trying to do just that. A new software called Compass can track municipality's progress and compare it to neighboring municipalities, bringing some aspects of the smart city to smaller towns. The software helps government officials answer three questions: how am I doing today, what could I be doing better, and what can I learn from my peers.

Moreover, in the context of ever tighter budgets, social media and new applications offer innovative ways to open government and make policies in a more inclusive way.

For example, in the United States, the White House's Office of Management and Budget has created the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation, which seeks out innovative ideas for improving the stewardship of federal dollars -- its goal: create an efficient, effective government model for the 21st century.

Specifically, the Partnership Fund funds pilot projects and evaluations that test ideas for improving Federal assistance programs by reducing improper payments, improving administrative efficiency, improving service delivery, and broadening access for eligible beneficiaries.

The State of Maryland produced its pilot program in its Family Investment Administration - the bureau that handles supplemental nutritional assistance, Medicaid and temporary assistance to needy families. Maryland hopes to improve payment accuracy, administrative efficiency, and service delivery while reducing access barriers for eligible beneficiaries- it's working to find real-time solutions to address tight budgetary constraints and improve service through the use of this new, innovative program.

This session aims to explore the link between openness and innovation in the public sector and economic and social performance of the country. I hope our speakers, with your participation, will be able to identify innovative governance practices to promote openness and innovation in the public sector.

Lessons learned in this session will inform the OECD framework on Better Governance for Inclusive Growth, which we hope will serve as a useful reference for both OECD and partner countries in advancing governance reforms to support sustainable and inclusive growth.

Now I have the pleasure to introduce to you our distinguished panellists:

  • Dr. Ahmed S. Elrafie, Acting Minister, Ministry of State for Administrative Development, Egypt.

    Dr. Elrafie received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from Cairo University and a PhD in Computer Science. Dr. Elrafie previously worked as a system engineer and a software specialist for Giza Systems Engineering. In 2005, he moved to Ministry of State for Administrative Development as the minister assistant for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications where he was responsible of managing all government projects for all back office and ERP applications, acting as a technical consultant in national Databases projects. Dr. Elrafie then became the Head of Policies and Programs Sector, in the Ministry of State for Administrative Development. As such, Dr. Elrafie was responsible for overseeing, managing, and ensuring the implementation of all Ministry programs and projects.
  • Ms. Ayanda Dlodlo, Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, South Africa

    Ms. Dlodlo is a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of African National Congress (ANC) and a Member of Parliament. She is the South African Focal Point to the African Peer Review Mechanism and the South African Representative on the Open Government Partnership. Ms. Dlodlo holds post graduate qualifications in Shipping and Transport Management, Management Development, Business Management and Executive Development Program. In the South African government, she has contributed to transforming the public service and making it more efficient and effective. She defined the ability to monitor and evaluate government performance as the uppermost priority in the construction of a developmental state. To this end, the government developed a Monitoring and Evaluation Framework to gauge citizen service satisfaction. Ms. Dlodlo reported some of her achievements and challenges she faced, as Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration in a speech on the occasion of the MPSA Portfolio's Budget Vote for 2012/2013 National Council of Provinces.
  • Mr. Mario Anguiano Moreno, Governor of the State of Colima, Mexico

    Mr. Anguiano previously worked in the public and City Treasurer in the municipalities of Colima and Manzanillo. He was also the Finance Chief Accountant of the Congress of State. He was a Local Representative for the Third District of Colima in the Legislature of the State Congress of Colima. Among his duties as a popular representative he chaired the Committee on Finance and Budget, besides being part of the Committees for Rural Development and Fisheries Development, Planning, Tourism, Economic Development and Human Rights.

    He obtained wide recognition in his academic career, receiving an invitation to join the Friedrich Nauman Foundation in Germany as the representative of Mexico to plan training courses in Government and Fiscal Decentralization. Mr. Anguiano worked in the private sector as well, serving as Director General of the company Enterprise "Agrotechnology of Colima S.A. of C.V."

And last but certainly not least,

  • Ms. Liz McKeown, Deputy Chief Economist and Head of Analysis, Cabinet Office, United Kingdom

    Ms. McKeown is responsible for the leadership and professional oversight of economics, research and analysis in the Cabinet Office and management of the department's central division of analysts. She is also a member of the senior management team of the Government Innovation Group in the Cabinet Office, which has policy responsibility for transparency, open policy making and engagement with Civil Society.

    She has been the UK representative on the OECD Public Governance Committee since 2009; most recently leading on the delivery of the Centres of Government meeting in London earlier this year, which brought together cabinet secretaries, heads of the prime minister's office and their equivalents from over 30 countries.

    Prior to her current post she has held a variety of strategy, analysis and policy roles at the Cabinet Office and in other UK Government departments. She holds both a MSc in Economics (awarded with distinction) and a First Class Honours BSc in Economics from the University of Bristol.