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Clinton in Brazil warns over ‘closed societies’

/ 02:23 PM April 18, 2012

BRASILIA—US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has predicted that open governments worldwide will increasingly flourish while closed ones will find it harder to maintain peace and security.

Clinton made the point Tuesday as she and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff opened the first high-level meeting of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) since its launch last year in a bid to promote global transparency and accountability.


“In the 21st century, the United States is convinced that one of the most significant divisions among nations” will not be between geographic regions or religions so much as “whether they are open or closed societies,” Clinton said.

“We believe that countries with open governments, open economies and open societies will increasingly flourish,” Clinton told delegates from more than 60 nations, including observer countries, in the Brazilian capital Brasilia.


“They will become more prosperous, healthier, more secure and more peaceful,” the chief US diplomat said.

“By contrast those governments that hide from public view” and dismiss people’s aspirations for greater freedom and openness “will find it increasingly difficult to maintain peace and security,” she said.

The OGP was founded on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last September by the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Britain, Norway, South Africa, the Philippines and Indonesia.

US officials said the meeting in Brasilia welcomed 42 new governments to the OGP which are presenting national pledges to promote transparency, accountability and civil participation.

The OGP is a partnership among governments as well as one with civil society and the private sector.

It “aims to secure concrete commitments from participating governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance,” the State Department said.

More than 100 representatives from more than 60 countries, including those here as observers, and more than 200 civil society organizations gathered to compare notes on how they try to increase openness and reduce corruption.


US officials said 1.8 billion people will potentially benefit from pledges made by governments here.

Attending the meeting demonstrates “strong political commitment to reforms that will enhance transparency, fight corruption, and strengthen accountability and communication between governments and citizens,” the State Department said.

Participating OGP governments include Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Jordan, Israel, Kenya, Latvia, Mongolia, Panama, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Korea and Ukraine.

China, which has a closed political system but a booming economy, is notably absent from the OGP.

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TAGS: Diplomacy, Foreign affairs, Government
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