Addressing Emerging Economic and Good Governance Challenges through Open Data and Digital Tools

Flags with the OSCE logo in front of the Hofburg in Vienna

Addressing Emerging Economic and Good Governance Challenges
through Open Data and Digital Tools

As delivered by Ambassador James S. Gilmore III
October 9, 2020

Thank you, Iris, for your introduction.

I’d also like to commend your management of such a significant project for the Office of the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.  Central to the OSCE’s Second Dimension’s Economic and Environmental mandate are efforts—like yours—to improve our capacity as participating States to uphold the OSCE’s comprehensive view of security.

On behalf of the United States, I would like to warmly welcome all of you participants to this inaugural event to launch a Webinar series on the use of Open Data in Good Governance and Economic Recovery in the Pandemic Era.  The United States, in partnership with Germany, funds the OSCE extra-budgetary project that has organized the Webinars and strongly supports the project’s objectives.

Preventing and combating corruption is, and should remain, a key pillar of the OSCE.  I welcome the Albanian Chairmanship’s strong commitment to addressing the challenge of corruption during its Chairmanship in 2020.  That means promoting accountability and transparency in governance.  Rooting out corruption improves the business environment and reinforces the trust of citizens in their government.  We all seek sustained economic growth, prosperity, and security across the region.  These are all key ingredients in an economic recovery.

Of course, we know the CoViD-19 pandemic has caused great damage to the world economy and to the OSCE region in the past year.  It continues to be a great challenge.  Fully recovering from the impact of the pandemic will be difficult and undoubtedly take years, if not longer, given the impact on investment, trade, travel, and transport and supply chains.

Moreover, in times of crisis underlying problems such as corruption or inadequate accountability and transparency in governance can have an even greater negative impact.  We have all seen over the past year how the pandemic created greater pressure on governments to rapidly disburse public funds without employing standard due diligence.  As well, governments have enacted far-reaching public policy decisions that will affect the lives of average citizens for years to come in their efforts to address the pandemic and chart a sustainable path to recovery.

That is why the theme of these workshops and your participation today is so important.  Becoming comfortable with new tools like Open Data and other ways to improve our oversight of governmental decisions is even more critical for these times.  This project demonstrates the impact of OSCE’s power to convene, as representatives of civil society organizations and the private sector come together to discuss best practices, and how they can be best used in different settings.

I am pleased to see you all here and applaud your participation. I thank our OSCE colleagues, Ambassador Zugic and Ms. Pilika, for designing such a constructive Webinar series.  It is my hope that your discussions over the next several months will refine actions and policies to support recovery while bringing greater accountability and transparency to governance.

Thank you, and best wishes to all of you for a successful workshop and enriching experience.