U.S. General Services Administrator Robin Carnahan leads delegation to Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Estonia
GSA announces new Open Government Secretariat Office to coordinate US Open Government National Action Plan
TALLINN, ESTONIA – As joint leader of the U.S. delegation to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit, U.S. General Services Administrator Robin Carnahan announced key progress from the Biden-Harris Administration on the event’s first day. She also represented the United States at the OGP Steering Committee meeting, which the U.S. will serve on for the next three years, starting in October 2023. Administrator Carnahan will be joined later in the summit by USAID Administrator Samantha Power, who is jointly leading the U.S. delegation.
Carnahan announced that GSA has established a new Open Government Secretariat Program Management Office. With a $1 million annual investment, GSA will have a new, permanent team to better support the nation’s open government initiatives, including the implementation of the Fifth Open Government National Action Plan (NAP). Since the plan’s release in December 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration has launched a government-wide effort to execute the many commitments outlined within it.
Already, GSA has hosted virtual public engagement sessions this year focused on: transforming government service delivery; increasing civic space to engage the public; improving access to government data, research, and information; and more. These sessions have included hundreds of civil society stakeholders, government officials, and other members of the public who provide input and feedback to NAP initiatives. The team is also using public feedback to update the Open Government website itself to make it maximally useful and transparent. As part of that, Administrator Carnahan announced that new updates on progress toward the NAP commitments have just been published on the website’s commitment tracker.
“The U.S. Government is pleased to be deepening its commitment to open government and GSA is proud to be home to a new Secretariat that will help us coordinate and drive toward our goals of empowering people to fully participate in democracy,” said Administrator Carnahan. “Through our upcoming work on the OGP Steering Committee and through many other efforts, we will continue to deepen relationships among civil society in the U.S. as well as globally.”
The U.S. is a founding member of OGP, which formally launched in 2011 and today includes 75 countries, 104 local governments (representing more than two billion people), and thousands of civil society organizations. The 2023 event focuses on open government in the digital age, the potential of technology to make governance and policy-making more transparent and accountable, and the preservation of democracy.
The Biden-Harris Administration is actively supporting efforts that align with the themes OGP has identified as fundamental to open government. This includes an array of open government and civic tech efforts by agencies such as GSA to make data more accessible, to increase citizen participation in government, and to create opportunities for economic development. Examples of GSA’s commitment to public transparency include:
- The Federal IT Dashboard which provides visibility into how U.S. federal executive agencies are spending their IT dollars as well as information on the accessibility and performance of public-facing websites.
- Data.gov – the U.S. federal government’s open data site – which aims to make the government more open and accountable.
- 18F a team which builds shared technology platforms that can be used across the government to address common challenges and partners with agencies to build prototypes and applications that model ways to use modern technology methods and practices.
GSA is responsible for key NAP commitments and has made substantial progress. For example, GSA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization created a tool that provides a nationwide dashboard that increases transparency and accessibility of upcoming federal contracting opportunities. Also, GSA has supported the growing volume of federal agencies who use Challenge.gov to host prize competitions and challenges that stimulate innovation, develop solutions to challenging problems, and increase citizen engagement in participatory research and citizen science. In 2023 alone, over 68 challenges have been launched by Cabinet agencies this year.
During the Summit, Administrator Carnahan is also slated to meet with international partners and representatives from civil society organizations and speak at a roundtable on Realizing the Ambition of Open Government on September 7. Other members of the U.S. delegation include senior representatives from the White House, State Department, GSA, and USAID.
Administrator Carnahan also spoke on September 5 alongside other digital leaders at the Tallinn Digital Summit 2023, on the panel related to Digital Space Empowered by Open and Innovative Governance.
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About GSA: GSA provides centralized procurement and shared services for the federal government, managing a nationwide real estate portfolio of nearly 370 million rentable square feet, overseeing about $87 billion in products and services via federal contracts, and delivering technology services that serve millions of people across dozens of federal agencies. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best customer experience and value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and the American people. For more information, visit GSA.gov and follow us at @USGSA.