Open parliaments aim to address the widening gap between the parliament and its citizens by enhancing citizen participation and engagement in parliamentary processes.
The benefits of parliamentary openness are multiple. Opening parliament can create effective outcomes in key policy areas, such as health or education as increased contribution of citizens in legislation, oversight and budget processes on key issues leads to better quality legislation. It can improve the efficiency of parliament as citizens monitor and participate in parliamentary processes. Parliamentary openness can challenge the parliament to consider reforms that take into account citizen’s expectations and improve the overall trust relationship between citizens and the parliament. Ultimately this all helps improve the transparency and accountability of the institution.
Creating a culture of parliamentary openness is part of WFD’s Strategic Framework. We have been working in collaboration with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) to open the parliament’s doors to citizen participation and oversight with the support of committed civil society actors. OGP was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. Since its launch, the OGP membership has grown from 8 to 76 countries, with hundreds of civil society organizations working with parliaments to develop and implement commitments at the country level.