UK Prime Minister David Cameron today kicked off his country”s year-long presidency of the Group of Eight Industrialised Nations by writing a letter to his counterparts. The good news for the open government movement is that it”s clear that his administration intends to place transparency high-up the agenda. Here are some key extracts:
At the heart of my agenda for the Summit are three issues – advancing trade, ensuring tax compliance and promoting greater transparency. All of them are areas where I believe the G8 can play a distinctive role, using our commitment to open economies, open governments and open societies to support enterprise and deliver economic growth.
… in our partnership with less developed and emerging economies, I believe we must put a new and practical emphasis on transparency, accountability and open government. Too many developing countries are held back by corruption – and this can be reinforced or even encouraged by poor business practice and a lack of transparency from those that trade with them.
The G8 can also support the underlying building blocks of growth, including the rule of law, the absence of conflict and corruption, and the presence of property rights and strong institutions – what I have called the “golden thread” that makes open economies and open societies the best foundation for growth. I hope our work will demonstrate that this is not just about what developing countries do themselves. We in the developed world need to work together with them to prevent money laundering and stamp out bribery and corruption. And we need to look at how to enhance transparency – including through the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative and new ideas like a global land transparency partnership.
Inevitably, there will be questions about what we are each prepared to sign up to. I hope we can be ambitious. In that spirit I have already signalled some important changes in the UK”s positions. For example, while the US has agreed to sign up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Britain and all the other G8 countries have yet to subscribe to this global process which helps to ensure that people around the world benefit from the extraction of natural resources from the countries in which they live. We need to change that. We cannot call on other countries to live up to these high standards if we are not prepared to do so ourselves. That is why I have asked for an urgent review of the UK position.
Read the full letter on .