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Pioneer status for Scotland as Obama discusses open government
Scotland has been designated a global leading light in the campaign for more open and accessible government.
As one of 15 pioneer members of the Open Government Partnership's inaugural International Subnational Government Programme, Scotland is in the world spotlight on its commitments to democracy, human rights and how it engages its citizens.
Scotland was chosen because of its commitment to Open Government reforms, including community empowerment and improvements in democracy.
The news comes as President Barack Obama today (Tuesday) leads celebrations for the fifth anniversary of the Open Government Partnership with talks at the United Nations General Assembly on how the programme will continue to develop.
Parliamentary Business Minister Joe Fitzpatrick welcomed the new status, which puts Scotland among other pioneer states including the city and provincial governments of Paris, Madrid, Sao Paulo and Ontario.
"Scotland's involvement in this programme holds us as a government up to the light over our promises to be honest, transparent and reachable.
"The First Minister has already committed us to being 'an outward looking Government … more open and accessible to Scotland's people than ever before'. This pioneer status puts us on the world stage and gives us the opportunity to really prove ourselves.
"More than any of this, it gives us the motivation to continue to be a beacon of good government, the kind that Scotland truly deserves."
The 70 countries of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), including the UK Government, have made over 2,250 commitments to make their governments more open and accountable.
The Scottish Government is working in partnership with civil society to create an open government movement in Scotland.
Mr Fitzpatrick added: "Our action plan will show clear commitments to making Government in Scotland more open, accountable and responsive.
"We are working with people from all walks of life to shape and create Scotland's OGP agenda, increase awareness of the benefits of open government and the importance of increasing democracy and participation.
"This is a huge learning opportunity, allowing us to highlight our strengths and share our own learning and to create a clear story about how Scotland is reforming government and public services, and the impact this has - from the streets of our towns to the United Nations."
· The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for those committed to making governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens.
· In each member country, government and civil society are working together on government reforms which ensure people can see, understand, participate in and influence the workings of government and to hold government to account.
· Until now all of the action has been on governments eligible for full United Nations membership.
· Each 'subnational' pioneer involved is not a full member country, but does have a substantially devolved legislature.
· During its Pioneer year, Scotland will be able to work directly with the OGP, sharing learning with the other Pioneer Governments, as well as learning from the wider international OGP community.
· The Scottish Government is working in partnership with civil society to create an open government movement in Scotland.
· More can be read here -http://www.opengovpartnership.org/how-it-works/subnational-government-pilot-program