Using open government for climate action

Elizabeth Moses at Eco-Business: “Countries made many national climate commitments as part of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which entered into force earlier this month. Now comes the hard part of implementing those commitments. The public can serve an invaluable watchdog role, holding governments accountable for following through on their targets and making sure climate action happens in a way that’s fair and inclusive.

But first, the climate and open government communities will need to join forces….

Here are four areas where these communities can lean in together to ensure governments follow through on effective climate action:

1) Expand access to climate data and information.

Open government and climate NGOs and local communities can expand the use of traditional transparency tools and processes such as Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, transparent budgeting, open data policies and public procurement to enhance open information on climate mitigation, adaptation and finance.

For example, Transparencia Mexicana used Mexico’s Freedom of Information Law to collect data to map climate finance actors and the flow of finance in the country. This allows them to make specific recommendations on how to safeguard climate funds against corruption and ensure the money translates into real action on the ground….

2) Promote inclusive and participatory climate policy development.

Civil society and community groups already play a crucial role in advocating for climate action and improving climate governance at the national and local levels, especially when it comes to safeguarding poor and vulnerable people, who often lack political voice….

3) Take legal action for stronger accountability.

Accountability at a national level can only be achieved if grievance mechanisms are in place to address a lack of transparency or public participation, or address the impact of projects and policies on individuals and communities.

Civil society groups and individuals can use legal actions like climate litigation, petitions, administrative policy challenges and court cases at the national, regional or international levels to hold governments and businesses accountable for failing to effectively act on climate change….

4) Create new spaces for advocacy.

Bringing the climate and open government movements together allows civil society to tap new forums for securing momentum around climate policy implementation. For example, many civil society NGOs are highlighting the important connections between a strong Governance Goal 16 under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and strong water quality and climate change policies….(More)”