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Roundtable Session 2

Wednesday, 6 October 2021 | 14:00 - 16:00 | Room Athena [Main Auditorium]


Revitalising open government: informed, engaged, and empowered citizens

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) vision of "no one left behind" identifies the full and effective social, economic and political participation of every person as a key development outcome. So it is crucial that everyone has the capabilities, enjoys equal opportunities, and that societies proactively create environments for inclusion and participation in decision-making. This contributes to informed, engaged and empowered citizens; it also fosters a sense of agency and enhances well-being.

Open government is founded on accountability, integrity, transparency and inclusive participation. It has positive social and economic impact, contributes to good governance and is fundamental for sustainable development. Open government is thus a catalyst for realizing the 2030 SDGs. Moreover, it is crucial in advancing access to information (ATI), which builds trust and cooperation between governments and citizens. ATI empowers citizens to seek, receive and impart information, enabling informed decisions.

Drawing on the standard-setting activities, research and capacity-building efforts of ESCWA, OECD, and UNESCO, the session will highlight the role of open solutions and participatory approaches in advancing inclusive knowledge societies.


  • Explore the influence of policy and regulatory measures, human capital, infrastructure as well as emerging technologies on inclusion and participation.
  • Stress the importance of inclusive good governance in achieving the 2030 SDGs.
  • Emphasize inclusion and transparency as critical success factors in open government and for realizing the 2030 SDGs vision of "no one left behind".
  • Identify enablers of inclusion and participation for sustainable development.
  • Demonstrate the benefits of access to information, knowledge sharing, openness and participation in enhancing inclusion.
  • Promote a right's based approach.
  • Shed light on standard setting, capacity-building and research efforts by ESCWA, OECD and UNESCO that advance inclusion in open government processes.
  • Share case findings and lessons that could inform practice particularly in developing countries beginning their open government journey.


The session is built around four 30 minute segments that will address selected thematic aspects of inclusion in the context of open government. The moderator of each segment will introduce the theme. Then, through interventions from up to two experts, related research findings, case studies, best practices, and emerging challenges, as well as standard setting, actions will be presented. Each segment will feature an interactive 15-minute dialogue with the audience.

  • Building human capacity to engage and participate in governance.
  • Creating normative frameworks and practices that encourage openness and citizen participation.
  • Accessing the social and economic benefits of open government.
  • Anticipating the impacts of emerging technologies, trends and disruptors.


Jaco du Toit
Melanie Robert
Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
Nazar Hassan
UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States
Neemat Frem
Project Watan
Nibal Idlebi
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
Paul Hector
UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States
Samir Aita
Cercle des Economistes Arabes
Soenke Ziesche
United Nations
Youness Abouyoub
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia