Citizen trust in democratic institutions is critical to the functioning of democracy and the effectiveness of governance. Several opinion studies, including LAPOP-Vanderbilt University, the Latinobarometro and the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, show trends of decline in citizens’ trust in all branches of government, including parliaments. Citizens are demanding more openness of governance institutions, more civic participation and ways to increase transparency, responsiveness, accountability and effectiveness. The international community is also recognizing that inclusive governance structures are intrinsically linked to our ability to achieve sustainable development. This is reflected in the 2030 Agenda, specifically under Sustainable Development Goal 16 to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective and accountable institutions in which women and historically marginalized groups are equitably represented, with their voices taken into account in decision-making at all levels.
To strengthen our democratic institutions, restore citizens’ trust and improve our ability to achieve sustainable development, parliaments must lead by example and open legislative processes to citizens. They also have an important role to play in promoting open governments through lawmaking, oversight, budgeting and awareness-raising. This requires parliamentarians to expand their knowledge base and exchange experiences with their peers to develop effective solutions.
ParlAmericas supports parliamentary openness through innovative programs, dialogues and partnerships designed for parliamentarians of the Americas and the Caribbean to promote the highest political commitments for advancing legislative work on parliamentary openness in the hemisphere. We provide parliamentarians with knowledge resources on transparency and access to information, accountability, citizen participation and ethics and probity in parliamentary work. We also create spaces to establish direct dialogue with peers, civil society organizations, local and international experts, and other stakeholders to strengthen democratic governance in the Americas and the Caribbean.
Our Open Parliament Program works in partnership with the Latin American Network for Legislative Transparency to strengthen collaboration between parliaments and civil society to increase legislative openness.
Our Open Parliament Program works in partnership with the Open Government Partnership (OGP) through the Open Parliament e-Network to inform parliamentarians of the OGP, promote the development of Open Parliament Action Plans and the integration of these plans or other parliamentary commitments in National Open Government Action Plans.