A new government, a new power

Camilo Romero Galeano

Governor of the Department of Nariño (Colombia)

 

In October 2018, the departmental government of Nariño, Colombia's southern territory, was recognized by the Organization of United Regions, ORU FOGAR, and UNDP as one of the world's five good public management practices for our Nariño Open Government strategy (GANA).

This mention was added to other international recognitions that have considered that the actions, tools, inputs, methodologies and impacts achieved from the experience of GANA, serve today as a regional, national and global reference to the challenges that we governors face to combat the growing damage of corruption in public bodies.

Much is said about corruption, but little is done to combat the root of its delirious effects that always threaten the dignity of our citizens. Therefore, upon reaching regional power with a New Government flag that is based on three fundamental pillars: Open Government, Social Innovation and Collaborative Economy, we designed, hand in hand with the citizenry, a program that was endorsed at the polls with the vote of more than 300,000 Nariñenses and then traced the road map of the territory through the Development Plan "Nariño, heart of the world" that after a tour of all sub-regions of the department summoned 31,700 citizens.

We understood, from the beginning of our aspiration to reach the departmental administration, that it is necessary to gestate a new Government that establishes, in turn, the rules to build a New Power. In this new approach to territorial management, participation, the differential relationship between government and citizens became a substantial tool when it came to starting the fight against corruption.

As the Open Government of Nariño, GANA, we took a step forward by having the entire departmental cabinet publicly present its Sworn Declaration of Patrimonial Assets. In short, this meant that citizens could know in an open way what we entered and what we left with after our administrative period.

Subsequently, the entire country was introduced to the first digital platform for budget consultation and execution of public resources called GANA Control, a tool that allows citizens to know in real time how the budget of the Governorate of Nariño is executed. With the tool GANA Pienso we activate the binding decision-making platform through which citizens can vote for projects of public interest to determine the execution of initiatives of common benefit.

Complying with the international standards that define how Open Governments should function in the world, we became the first Open Government of Colombia that today has more than fifteen tools that make up a complete anti-corruption kit. In this way, we were able to move from the discourse and theory of Open Government to the design, construction and implementation of practical and citizen-reaching tools.

On the other hand, with the Municipal GANA strategy, we were able to convene near to 80,000 citizens of 60 municipalities in Nariño, who made decisions in the face of more than 67 billion pesos in royalties and the government's own resources. In this way we became the most participatory government in Colombia. Demonstrating, also, that the processes of governmental opening are not only actions of technological linkage, because above all, Open Government is to return the protagonism to the citizen in the capacity of strategic decision making for the common good.

To administer what belongs to everyone, overcoming the whims of those who have been chosen for the task of taking care of the common purposes of the territory, with a perspective of guaranteeing access to the goods and services of the State with efficiency, transparency, effectiveness, very high participation and a better communicational relationship, is to open the door to innovative ways that, like the Open Government, contribute to fighting corruption in a two-way exercise.

In this way, the idea of a new Government is crossed by an exploration towards new forms of governance much closer to citizens and their expectations. In this way, the Open Government goes from being a mere discourse forged in the high spheres of modern political scholars, to becoming a palpable reality, a verifiable mechanism, a coherent action between what has been our history, our present and the projection of what we want to be, not only for Nariño, but for that immense New Colombian Citizenship that keeps the hope for a New Power that contributes in reality to a good life based on equity, equality, the increase of opportunities and the construction of a peace for all.

For now, from this open doors regional government, from this effort in procuring that the citizenship returns the confidence to its institutions; this task to take steps of vanguard and Political renewal, consists in verifying that it is possible to construct a new power from the determination of a New Citizenship.

 


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