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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Closing Remarks by President Obama on Open Government Partnership

Waldorf Astoria Hotel
New York, New York

3:30 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you, Rakesh, for that wonderful testimony. Thank you all, to the leaders who shared their action plans and the steps that they’re taking, and your willingness to participate in this initiative. We are extraordinarily grateful.

As I said earlier today, it’s just the beginning of this partnership. Those who are the founding members have to go back home and work to meet the commitments that we’ve made, and to be held accountable. The 38 nations joining us today will be working on their own action plans. And we look forward to our next meeting in Brazil next year, when our partnership welcomes more countries who share our commitment to open government.

I want to thank all the participants. I particularly want to thank the civil society organizations that are doing extraordinary work.

I very much appreciated the statement by the representative from the United Kingdom that this is not always comfortable, if done right, because governments are human institutions, which means that even with the best of intentions we are flawed and we make mistakes, and it’s a natural human impulse to try to cover up mistakes, and to resist the kind of openness that’s been discussed here today.

But as Rakesh I think said so well, the more open we are, the more willing we are to hear constructive criticism, the more effective we can be. And ultimately, governments are here to serve the people, not to serve those in power.

And so I’m very grateful for all of you for participating. Thank you for embracing this challenge to make sure our governments are as open and accountable and as effective as they can be, so that we can meet the aspirations of all our citizens.

Thank you very much.

3:33 P.M. EDT