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An Open Government initiative of the São Paulo City Hall

What is São Paulo Aberta?

São Paulo Aberta is an initiative of São Paulo’s municipal government that intends to articulate, integrate and promote Open Government actions in the São Paulo City Hall.

What is Open Government?

Open government is a set of articulated initiatives of transparency, participation, innovation and integrity in public policies.

The city of São Paulo implements this agenda through the development of strategies to:

  • Increase the participation in the decision-making process
  • Ensure transparency, by increasing the access to public information
  • Develop processes that stimulate the integrity and accountability of governments and its agents
  • Encourage creation and use of technological and social innovation tools





Open Government in São Paulo

The São Paulo City Hall has innovated by building a municipal open government agenda. São Paulo is one of the first cities in the world to have incorporated, through an integrated process, transparency, social participation, technological innovation and integrity in public policies.

Open Government has become one of the priorities for this administration and the municipal initiative, entitled São Paulo Aberta, was established by the Official Decree nº 54.794 in January, 28th of 2014. São Paulo Aberta has also become the 166th goal of the Fernando Haddad’s administration Goals Program (2013-2016).

To consolidate the four open government concepts as public policies,  the administration has created, in the same Decree that established the São Paulo Aberta, the Interdepartmental  Committee of Open Government of the city of São Paulo (CIGA-SP), an instance responsible for the accomplishment of goal 116 and for promoting a series of Open Government actions.


For a long period, the city of São Paulo had a lack of public policies that value the citizen’s participation in the city’s public policies. The City Hall was used to keep all data archives, was averse to social participation, used to stay backwards in development of technologies, and didn’t create actions to guarantee and enhance government’s integrity. It was all a big black box. The scenario started to change with Fernando Haddad’s administration, which started on January 1st of 2013. From this date on, several initiatives have been launched aiming to bring the government closer to the citizen and turn the administration of the biggest city in Brazil into a    transparent, innovative, integrity and participatory administration.

The creation process of São Paulo Aberta started with the São Paulo Aberta Seminar, held between October 23th and 27th, of 2013. The first step was to articulate public entities that already developed isolated initiatives of social participation, technological innovation, integrity and transparency and work to integrate them into coordinated actions of open government. To guarantee a permanent and solid institutional environment for all those initiatives that was created in January 2014, the Interdepartmental Committee on Open Government (CIGA/SP).

Also in 2014, São Paulo Aberta conducted the Hacker Marathon of the São Paulo Aberta’s Portal, a collaborative process that allows an open discussion about the objectives, tools and language that could be used in the  São Paulo Aberta Portal.

Besides this initiative, a subgroup of the Committee that conducts territorial actions organized the first phase of an open government education process designed for the Municipal Participatory Concils.

Open Government in the World

Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, there is a worldwide concern to guarantee the rights of citizens towards their governments. Over the years we notice an increase of governments and organizations around the world joining the cause, and we can see great achievements reflected in documents such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 66 and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, 2003,

Endorsing this effort, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) was established in 2011, with the leadership of Brazil and the U.S., to disseminate government practices concerning transparency, access to full public information and social participation in governments.

To join the OGP, the candidate must commit to the principles of open government (Fiscal Transparency, Access to information, Property and Income Disclosure and Citizen Engagement), subscribe to the Declaration of Open Government and develop a national plan of action targeting these principles.

At the federal sphere, Brazil already has its Second Action Plan, with 22 goals developed by the Interministerial Committee on Open Government. The Second Action Plan complements and fortifies the progress made through the objectives established in the First Action Plan, which had significant results as the National Conference on Transparency and Social Control (CONSOCIAL), the implementation of the Access to Information Act (12.527/11) and the Electronic System of Information for Citizen Service (e-SIC).

Learn more about the initiatives of Brazil on Open Government.

Open Government in Brazil

The “Citizen Constitution”, as we used to  call the Federal Constitution of 1988, brings some of the principles that guide the Open Government proposal such as public transparency, integrity in the administration and popular participation. However there was a regulatory lack for these principles so they could be applied in practice. Facing this challenge, Brazil assumed the responsibility of leading the OGP and in the period of four years, already counts with 54 Open Government goals, 30 of them already fulfilled. These goals aim for initiatives which open the process of decision-making and increase public participation in public administration.

Government actions in this area go in consonance with the proposals presented at the 1st National Conference on Transparency and Social Control (CONSOCIAL). The Conference had district stages in which the whole country has been consulted. At the end the CONSOCIAL outlined the guidelines and creation of policies that have strengthened participatory processes in the country. Another initiative is the Federal Government Open Data Portal, that gathers open format data and applications of public policy, social security, economic sectors, among others. The portal integrates the National Infrastructure of Open Data, that establishes parameters for disclosure of information in a innovative, transparent and democratic manner. In addition to these channel’s options, the Access to Information Act – LAI (12.527/11) sets rules, instruments and responsibilities that enable citizens to have access to public information, establishing transparency as a rule, and starting to treat confidentiality as exception.

In São Paulo, the LAI is regulated by the Official Decree n° 53.623/12, which was improved by Official Decree n° 54.779/14. It creates the Municipal Catalog of Datas and Bases and sets deadlines for official answers, establishes the departments of appeal and defines those responsible for ensuring that any citizen can request public information and be serviced efficiently.