Road to 2030: Access to Information in the driver’s seat

GFMD, in collaboration with Deutsche Welle Akademie and Free Press Unlimited, in consultation with the Centre for Law and Democracy and Africa Freedom of Information Centre are pleased to announce the release of the “Road to 2030: Access to Information in the driver’s seat” – a report on the state of public Access to Information (ATI) in ten Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) countries.

The spotlight report compiles and analyzes data related to SDG 16.10.2 from Canada, Indonesia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Serbia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Ukraine, with contributions from local partners in each country. It seeks to measure progress on the implementation of ATI laws, based on a civil society organisations (CSOs) approach.

Multi-stakeholder meetings were held during the first quarter of 2019 aiming to raise awareness of the importance of ATI towards achieving the 2030 Agenda as well as including it in the official Voluntary National Review (VNR). They provided a platform for civil society, government and media representatives to engage on this particular topic and were broadly welcomed by all stakeholders. Prior to the meetings, data on the ATI were gathered and analysed via the FOIAnet-methodology, a CSO-driven research tool.

The multi-stakeholder meetings brought to light a notable knowledge gap related to ATI:

  • There is a lack of awareness among the public, as well as government bodies, regarding the fundamental right of access to public information;
  • There is lack of data regarding the implementation of ATI.

To tackle these challenges, our coalition of CSOs calls on UN member states to take into account nongovernmental data sources in all their evaluations of progress towards SDG16. Furthermore, we ask them to continue their commitment to “ensure public access to information and to protect fundamental freedoms” by supporting the actual implementation of ATI legislation.

Progress on public ATI has a large impact on achieving the overall 2030 Agenda. Due to the links between SDG 16 and all other SDGs, as well as the importance of accurate data, the success of all other SDGs can be achieved via peaceful, inclusive and just societies where the free flow of information is not impeded. Furthermore, through their role as purveyors of information, a free, independent and pluralistic media actively contributes to the achievement of the SDGs.

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