UNESCO Finds 125 Countries Provide for Access to Information
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization conducted a global survey of countries to understand what laws exist on the right to information, and how these are being observed.

The survey found that 125 countries have enacted right to information laws or similar provisions.

The survey data contributes to monitoring of SDG target 16.10, which calls for ensuring public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.

18 July 2019: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conducted a global survey of countries to identify existing laws on the right to information, and how they are observed. The researchers found that 125 countries have enacted right to information laws (RTI) or similar provisions.

UNESCO launched the report titled, ‘Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information: Highlights from the 2019 UNESCO Monitoring and Reporting of SDG Indicator 16.10.2,’ during the 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York.

Guy Berger, UNESCO, cited a recommendation from the study that governments better oversee the implementation of RTI laws. He said they could do so by connecting oversight bodies such as Information Commissions with national-level SDG monitoring bodies. The publication notes that, while national regulation systems increasingly support freedom of information, oversight and appeals bodies and individual public authorities could do “far better” in tracking and processing information requests and appeals.

The survey data contributes to global monitoring of SDG target 16.10: Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements. In the UN system, UNESCO is the custodian agency for SDG indicator 16.10.2 on the number of countries that adopt and implement constitutional statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information. Its work on monitoring and reporting of access to information is conducted through its International Programme for the Development of Communication, supported by Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. [Publication: Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information: Highlights from the 2019 UNESCO Monitoring and Reporting of SDG Indicator 16.10.2]

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