In December, the Beyond Access Team attended the meetings of the Open Working Group at the United Nations to raise awareness about the importance of access to information for development. A coalition of non-government organizations hosted a side event where a joint statement was presented to an audience of 50 people to make a call to Member States to include access to information as a central part of the post-2015 development framework.
The event highlighted the importance of incorporating access to information in existing policy frameworks and raised the following key points:
- Access to information should be guaranteed for communities, particularly through intermediaries such as libraries and other public access venues.
- Previous development frameworks, such as the Millennium Development Goals, failed to include access to information.
- Technology tools are vital to access information.
- People are better able to take action to improve their communities when they can access the information they need.
- Policies on access to information should incorporate a human-rights based approach.
Next steps: Information access in policy
Beyond Access and its partners will work to incorporate the feedback obtained through the event into future activities at the UN. We intend to follow this event with another at the 8th Open Working Group in February. We will also develop concrete examples on how to incorporate indicators to measure process, and will bring leading librarians to the UN.
The event was organized by a coalition led by Beyond Access and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), in coordination with Article 19, CIVICUS, Development Initiatives, +Social Good, and the UN Foundation.
Want to learn more? Read the joint statement on access to information and check out our blog post Why Access to Information Matters: Post-2015 Development.