Access to Information in Times of Crisis, UNESCO marks International Day for Universal Access to Information, 28 September

On 28 September, UNESCO will lead the global observance of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) with a high-level panel discussion highlighting the importance of access to information in saving lives, a series of webinars and the publication of a policy brief.

The publication, The Right to Information in Times of Crisis, part of UNESCO’s World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development series, examines norms and principles concerning the right to information during public health crises, and highlights the importance of free access to information in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also proposes a set of recommendations concerning the right to information in emergency situations.

UNESCO’s high-level event entitled Access to Information – Saving Lives, Building Trust, Bringing Hope, will be streamed online on Monday 28 September, (2pm – 3.30pm Central European Summer Time, CEST). It will start with a message from UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, who will open the High Level Panel which will bring together Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism of Liberia, Aziz Abdukhakimov, Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Xing Qu, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Maria Baron, Global Executive Director of the Directorio Legislativo Foundation and Incoming Co-Chair of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Steering Committee, and Sinéad McSweeney, Twitter Vice-President in charge of Public Policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The panel will examine issues affecting access to information in times of crisis and constitutional, statutory and policy guarantees for public access to information during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion will also consider the importance of information in protecting lives in times of crisis.

The celebration of IDUAI will feature webinars organized in partnership with the Open Government Partnership, the International Commissioners International Conference (ICIC), the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UNESCO Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) : Beyond the Numbers: Using Access-to-Information Data to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals, on 28 September (1pm-2.30pm, CEST) , will present key findings from the forthcoming 2020 Report on the Monitoring and Reporting of SDG Indicator 16.10.2 – Access to Information. The report will be published later this year by UNESCO, the UN agency in charge of monitoring and reporting on progress in achieving the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals’ call for “public access to information and fundamental freedoms” (cf. SDG Target 16.10).

Other webinars, from 28 to 30 September, will focus on Access to Information and Openness, Implementation of Laws, Infodemic and Youth, and Open Access,Open Access an imperative for Open Science for Building Resilience in the Face of COVID-19” (30 September, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. CEST), Media and Information Literate Youth: a cornerstone to implementing ATI policies, (co-organized with GAPMIL and WHO, 3pm — 5:30pm, CEST).

IDUAI 2020 will mark the first UN-wide celebration of the International Day which was established by the 74th UN General Assembly (2019), four years after its introduction by UNESCO’s General Conference.

 

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