All set for International Day for Universal Access to Information celebrations in Zimbabwe

Chimanimani district in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland province will host this year’s national commemorations of the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) on 27 September 2021.

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSA) in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe and other media and information and communication technology (ICT) stakeholders are organizing the celebrations which will be held under the theme: “The Right to Know – Building Back Better with Access to Information”.

The Chimanimani commemorations will be an open public forum with delegates from Government ministries and departments, media houses, private sector, and civil society organisations, among others.

As part of the commemorations, Zimbabwe’s Information for All Programme (IFAP) National Committee will be launched while UNESCO will also handover broadcasting equipment to a community radio station in the province.

The event seeks to strengthen the implementation of the right to information by promoting access to information and improve the resilience of communities to uncertainty and times of crisis, which is one of the sub-themes of the IDAUI celebrations.

IDUAI 2021 highlights the importance of expanding access to information laws, and their implementation worldwide to build back strong institutions for sustainable development and to uphold the vision of information as a public good, as well as to strengthen international cooperation in the field of implementing the right to information as a fundamental right. Furthermore, the global discussions on “building back better” remain context adaptive to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The main objective of the Day is to accelerate sustainable solutions aimed at reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by mobilizing governments, civil society and people to take ownership and contribute to SDG 16 (Just, Peaceful and Inclusive Societies), as measured by public access to information, particularly in regards to building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

The Minister of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Postal and Courier Services and the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services are expected to officiate the commemorations. All participating media and ICT stakeholders as well as social and civic organisations are to exhibit their products and services, showcasing how they are promoting access to information in their respective fields.

Celebrated globally on 28 September every year, the IDUAI was proclaimed by the 74th UN General Assembly in recognition of the importance of universal access to information. The day had been proclaimed by the UNESCO General Conference in 2015, following the adoption of the 38 C/Resolution 57 declaring 28 September of every year as International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

UNESCO and its intergovernmental programmess – the International Programme for Development of Communication and the Information for All Programme – provide a platform and frame for all the stakeholders to participate in international discussions on policy and guidelines in the area of access to information.