Germany supports UNESCO work in advancing access to information

05 December 2018

An agreement for a three-year contribution for improving access to information was signed in Berlin last week.

Representing Germany’s agency for economic co-operation and development was Friederike Kärcher, the head of the section for media, culture, creativity and sport at Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ).

From the UNESCO side, the Assistant Director General for Communication and Information, Moez Chakchouk signed the funds-in-trust agreement with BMZ.

To be implemented under the auspices of UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), the 750 000 euros grant will especially enable UNESCO to give support to increased access to information in a number of African countries.

In particular, the funding will assist countries to monitor the effectiveness of guarantees to information, as a means towards producing helpful information for guiding practical improvements and ensuring ongoing progress.

This monitoring is based on a specialised indicator, agreed at the UN General Assembly under the Sustainable Development Goals, and it is designed to scientifically assess the state of SDG Target 16.10 on public access to information and fundamental freedoms.

The work to be enabled by the grant aligns directly with recent IPDC Council decisions.

One of these decisions urges “Member States to monitor and report progress on SDG indicator 16.10.2 on access to information, through 2019 Voluntary National Reviews on SDG 16 and/or other processes, as part of their commitments to advance the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda”.

A second decision encourages the IPDC Secretariat, in cooperation with UNESCO’s Information for All Programme, “to develop a mechanism that could involve and support UNESCO Member States in data-collection and reporting on SDG indicator 16.10.2 on access to information”.

To this end, UNESCO is now working with stakeholders to develop and test a standard questionnaire that can establish how well a country is implementing guarantees of access to information to the public.

Through a partnership with the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, the aim is to obtain credible data to feed UNESCO’s global reporting on SDG 16.10.2 as well as to strengthen national stakeholder knowledge and action for improvement.

For the project backed by BMZ, the objective is to support a selection of countries, which are interested in developing monitoring on a sustainable and institutionalised basis under the SDG framework.

All activities under the project will be conducted with gender sensitivity, and synergies with the work of Germany’s Deutsche Welle Akademie will be sought wherever possible.