Access to Information
Access to information is an indispensable pillar that enables the free flow of information and advances the promotion and protection of human rights. In the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, access to information held by public bodies has been recognised as a necessary facilitating mechanism for public engagement across the Sustainable Goals, wherein UNESCO is tasked with monitoring and reporting the implementations of access to information policies worldwide under Goal 16.
UNESCO assists countries in their compliance and implementations of international treaties, agreements, norms and standards related to Universal Access to Information. In addition, UNESCO provides evidence-based and, where appropriate, integrated policy advice to help countries implement and report their activities on the 2030 Agenda, particularly by mainstreaming constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information. UNESCO makes use of international fora and international days such as the International Day for Universal Access to Information to leverage existing partnerships for inclusive digital transformation.
UNESCO recognizes that universal access to information must embrace open standards to support innovation and competition without barriers. UNESCO advocate for Open Access, including free and affordable access to journals and books, and open archives for scientific information. Open Access can also provide reliable and verified information to all, especially in times when misinformation and disinformation abounds. The importance of Open Data is also acknowledged by promoting open and FAIR data and harnessing its power for innovative, socially beneficial applications.
The digital divide in its many forms, especially the gender inequality in access, remains widening between countries and within regions, calling for an urgent action to end such disparities and provide equitable access for all. UNESCO work with Member States to build capacities for persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples to access information through policy advice that takes the Recommendation concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace into account. The International Decade for Indigenous Languages (2022-2032) is also offers an opportunity to build partnerships to protect and foster linguistic diversity and multilingualism.