Marking the International Day, the discussions initiated the process for updating the 2004 Policy Guidelines for the Development and Promotion of Governmental Public Domain Information. Speakers from different geographical regions provided insight into the best approaches to improving the guidelines from a rights-based perspective that would lead to effective implementations of related laws. The suggested changes will contribute to an updated version of the guidelines and further consultations in 2022.

The events organized around the world highlighted key aspects about the guidelines and the way forward, focusing on the role of access to information laws in building back better institutions after the pandemic. They also addressed access to information as the right that could enable other rights in the Decade of Action and the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 16 to promote “just, peaceful and inclusive societies.”

As UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Tawfik Jelassi pointed out in his opening remarks, “132 UN Member States have adopted constitutional guarantees or enacted access to information laws. This is a major achievement, but more can still be done to extend this fundamental right to all countries worldwide.”

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