UNESCO Develops Reporting Instrument for SDG Indicator  on Access to Information

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO
Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO

The International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) of the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has developed a reporting instrument that seeks through a questionnaire to determine the number of countries that have adopted and are implementing constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information in  order to give effect to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 16.10.2

The questionnaire is designed to guide Member States in providing the minimal data that UNESCO and the UNESCO Institute of Statistics are seeking to collect in order to fulfill UNESCO’s mandate as Convening Agency for monitoring Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 indicator.

Accompanied by brief guidelines, the questionnaire focuses on implementation of Right to Information (RTI) laws or rules.

 The accompanying brief guidelines elaborate on the underlying rationale; internationally agreed terms and definitions; reporting; how information will be contextualized in the resulting global report, given that data collected may indicate different things; and the role of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics in standard-setting, data collection, ensuring data quality in ensuring methodological quality of the indicators produced and contributing to analytical outputs.

The questionnaire is divided into two parts with three sections each with questions that seek to elicit information about various aspects of access to information implementation.

Part 1 which is meant to be filled by Information Commissioner/RTI Oversight Body/ Responsible Ministry contains questions seeking Preliminary Information about the country and the responsible oversight agency.

Section 1 of part 1 contains questions that seek to generate information about general institutional measures; Section 2 on Systemic performance: awareness, reporting, and records management; while Section 3 seeks information on Challenges to access to information law implementation and future plans by the oversight agency.

In Part 2, the questionnaire asked Member States to identify up to ten public authorities at the national level to be assessed in the survey. The Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Environment and City Council of the Capital in the first table (“Mandatory”) are mandatory.

Questions in Section 1 of Part 2 seek information around general institutional measures; Section 2 on direct performance issues including requests and proactive disclosure; while Section 3 seeks to elicit information about challenges and future plans