“To say we were disappointed with the Policy, especially coming from an environmental agency which should understand the value of transparency, is putting it mildly,” said CLD Executive Director, Toby Mendel. “Frankly, the hypocrisy of UNEP recommending strong standards for States, which we support, and then adopting such a poor policy itself is hard to understand.”
A serious problem with the Policy is its vastly overbroad regime of exceptions. The exceptions are almost schizophrenic in nature, with model statements of exceptions being undermined by vastly overbroad statements. The Policy grants third parties a veto over the disclosure not only of information provided by them but also provided to them with an expectation of confidentiality, so that any document UNEP shares which is marked confidential could be covered by the exceptions. Other unfortunate wording in the exceptions would render secret any communication which contained a “report” or which related “to the exchange of ideas”.
The Policy also fails to establish an independent appeals mechanism, in contrast to the approach taken in better practice policies adopted recently by other IGOs, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Bank.
CLD urges UNEP to take advantage of the year before this Policy expires to conduct widespread consultations with a view to developing a much stronger right to information policy.
For further information, please contact:
Centre for Law and Democracy
Tel: +977 984 1714936