13 August 2019.
UNESCO has launched an overview report on its 2019 SDG Indicator 16.10.2 data collection exercise, Highlights from the 2019 UNESCO Monitoring and Reporting of SDG Indicator 16.10.2 – Access to Information: Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information. The data collection exercise – covering 43 Voluntary National Review (VNR) countries – and initial reporting were done by the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD). A full report is expected in due course.
“As an early pilot data collection exercise for SDG Indicator 16.10.2, focusing on implementation of right to information laws, the results are impressive,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director, CLD. “We now plan to provide training to information commissions so that they will be able to conduct the exercise in 2020.”
The UNESCO methodology involved two surveys, one focusing on the work of central oversight bodies and one focusing on individual public authorities, both largely completed as self-reporting exercises. The first survey was filled out for all 43 countries and the second for 73 public authorities in 17 countries.
One of the more dramatic outcomes was the extremely positive results given by individual public authorities regarding the processing of requests, including an 81% rate of providing information in response to requests and an 80% rate of responding to requests within the initial time limits. Unfortunately, these figures do not correspond to the results of independent requesting exercises, suggesting that better data collection by public authorities may be needed. The exercise suggested that oversight bodies do a better job of collecting information about appeals, while still leaving significant room for improvement.
Some other selected results from the data collection exercise were:
• One-half of the countries which reported on this said that appeals were resolved, on average, in 31-60 days, while the other half took 61 days or more.
• Most countries claimed to have conducted public awareness raising activities.
• Overall, public authorities claimed to have proactively disclosed information across 14 different categories 59% of the time.
More detailed information about the results is contained in the overview report.
For further information, please contact: