ACTION! - Signon for Submission to UN on Access to Info
Date: 26 October 2011
Please find below a letter calling for action from Dave Banisar, the Senior Legal Counsel of Article 19.
As you probably know, the UN is holding a summit of world leaders in Rio in June 2012 (Rio+20) to discuss the environment and sustainable development goals. ARTICLE 19 and TAI are leading an effort to ensure that the summit declaration calls for increased transparency based on Principle 10, specifically commitments on adoption of national laws on access to information, public participation and access to justice in the environment, a new UN convention (or regional conventions) on access to those rights, and a UN Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as part of their institutional restructuring.
The UN is calling for submissions for inclusion in the conference declaration by 1 November. We are asking organisational members of the FOINet community to sign a joint letter to the UN calling for these goals as representatives of the media and freedom of expression community. It would also call on the leaders to include recognition of the importance of media and FOE as essential to ensuring development. There has been quite a bit of internal discussion about these subjects at the various UN meetings and there is a good change we can get some if not all of these from them. A letter from a large diverse group of organisations would strengthen our efforts.
You can find a link to TAI and ARTICLE 19's paper for background here:
If you are an organisation and willing to sign on, please let me know by Sunday night, 30 October. We have also submitted this through the IFEX network so if you have responded to them, you do not need to do it again. If you are an individual, you can sign the TAI petition at https://www.change.org/petitions/what-we-want-from-rio20
Senior Legal Counsel
United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Secretariat Division for Sustainable Development UN-DESA, DC2-2212
2 UN Plaza
New York, NY 10017 USA
31 October 2011
Submission from xxx civil society organisations on the Importance of Access to Information and a Free Media to Sustainable Development
We, the undersigned XX civil society organisations representing freedom of expression, transparency, journalists, and the media interests around the world, are providing this submission on issues we strongly believe need to be included in the Outcome Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20).
The Outcome Document will represent an important milestone in the global efforts to realise sustainable development. We urge the UNCSD and member states to put free media, transparency and the free flow of information as central pillars in their efforts to promote sustainable development and the protection of the environment at the upcoming Rio+20 Summit in June 2012. We believe that transparency and the free flow of information, including the right of all to seek, receive and impart information and ideas related to development and the environment, are fundamental to ensuring sustainable development and environmental protection.
In particular, we recommend that the Outcome Document includes a general principle recognising that a free media and an independent civil society, transparency and the free flow of information are central pillars in global efforts to promote sustainable development and the protection of the environment.
The Outcome Document should also include:
1. An agreement for the creation of a new international treaty on access to environmental information, public participation and access to justice, based on Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention).
2. Clear and specific targets and deadlines for the adoption and implementation by member states of national legislation on access to information, public participation and access to justice, based on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Bali Guidelines.
3. Clear and specific targets and deadlines for member states to adopt necessary laws and policies to protect freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, freedom of association and freedom of assembly as well as to repeal those legal provisions that hamper the realisation of these rights, which are fundamental to sustainable development.
4. Clear and specific targets towards the adoption and implementation by all UN agencies, organisations, commissions, programmes, and other UN bodies, of access to information and public participation policies, including effective mechanisms to ensure appeal and compliance.
We fully support the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will integrate the above recommendations.
We thank you for this opportunity and offer our further assistance and commitment to the success of the Rio+20 process and conference and the full achievement of sustainable development.
[Names of signatories will follow]"