Access to information (A2I) is not an end in itself, but rather a driver of progress across the board. It empowers people and communities, laying the foundations for equality, sustainability, and prosperity. It provides a clear illustration of the rightsbased, holistic approach to development taken in the 2030 Agenda.
At the national level, governments, businesses and philanthropists have long invested in access to information in a range of areas – public health, education, research, media, and institutions such as libraries. In 2015, the UN’s Member States made A2I a specific target under Goal 16 and also incorporated elsewhere in the 2030 Agenda. Yet investment is not always coordinated, and at a time of competing priorities, it is vital not only to maintain support, but to increase its effectiveness.
This report, the first of a series, sets out the contribution that meaningful access to information can make to development, with a particular emphasis on the focus SDGs at this year’s High Level Political Forum. It also strengthens the measurement effort around Goal 16 by establishing a basket of indicators and a baseline.
Future editions will continue to combine thematic analysis with the tracking of progress in order to show how access is advancing, and to identify where there are examples of good practice from which others can learn. This will provide governments, NGOs and other development actors with an effective tool for promoting meaningful access to information for all.