and Plan of Action
International Conference on the
The Carter Center
Declaración de Atlanta y Plan de Acción para el Avance del Derecho de Acceso a la Información (PDF, Español) >
Preparing for the Conference
In May 2007, The Carter Center held a two-day preparatory meeting to identify the key issues and gaps that should be addressed in the conference. The first day was spent with experts from a variety of fields related to access to information, such as persons dedicated to the more traditional field of transparency and right to information promotion, development and the pro-poor agenda, and the right to knowledge and information communication and technology. In advance of the meeting, each participant was asked to identify areas of greatest interest. Through facilitated discussion of these topics, at the conclusion of the first day six themes emerged: politics and political economy; private and non-state actors; the information environment (totality of network communications); the poor and marginalized; techniques and strategy; and evidence of impact.
On the second day, participants were joined by representatives from key donor agencies and international financial institutions to further explore these six themes and refine the conference agenda, as well as the necessary scholarship. At the conclusion of the preparatory meeting, the experts each sent a one-page document outlining the emerging trends and ideas for conference working groups.
In convening representatives from all the key stakeholder groups governments, donors, media, civil society, private sector, and academia the Carter Center's international conference on the right to public information addressed the fundamentally political aspects of ATI, such as the motivations of private and public actors to contribute to or impede ATI legislation and the constraints emerging from competing priorities for scarce resources. The conference concluded with the drafting of the Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information, which offers concrete points for future consideration and action.
The first day of the conference reflected on the community of practice's experience over the past years and the state of the art of the right to information. Panelists considered the topics of access to information as a tool for socio-economic rights and development, access to information and governance, and the state of access to information around the world. The format of the first day helped to lay the foundational notion of access to information as a fundamental human right and emphasized its value beyond just the fight against corruption.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to group work. Each group was assigned one specific topic to explore:
Follow up Activities:
Following the conference, the Carter Center incorporated the substantive comments from more than 60 participants into the draft declaration. On March 26, 2008, the Center released the final version of the Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information, which has been cited by numerous websites, blogs and newspapers, and presented to the Council of Europe's Committee on Human Rights and the Organization of American States' Committee on Political and Juridical Affairs.
We also sent out an online evaluation after the conference, and one third of the participants responded. Over 90% of respondents felt the conference did well in advancing the field of the right to information. One evaluation respondent stated that "the declaration and related documents shall be a mandatory road map for future efforts by international organizations as well as non profits interested in advancing and promoting the right of access to information."
Carter Center staff is in the process of broadly disseminating the Atlanta Declaration and producing a comprehensive conference report. The Center will continue to provide technical support and periodic updates on implementation of the recommendations, as appropriate.
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