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Information is Power

Featured July 2008

Partners Help Make International Conference on Right to Public Information a Reality

Increasingly, Access to Information (ATI) is recognized as not only the cornerstone to good governance, anti-corruption and transparency efforts, but also as a fundamental human right. The Carter Center began its ATI work in 1999, when it responded to the Jamaican government's invitation to inform their debate regarding draft ATI legislation. Since that time, the Center has expanded its ATI programming to include a number of core countries around the world, as well as supporting regional and international efforts. Our work is comprehensive, addressing both governments' capacity to provide and citizens' ability to request public information.

Recognizing the challenges facing the global advancement of the right of access to information, the Center convened more than 125 participants from 40 countries in February 2008 for the International Conference on the Right to Public Information. These representatives from all key stakeholder groups – governments, international organizations, civil society, media, the private sector, donors and scholars – considered past successes and lessons learned and the most critical emerging issues in the field of ATI.

The product of these discussions was captured in the Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information. This document, which sets forth key principles and activities that should be undertaken for continuing development of the right to information, has been distributed to international organizations, regional bodies, and heads of state. It also has been cited by numerous Web sites, newspapers, and government reports. In addition, it has been presented to the Council of Europe's Committee on Human Rights, the Organization of American States' (OAS) Committee on Political and Juridical Affairs, foreign ministers at the OAS General Assembly, and the Civil Society Forum of the recent Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ministerial.

The International Conference on the Right to Public Information would not have been possible without the generous support of our partners:

Canadian International Development Association (CIDA)

Coca-Cola Inc.

John C. and Karyl Kay Hughes Foundation (no site available)

International Development Research Centre

Open Society Institute

Skoll Foundation

Stewart R. Mott Charitable Trust

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

World Bank

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Participants of the International Conference on the Right to Public Information gather for a photo with President Carter.
Photo credit: Carter Center/C. Mackey(Click to enlarge)

Participants of the International Conference on the Right to Public Information gathered for a photo with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter before the conference's opening plenary. The conference included 125 participants from 40 countries representing the key stakeholder groups - governments, civil society, international and regional organizations, media, international financial institutions, donor organizations and foundations, academia, and the private sector.

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