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Photo Gallery: Americas Regional Conference on the Right of Access to Information

April 28-30, 2009
Lima, Peru

Participants of the International Conference on the Right to Public Information gather for a photo with President Carter.
Photo credit: The Carter Center

Participants gathered with President and Mrs. Carter for an outdoor group photo. The 115 participants hailed from 18 countries in the Americas region, and represented various sectors, including government, civil society, regional and international organizations, international financial institutions, donor foundations, academia, media, and the private sector.

Carlos Felipe Jaramillo spoke during the opening session of the conference. He emphasized that the right to information is a tool for the poor, and that the most fundamental challenge for the World Bank is the active participation of the people.

Shekhar Singh (right) chaired the panel entitled "Is Transparency Delivering?" He asked participants to consider transparency's capacity to deliver its purported benefits such as better governance, improved development and more accountable administrations. Singh was joined by colleagues (from left to right) Bernardo Gonzalez-Arechiga, Marta Oyanharte, and Minister Jorge Hage of Brazil.

Richard Calland (far left) chaired the second panel of the conference. Calland used the South African example to discuss the challenges of promoting access to information when governments are faced with competing public interests concerns. Panelists Joseph Foti, Sean Moulton, and Tom Susman (l-r) debated whether transparency is a luxury in the face of the financial crises and climate change.

Suzanne Legault discussed the Canadian access to information law and the challenges faced by a system that was established nearly a generation ago. "In access to information terms, the Canadian law is a grandmother," she said.

Deborah Gersh-Hernandez (center) spoke during the luncheon panel on the media's role in advancing the right to information. Enrique Zileri (left) debated whether journalists in Peru give sufficient attention to the right of access to information. Jim Bronskill (right) urged fellow journalists to use existing laws in order to make government more responsive.

Carlos Zelada, Luis Castro, and Moises Sanchez participate in a full day working group to consider the need for a regional convention or instrument to advance the right of access to information.  The working group's conclusions and recommendations were incorporated in the Americas Region Findings and Plan of Action.

President Carter offered his welcoming remarks during the special conference dinner. As a chair of the conference, President Carter thanked participants for joining him in Peru to discuss the importance of the right to information for the Americas region.

President Carter, Juan Pablo Olmedo, and Thomas Susman pause for a quick photo during the special conference dinner.

During the concluding plenary, President Carter (right) was joined by Laura Neuman (center) and Catalina Botero. Together, they guided participants toward consensus on the Americas Regional Findings and Plan of Action for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information, an addendum to the 2008 Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action.

Damian Cox and Carolyn Gomes met in country-level breakout sessions with other Caribbean colleagues to consider the potential impact of the Americas Regional Plan of Action in light of their experiences and particular country context.

Colleagues from Nicaragua including (from left to right) Emilio José Ortega Porras, Agustín Jarquín Anaya, Mignone Vega Sánchez, and Javier Meléndez meet to discuss how to advance the Americas Findings and Plan of Action when they return to their country.

Santiago Cantón spoke during the opening session of the conference, focusing on the development of the right of access to information in the last 15 years. "This conference," he said, "is an opportunity to continue a dialogue between democratic countries about the right to information."

All Photos: The Carter Center

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