In a recent blog by Development Initiatives Director Tony German, we argued that access to information should be firmly incorporated within the post-2015 framework which will replace the current Millennium Development Goals. We believe this will empower people to exercise their rights and hold governments to account, in turn, improving service delivery and reducing corruption.
A global campaign on transparency and accountability is currently taking shape and we look forward to working closely with our partners over the coming months to champion the agenda through the Open Government Partnership, the G8 and the next generation of the Millennium Development Goals.
Drawing on our analysis and programme experience, we believe that the post-2015 framework should incorporate access to information as a goal in its own right.We believe that transparency, participation and empowerment should be core components of the post-2015 narrative upon which a future development agenda can be built. However, just as the Millennium Declaration was accompanied by the MDGs with targets and indicators to measure progress, we believe a specific goal on access to informationcan act as a proxy against which progress on transparency, participation and empowerment can be measured.
We know from our work, and that of partner organisations, that when citizens gain access to information and use it to demand change, the results can be dramatic. For example, in Indonesia, providing women in a village with budget monitoring knowledge and basic economic literacy completely changed the power relations between the women and the village chief, commanded his respect and better allocation of public funds towards social services. Women became more entrepreneurial and requested small loans to start their own businesses.
Just last week, the Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening MP announced the launch of the Aid Transparency Challenge,signalling the UK governments’ continued and enhanced commitment to openness and transparency in the provision and use of aid in the developing world.
Indeed, Prime Minister David Cameron has stated it is his ambition to make the UK the most transparent government in the world. As President of the G8, Chair of the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals Framework, and senior Co-Chair of the Open Government Partnership he will have an opportunity in 2013 to show leadership on the global stage that will drive the transparency agenda at home, but with ramifications across the world.
Development Initiatives launched its aidinfo programme in 2008 with the aim of improving the transparency of aid information in order to increase the effectiveness of aid in reducing poverty. The proposition underpinning the programme was a simple one: that increased access to information about aid would enable donors and partner countries to plan and manage aid resource more effectively, at the same time as supporting parliaments, CSOs and citizens to hold their governments to account for the use of these aid resources.
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