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UNESCO Names Sept. 28 Access to Information Day


The UNESCO General Conference voted Nov. 17 to designate Sept. 28 as “International Day for the Universal Access to Information,” according to a UNESCO official.

The date has been celebrated as “Right to Know Day” since 2002 when international civil society advocates developed the idea during a Sept. 26-28, 2012, conference in Sofia, Bulgaria. The event also spawned the Freedom of Information Advocates Network, which since then has sponsored RTK Day events.

The UNESCO resolution was pushed in recent years by African civil society groups and African countries.

General Conference approval came during its meetings in Paris and follows on support from a UNESCO Committee on Nov. 11 (See previous report.) plus the UNESCO Executive Board on Oct. 19. (See previous report.)

The resolution recommends approval by the UN General Assembly.

The resolution “invites all Member States, United Nations system organizations, and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to celebrate the Day in a manner which each considers most appropriate and without financial implications for the regular budget of UNESCO.”

In the UNESCO meetings, the proposal was submitted by Angola, Morocco and Nigeria.

The resolution takes note of the call for the designation “made in by the African Platform on Access to Information, adopted at the Pan-African Conference on Access to Information, organized by the Windhoek+20 Campaign on Access to Information in Africa in partnership with UNESCO, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa, in Cape Town, South Africa, from 17 to 19 September, 2011.” 

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