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Transparency organisations urge governments to strengthen commitment to transparency and free flow of information

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 11 August 2010 - In a letter addressed to the two Ambassadors responsible for coordinating the UN High Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ARTICLE 19, Access Info, the Carter Center, CIVICUS, the International Budget Partnership, Publish What You Fund and Transparency International are calling for a stronger commitment to, and effective implementation of, transparency and the free flow of information in the fight against poverty.

On 20-22 September 2010, the UN will be holding a High Level Plenary Meeting to examine progress made towards achieving the MDGs and to set out a roadmap for the final five years of the MDG process. The Meeting will allow the development and human rights community to regain momentum and re-assert the centrality of the fight against poverty. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is calling for the adoption of an Outcome Document with a global action agenda for accelerating progress towards the MDGs.

ARTICLE 19, Access Info, the Carter Center, CIVICUS, the International Budget Partnership and Publish What You Fund and Transparency International have made seven recommendations to strengthen the document, including:

1. A clear and unequivocal commitment on the part of the international community to access to information and transparency as essential to the achievement of the MDGs, in the spirit of the Millennium Declaration.

2. Specific requirements for donor and recipient countries to provide timely, credible, disaggregated information on public resources expended on achieving the MDGs.

3. Effective implementation and strengthening of access to information laws and other transparency measures adopted by governments and international financial institutions.

4. Acknowledgement of the digital divide and the need to create equitable and universal access to information for marginalised and vulnerable groups.

5. Effective implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption and adoption of, and compliance with, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

6. Effective measures to make all aid information available and accessible. All donor countries should join the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).

7. Adoption and implementation of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, and of the UNEP's Guidelines for the development of national legislation on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

On 24-25 August, ARTICLE 19 is organising an international conference 'Transparency, the Free flow of Information and the MDGs', bringing together some 60 development and transparency experts from around the world, to share findings and lessons, and to develop a collective statement for the High Level Plenary Meeting in September.

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