Transparency and access to information, at the heart of the sustainable development agenda

The EUROsociAL+ Programme has supported the 16th RTA Meeting by promoting version 2.0 of the OAS Access to Information Framework Act, open parliaments, targeted transparency strategies and international alliances

Latin America is one of the regions in the world where policies on transparency and access to information have become more developed in recent times as essential pillars for accountability and citizen participation in public affairs. With the aim of sharing learning and facing common challenges, the guarantors and promoters of the right to public information in the region have created the Transparency and Information Access Network (RTA in its Spanish acronym).

The European Union cooperation programme for social cohesion in Latin America, EUROsociAL, supports strategic actions by the RTA as part of efforts to move forward in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development (SDG 16), the action plans of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and the Lima Commitment to "Democratic Governance against Corruption" (April 2018), issued by the last Summit of the Americas.

In this context, the 16th Meeting of the RTA was held in Asunción (Paraguay) from 5 to 8 November. Present at the opening ceremony were the Paraguayan minister of justice, Julio Ríos; the EU ambassador to Paraguay, Paolo Berizzi; the president of the Congress of Costa Rica, Carolina Hidalgo; the director of the OAS Department of International Law, Dante Negro; the president of the Uruguayan Agesic Council of the Unit for Access to Public Information, Gabriel Delpiazzo; and the commissioner of the Mexican National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI in its Spanish acronym), Óscar Ford.

The first two days the third workshop were set aside for the preparation of version 2.0 of the Access to Information Framework Act from the Organisation of American States (OAS), with the discussion of key aspects for transparency such as exception regimes, the nature of the guarantor bodies and access to information for vulnerable groups.

In the afternoon of the second day the results from three strategic projects by the RTA supported by EUROsociAL+ were presented: 1) an online course and a self-diagnostic tool that will facilitate the implementation of the Document and File Management Model; 2) a regional system for the comparative measurement of the right of access to information, and; 3) a model for applying the gender approach in policies on transparency and access to information.

On the third day, two new initiatives that will be promoted by EUROsociAL+ and the RTA were discussed. Six women representatives from ParlAméricas, the legislative bodies of Paraguay, Argentina, Costa Rica and Chile, and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) discussed advances and challenges in promoting open parliaments. At the same time, the Mexican INAI, the Uruguayan Agesic and the Chilean Transparency Council presented innovative experiences relating to focused transparency, with social value for citizens.

The meeting ended with three important shared challenges for 2019: 1) to promote open parliaments by sharing best practices in the European Union and Latin America; 2) to promote transparency initiatives focused on strategic areas for social cohesion (vulnerable groups and the health sector) and in the fight against corruption (fiscal transparency), and; 3) to systematise innovative experiences to be shared within the framework of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and that serve in drawing up action plans.

Área de políticas de gobernanza democrática en FIIAPP. Democratic governance area in FIIAPP / EUROsociAL+