The Institute for Access to Public Information (IAIP), with the support of the USAID Activity for Fiscal Transparency, the Transparency and Access to Information Network (RTA), and the European Union EUROsociAL+ cooperation programme, organised the International Virtual Seminar “Good practices for citizen participation in improving public information during the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Its aim was to promote a dialogue with international experts and civil society organisations from Honduras and the European Union on good citizen participation practices implemented to improve public information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For two hours, experts analysed and exchanged experiences regarding the strengthening of the capacity of the Institute for Access to Public Information to assess compliance with regulations and transparency agreements, of the information concerning funds for the COVID-19 emergency with the application of auditing techniques and civil society participation, and the promotion of citizen participation for the improvement and expansion of the information published on COVID-19.
IAIP-Honduras, whose COVID Portal was created in March 2020, issues verification guidelines, openly informing the public through press conferences on the compliance carried out by the institutions with respect to the information they have published. At the same time, civil organisations have made use of the COVID portal to carry out research and social oversight on the execution of expenses to address the pandemic.
Based on evaluations carried out by the IAIP and reports issued by civil organisations on access to public information in times of COVID, the Specialist COVID-19 Transparency Portal is a benchmark for investigations by the media, the State Audit Court, and the National Anti-Corruption Council, the body that oversees compliance with Article 30 of the Transparency and Access to Public Information Act, with these actions currently shaping opinion within Honduran society.
As a result, the IAIP considers it appropriate to get to know how the different Latin American region member-countries of the Transparency and Access to Public Information Network have responded to the issues and challenges to improve public information in times of the pandemic, what tools have been developed and what role civil society has had in supporting and improving public information.
The event took place virtually, with the participation of representatives from various sectors and presentations by national and international experts in the fields of transparency and access to information and the fight against corruption and accountability, exemplifying the management of the pandemic in their countries.