Working Group One Politics and Economy: shifting the balance toward openness

Working Group One
Politics and Economy: shifting the
balance toward openness
The group considered the “politics of policy” of access to information,
including how to incentivize the various political and social actors that
support transparency and accountability. It weighed the experiences
offered by various states in the region in their efforts to promote
transparency. Finally, participants discussed the role of external actors and
donors, such as the World Bank and regional organizations.
Issue Statement
 The experience in the region thus far has shown that a law alone is
not sufficient to guarantee the right of access to information.
 Therefore we must think about a more integrated and clear public
policy approach to securing transparency.
 Is Access to Information a human right or an instrument for other ends?
 ATI must not be considered a dichotomy
 Are there intrinsic differences between the right of access to information and
other political rights? If there are differences, what are they?
 The policies behind Access to Information
 How has the promotion of the transparency agenda come about?
 How has the agenda of access to information emerged?
 Economy of Access to Information
Systems of privileges and the extraction of rents
 Opportunities
Policies and laws are reactions to political crises, i.e. corruption in Mexico, Peru, Argentina
How can we take advantage of these opportunities?
 Transparency and Access to Information
Transparency is distinct from Access to Information
 It is not just about a law, we must consider:
Policies to implement the law
Political culture
Leadership to push this culture
Social demand for information
Archiving and the production of information
Regional Findings
 There are opportunities to be created and to be anticipated with regard to
advance and deepen access to information. Crises of public trust represent
such an opportunity to move forward.
 There is a need to identify what parties are interested in the politics of the
policy of transparency, as well as where there is resistance
 It is necessary to strengthen states in terms of improving the capacities of
public officials and improved administrative practices.
 In the region, other strategies to achieve transparency can be explored
when political efforts fail.
 There is a need to improve the capacity to link access to information to the
quality of life, citizen participation, and the exercise of other rights.
Recommendations & Action Points
 Involve international organizations that demand conditionality to affect the
best practices in the topic of right of access to information.
 Congress must not avoid its duty to monitor implementation of ATI laws.
 Guarantee resources to implement the right to information, especially at the
local and municipal levels.
 An independent implementation authority must be appointed, with the
participation of civil society.
 Offer awards to municipalities for their transparency regimes based on
indicators for best performance
 Share experiences between municipalities about political successes
Recommendations & Action Points
NON-STATE ACTORS (Civil Society, Corporate and Professional Organizations):
 Generate sophisticated and evidence-based research
 Evaluation of implementation should be done with information produced by
CSOs and universities.
 Capacitate journalists in the knowledge and function of public administration
 Pursue litigation in the public interest to advance ATI jurisprudence
 Improve the knowledge of the value of access to information among political
leaders, political parties, and unions to produce greater support
 Make better use of constitutions and international treaties to put more
pressure on governments to comply with their promises
 Universities: work systematically on how transparency can be addressed by
different professional programs
 NGOS: implement robust internal mechanisms to build a culture of