Working Group Two Structure and Technology creating an environment for transparency

Working Group Two
Structure and Technology: creating an
environment for transparency
This group discussed the necessary structural environment for a transparency
regime, as well as the structural impediments to implementation and
enforcement. It aimed to further understand the role of technology in facilitating
or inhibiting transparency and the potential harms engendered by technology,
such as the increasing digital divide affecting the Americas.
Issue Statement
 What are the structural and technical issues that permit the right of
access to information to flourish in the Americas, where are the
obstacles and what can be done to overcome the challenges and
advance the right?
Institutional capacity (public administration and public awareness)
Judicial independence
A free and capacitated media
Legislative or independent oversight mechanisms
Technological advances promoting and impairing transparency
Making systems more supportive of access to information
Cultural factors
Small state phenomena affecting the right of access to information
Regional Findings
 There is broad diversity among the countries in the Americas.
 The particular political, social, economic and cultural circumstances
of each country in the region require that the people of each country
determine the access to information system that best suits their
 Nevertheless, it is both desirable and feasible that the countries in
the region work collaboratively in sharing their experiences and
recognizing regional norms related to the right of access to
Regional Findings
 Because the benefits – both tangible and intangible – of access to
information are well-established, it is incumbent on governments,
civil society, the news media and the private sector to help create an
environment of transparency within their respective countries as well
as the region as a whole.
 Although technology can assist in providing access to information,
the region should be mindful that technology is not a panacea –
many people still lack meaningful access to technology and the
dissemination of government information on websites is often not an
adequate substitute for the disclosure of information.
Recommendations & Action Points
 All regional and intergovernmental organizations and international/regional financial
institutions should ensure internal transparency policies and mechanisms, providing
clear and simple processes, limited exceptions, independent appeals processes,
mandate proactive disclosure, promote transparency in member states
 Provide financial and technical support for states, citizens, training of journalists,
research etc.
 Ensure full and effective implementation, at national and subnational level, and
enforcement mechanisms
 Issue clear rules and regulations for record-making and management, including
specific provisions to deter increasing use of “non-existence of record” as reason for
Recommendations & Action Points
NON-STATE ACTORS (Civil Society, Corporate and Professional Organizations):
 Civil society organizations, universities and scholars should undertake
evidence-based research, including issues such as the particular conditions
in our region that allow some transparency cultures to thrive; efficacy of the
different transparency systems; relationship between information
management and transparency, measurement indicators and tools to
assess implementation and enforcement etc.
 Encourage training of journalists to use right of access to information
 Build solidarity among access to information community and create alliance
with full range of stakeholders