Groups demand UN Development Plan for Government Accountability

mraadmin
By mraadmin February 20, 2014 08:26 Updated

Groups demand UN Development Plan for Government Accountability

Over 200 Civil society groups have called on the United Nations (UN) to put government accountability and independent media at the center of a new framework for global development. The UN is currently working to devise a global development agenda for after 2015, the target date for the Millennium Development Goals, which will set worldwide priorities for development in the coming decades. Civil Society groups from all parts of the world are addressing their representatives at the UN.

In a joint statement coordinated by ARTICLE 19 and the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), 197 of these organizations say access to information and media freedom are vital elements for a future development plan. There was a consensus that systems that allow people to hold governments accountable are fundamental to achieving economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability.

Mr. Thomas Hughes, Executive Director ARTICLE 19

Mr. Thomas Hughes, Executive Director ARTICLE 19

Mr. Thomas Hughes, the Executive Director of ARTICLE 19 noted as follows: “It’s crucial that the UN recognize the broad base of support for media freedom and access to information as essential elements of the new development agenda. The creation of open governments is a fundamental prerequisite to ensure meaningful development. The free flow of information allows people to make informed decisions and participate meaningfully in public discussions about matters that affect their lives. Information is also critical to encourage innovation and creativity. Access to information and a free and independent media are crucial to ensuring governments are held to account for the promises they make and to safeguard development commitments”

The UN Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals will be meeting in New York to further discussions on governance.

The coalition urges the UN to establish a specific goal to ensure good governance and effective institutions which will be included as components of this goal a clause that will “ensure people enjoy freedom of speech, association, peaceful protest and access to independent media and information and to guarantee the public’s right to information and access to government data. In that these are the only tools that guarantee democracy.”

According to the group, “Access to information and independent media are highly essential. Human development in the coming decades will largely be dependent on people’s access to information. Groundbreaking new media and technology are enabling major expansion of economic, social and political progress. It is believed that freedom of expression and access to independent media are essential to democratic and economic development. Freedom of speech and the media are means of advance human development.”

Last year, a high-level advisory panel – appointed to advise the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the post 2015 agenda – recommended a new goal on good governance for a future development plan. This goal would include ensuring that people have the right to free speech, independent media and access to information.

The group’s report (A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies through Sustainable Development) was welcomed widely for recognizing the vital role human rights play in securing meaningful economic and social development.“The high level panel made clear that access to information and the transparency and accountability of governments are critical to ensuring development. Those recommendations must be made good and be formally incorporated to make to the post 2015 agenda meaningful” said Thomas Hughes.

mraadmin
By mraadmin February 20, 2014 08:26 Updated
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