Paris, September 29th, 2017 (UNESCO). 2017 is the second year of UNESCO marking 28 September as the “International Day for Universal Access to Information” (IDUAI). On 17 November 2015, UNESCO adopted a resolution (38 C/70) declaring 28 September of every year as International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI). 

IDUAI has particular relevance with the new 2030 Development Agenda, and in particular with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 16.10 which calls for ensuring public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms.

The celebration for universal access to information started in Tunisia on 25 September, with a panel event gathering around 250 participants to discuss progress and new initiatives around Tunisia’s Access to Information law. The country’s legislation on access to information is ranked by specialized observers among the “top-ten” best in the world in terms of its adherence to international standards. The event also brought the opportunity to launch a new Swiss-funded UNESCO project, to facilitate coordination among the civil society organizations to implement the right to information law.

From 27th to 30th of September 2017, UNESCO in partnership with the Information for All Programme (IFAP) hosts a Conference under the theme “Overcoming Divides and Achieving the SDGs in Africa in Balaclava, Mauritius. This event consists of plenary sessions, workshops and technical sessions. It brings together high-level participants from all of the 54 African countries including Presidents/Prime Ministers, Ministers for Information and Communication and Ambassadors to UNESCO.

On 28th of September 2017, the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) hosted the second whole-day event IPDCtalks: Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information in UNESCO Headquearters, Paris, France. The 'IPDCtalks' was held to highlight and elaborate on the importance of Access to Information for all sustainable development efforts around the world. It consisted of a series of attractive and dynamic talks from global public leaders, prominent journalists, young intellectuals and community leaders.

Also, UNESCO Field Offices in many countries around the world together with local authorities and civil society commemorated #AccessToInfoDay by organizing workshops, conferences and public activities including marches and concerts in order to both discuss and raise awareness about freedom of information, the promotion of open access and the importance of adopting the right to information laws. These targeted and widespread activities ensure that the day of 28th September is used to engage citizens and public authorities as to the importance of the right to information for human existence at both local and global levels.

UNESCO hopes that the marking of 28 September as the “International Day for Universal Access to Information” will provide for more countries adopting FOI legislation, developing policies for multilingualism and cultural diversity in the cyberspace, and ensuring that women and men with disabilities are integrated.

These steps will further strengthen progress towards the 2030 Development agenda and pave the way for the creation of knowledge societies worldwide.