Information for Development
One of the challenges facing IFAP is to explain to governments and communities the value of information in addressing development issues. The objectives in the UN Millennium Declaration link the development and eradication of poverty to good governance and transparency.
The costs of neglect and disorder of records in organizations are seriously underestimated and the benefits to be derived from good records management in respect of efficiency and accountability need to be recognised.
A UNESCO study has found that a free press is strongly associated with a good level of development and reduced poverty. Access to primary goods and better nutrition also coexist with strong freedom of the press. A free press is well associated with decent medical environment. It helps to show the government where its true responsibilities lie. As a development tool, the press is as effective as investment or education. The same is already true of digital media available through ICT and their importance will grow.
Information for development is a tool for empowerment, e.g. through making the planning figures of government budgets available to all, through transparent and competitive bidding processes, through increased accountability of government offices, etc. It is also a tool for increasing opportunities and livelihood security. The central underlying issue is the need to stress not only the importance of access to information, but also the relevance and usefulness of information.
The value of developing human capacity and in providing access to information and knowledge for development is well recognized, but more effort is required to explain and demonstrate the benefits of investing in these resources.