UNESCO EU project EIDHR/2012/292-704 “Empowering people to enjoy their Right to Information for greater accountability of Nepal’s power holders”
The project aims at improving the transparency of Nepal’s government and the accountability of decision-making through a broader implementation of the Right to Information Act.
Project duration: April 2013 – March 2016
Budget: EUR 365,606
The project is funded with EUR 290,000 by the European Union through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) within the framework of the Country Based Support Scheme (CBSS) 2012 Allocations to Nepal and with EUR 75,606 by UNESCO.
Nepal is in the process of restoring sustainable peace and creating an inclusive Constitution after a 10-year civil war that ended in 2006. The process is not progressing without challenges and the deadline for the Constitution has been extended several times. Nepal now has a unique chance to build the constitutional basis for a sustainable and inclusive democracy.
Nepal adopted a RTI Act in 2006 with great expectations for improved transparency and accountability of the government. Many people do not have information of the existence of the law, or how it could help them in obtaining information regarding the peace process, despite the legal guarantee and establishment of the Nepal Information Commission (NIC). The aim of the RTI Act, to make the decision-making transparent and hold the State accountable, is still far from being realized. People do not have easy access to public information, and public agencies are not proactively providing this information.
In Nepal, the RTI Act is often seen as a tool only for journalists. Many men and women do not understand how the law is linked to their lives and how they can utilize it. In addition, people who would like to utilize the law when seeking information do not have anyone to turn to for help on the local level. A network of mediators, trained people to whom people turn to with their problems, could encourage people to exercise their right to obtain public information through official channels.
The overall objective of the project is to improve the transparency of Nepal’s government and the accountability of decision-making through a broader implementation of the Right to Information Act.
The action also has three specific objectives:
1) Citizens have access to information that is relevant to them and are hence motivated to exercise their democratic rights;
2) Journalists recognize their role as the watchdogs of the power holders and proactively seek and publish correct and timely information and
3) Local level government officials understand their role as public servants and are more willing to share public information.
The project will challenge and encourage journalists and local mediators at the individual level to take their role as crucial actors in the chain of delivering information to local communities and to challenge the government to practice transparent and good governance.
Through individuals’ capacity building and commitment, the project will create grass root demand for a better access to information and transparency, creating pressure on the public offices.
The project also focuses on journalists, information officers and mediators. Through relationship and trust-building on local level, it will establish local multi-stakeholder alliances that work jointly to create conditions for the free flow of information.
On the national and structural levels, the project will link the different actors and stakeholders, bringing them together to discuss, share experiences and also debate the policy and structural level challenges and solutions for the better implementation of the RTI law.
The UNESCO Office implements the project with the following partners:
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