14.06.2017 - UNESCO Montevideo Office

Latin America Progress in Reporting SDG 16: Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies

From the 14th to the 16th of June 2017, the First International Workshop on the Global Alliance for Reporting SDG 16: Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, co-produced by UNDP, UNODC, and UNESCO, will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Here you go!

Recognizing the need for new partnerships to support Member States, taking national policies and priorities into account, the Global Alliance for Reporting SDG 16: Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, supports coordinated work around the world, taking into account the different realities, capacities and levels of development, the report is produced in a platform of cooperation chaired by Qatar.

Latin America will take the opportunity to present the report in Buenos Aires to more than 50 high level regional stakeholders. Guilherme Canela, Regional Adviser for Communication and Information, responsible for coordinating UNESCO's participation in this activity, will be present during the meeting.  He says, “SDG 16 is the goal of good governance. Issues such as the rule of law and access to public information are central to the achievement of the other objectives. Therefore, this activity is very important.” Mary Guinn Delaney, Regional Adviser for Health Education and HIV of the Organization will also participate in the meeting.

Additionally, UNESCO will open a discussion about the preliminary version of the Draft Guide for Judicial Powers on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, prepared by Consultant Javier Benech, addressed to Judicial Powers, with a special emphasis on SGD 16. Dr Sergio Palacio, General Secretary of the Ibero-American Network of Judicial Schools, a key UNESCO partner in the implementation of the SDG will also be present as well as Ms. Stefania Lapolia Cantoini, Information Analyst from the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (CETIC.BR) in Brazil.

During the activity, participants from a number of ministries, national statistical offices, parliamentary offices, the judiciary, the private sector and civil society, including the media, the creative sector and academia, will be able to identify their respective roles in the transformation required by 2030 Agenda.

UNESCO and SDG 16 in Latin America: access, freedom, transparency and security

In Latin America, the scope of its high-level capacity-building initiatives on freedom of expression access to public information, transparency and the safety of journalists has expanded, especially with the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in November 2016 between UNESCO and the Ibero-American Summit of Judges.

Since 2015, UNESCO Montevideo’s Communication and Information Sector in cooperation with a number of regional partners has mobilized and strengthen the capacities of over 5,000 judicial operators throughout Latin America. Amongst the resources offered to these stakeholders are the MOOC ‘International Legal Framework on Freedom of Expression, Access to Information and the Safety of Journalists’ ’, the International essay contest: "Transforming our world: the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development", (the winner to be announced soon); and the Toolkit on freedom of expression, access to public information, transparency and safety of journalists,, to be launched at the end of June. In addition to this, and as previously mentioned the Guide for Judicial Powers on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, prepared by Consultant Javier Benech with special emphasis on SDG 16, will also be presented and discussed at the Buenos Aires Workshop. These initiatives are supported by the Ibero-American Network of Judicial Schools (RIAEJ), the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Open Society Foundations and the Government of Sweden

Latin America at the top of the global "ranking" of access to information laws: What happens with the implementation of these laws?

UNESCO's Communication and Information Sector will use this workshop as an opportunity to launch the new Series of Discussion Papers. The main objectives of these papers are to offer inputs for decision and policy makers that take into account different perspectives of these issues and the international standards.

On this occasion, Bill Orme, a prominent former New York Times journalist, publisher and independent consultant specializing in media development and strategic communication, presents his work: Access to information: Lessons from Latin America. Orme has long experience in supporting independent international journalism and advocacy for human development.

Using the testimonies of three freedom-of-expression decision-makers involved in the implementation of access to information laws in three complex Latin American countries: Jacqueline Peshard (Mexico), Juan Pablo Olmedo (Chile) and José Eduardo Elías Romo (Brazil), Orme introduces the reader to the complexities of implementing these policies in the real world.

 Among others, he leads us to think about the interrelationship between the right of open and effective access to public information and the protection of the basic principles set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression. For example, did you know that Mexico ranks first in the CLD's Global Right to Information Rating? However, it also known to be one of the most dangerous countries in the Western Hemisphere for journalists. In the first months of 2017, six more journalists were killed without any arrests

Are you wondering what happens in Brazil or in Chile? How the countries in the region dialogue regarding these issues? Between figures and experiences, the author leaves us a set of lessons and good practices on how to implement these laws, how to broaden the search and participate in the debate.   

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