Civil Society's Joint Statement for Post-2015
More than 190 civil society groups are calling on the United Nations (UN) to put government accountability and independent media at the centre 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. This week the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals will be meeting in New York to further discussions on governance.
In a joint statement, coordinated by ARTICLE 19 and the Global Forum for Media Development (GFMD), 193 organisations from 77 countries say access to information and media freedom are vital elements for a future development plan. Systems that allow people to hold governments accountable are fundamental to achieving economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability.
“It’s crucial that the UN recognise the broad base of support for including media freedom and access to information as essential elements of the new development agenda. Creating open governments is a fundamental prerequisite to ensure meaningful development” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.
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 for 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” added Hughes.
“With this statement, civil society groups from all regions of the globe are addressing their representatives at the United Nations. Ignoring the role of media and information in fostering transparency and accountability would be an absurdity while setting goals and target for development for the next decades. Access to information and independent media are essential to development. As the UN Open Working Group gathers again this week, it is of utmost importance they take account of this message”, said Leon Willems, GFMD Chairman.
The coalition urges the UN to:
• establish a specific goal to “ensure good governance and effective institutions
• include as components of this goal a clause to "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."
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 recognising 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 ensure development. Those recommendations must be made good and be formally incorporated to make to the post 2015 agenda meaningful” said Thomas Hughes.