Right to Information

UNESCO advocates for access to information as a fundamental freedom and a key pillar in building inclusive knowledge societies. The organization promotes rights and values outlined in the Article 19 of the Universal declaration of Human Rights. Access to information serves as an integral part of freedom of expression and is an important tool for promoting the rule of law, other rights and building trust. It is an enabler for sustainable development in areas such as health, environment, addressing poverty and fighting corruption. UNESCO assists Member States to comply with and implement international treaties and agreements, norms and standards related to universal access to information as well as to contribute towards peaceful societies (SDG 16). The General Assembly of the United Nations appointed UNESCO in in September 2015 as the custodian UN agency for global monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator 16.10.2 : “number of countries that adopt and implement constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for ’public access to information".


ICT Ministers in Africa pledge support to implementation of Windhoek+30 Declaration
IDUAI 2021: An urgent need to expand access to information laws and their effective implementation worldwide
APRM-UNDP High-level side event confirms access to Information is crucial to achieve SDG 16 in Africa
UNESCO launches 2022 Survey on Public Access to Information

Our Challenges

Access to Information Laws
Monitoring and Reporting on Access to Information

International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) 2021 - Teaser

UNESCO and partner institutions hosted seven online webinars for IDUAI 2021, on 28 and 29 September that focused on the central role of access to information legislation and its implementation in operating strong institutions that contribute to the public good and sustainable development and the need to strengthen international cooperation in promoting and implementing the right to information as a fundamental human right. These virtual discussions also addressed best practices, new approaches, regionals specificities, and the importance of efficient and independent oversight bodies, open data, and challenges in the digital era.

Facts and Figures

UN Member States have adopted

constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information.

Out of 42
countries that submitted their reviews

to the VNR process, 28 countries (67%) reported on ‘access to information’.

11 countries
adopted Access to Information laws

since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda

102 countries
participated in 2021

in the UNESCO Survey on SDG 16.10.2

Our Publications

The right to information in times of crisis: access to information – saving lives, building trust, bringing hope!
Access to information: a new promise for sustainable development
Freedom of information: a comparative legal survey
From promise to practice: access to information for sustainable development;2020 UNESCO report on the monitoring and reporting of SDG indicator 16.10.2 (Public access to information)