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".


Freedom of expression, access to information and safety of journalists at the Human Rights Council
UNESCO reiterates the need to promote gender-sensitive access to information laws
UNESCO launches 2022 Survey on Public Access to Information

Our Challenges

International Day for Universal Access to Information
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 Tashkent Declaration on Universal Access to Information
Promoting gender equity in the right of access to information
Access to information: a new promise for sustainable development
The Universal Periodic Review and its potential to foster access to information: guidelines for information commissioners
Freedom of information: a comparative legal survey
The importance of the right to information or the right to know is an increasingly constant refrain in the mouths of development practitioners, civil society, academics, the media and even governments. What is this right, is it really a right and how have governments sought to give effect to it? These are some of the questions this book seeks to address