Archive for 2007

  • 12 December 2007

    Information Commissioners Hold 5th International Conference in New Zealand

    Open Sessions Include NGO Participation; Commissioners Plan Future Cooperation By Kristin Adair for Information commissioners, government officials, and civil society representatives from around the world met at the 5th International Conference of Information Commissioners (ICIC) in Wellington, New Zealand, November 26-29.  The four-day conference consisted of one day of closed meetings for the commissioners, […]

  • 12 December 2007

    World Bank Grants Access to Database on Loan Conditionality

    The World Bank has granted researchers access to an internal database used to track the conditions placed on Bank loans, an action that bodes well for similar transparency requests. The unusual grant of access helped the European Network on Debt and Development (EURODAD) to create a report somewhat critical of the Bank, as indicated in […]

  • 12 December 2007

    EBRD Begins Process to Review Public Information Policy

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has begun a review of its Public Information Policy. Setting a deadline of Dec. 21 for public comments, the EBRD has put out a four-page issues paper as the first step in a three-stage process. The issues paper makes no suggestions for changes, but invites comment regarding the […]

  • 8 November 2007

    European Ombudsman Finds Maladministration by European Commission for Failure to Produce Annual Report

    Acting on a complaint brought by the European watchdog group Statewatch, the European Ombudsman this week found maladministration by the European Commission for its failure to produce an annual report of access to documents for 2005.  The Commission had claimed that inadequate staff and other obligations made it impossible to comply with the legal obligation […]

  • 7 November 2007

    Council of Europe Committee Puts off Decision on Draft Access to Information Convention, Permits More Time for Input

    The Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Human Rights (CDDH) met today in Strasbourg to consider the draft text of a European Convention on Access to Official Documents.  Under pressure from non-governmental organizations and state representatives who have criticized the draft, the CDDH decided to put off a decision on the draft Convention to provide […]

  • 5 October 2007

    EBRD Praised for Disclosing E-Mail Contacts

    Transparency advocates have praised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for disclosing the e-mail addresses of the EBRD Board of Directors through a dedicated Web page. “We also welcome the commitment in the EBRD’s May 2006 Public Information Policy (PIP) to release minutes of Board meetings.” The letter continued, noting that the minutes “do […]

  • 5 October 2007

    EBRD Preparing to Issue Discussion Paper on Disclosure

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is very close to putting out a "discussion paper" as a first step in a review of its Public Information Policy (PIP) and inviting public comments, according to an EBRD official. The information policy review is being done in parallel with an ongoing review of the EBRD’s environmental […]

  • 20 September 2007

    Volcker Report Urges More Transparency at World Bank

    The new “Volcker Report,” critiquing the World Bank’s internal investigations unit, makes several recommendations in favor of greater transparency. The report was commissioned to review the work of the Bank’s anti-corruption unit, the Department of Institutional Integrity (INT)-headed by Suzanne Rich Folsom, an appointee of former Bank President Paul Wolfowitz. The panel was chaired by […]

  • 28 August 2007

    World Bank Issues Implementation Plan for Anticorruption Strategy

    The World Bank has released its long-awaited “implementation plan” for its governance and anticorruption strategy, a document much shorter and less specific that the guiding Bank “strategy” set in March. There are some new revelations, however. The implementation plan issued Aug. 21 for the first time reveals a budget, $14.8 million for fiscal 2008. And […]

  • 6 August 2007

    U.S. Congress Passes Freedom of Information Act Reform Bill

    The United States Senate Friday joined the House of Representatives in passing bipartisan legislation that will fix several of the most glaring problems with the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. The OPEN Government Act of 2007, authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), overcame a hold placed by Senator Jon Kyl (R-Az) […]

  • 20 June 2007

    In First Year, Germany’s Federal Agencies Struggle to Adapt to FOIA: But Requesters Off to Slow Start as Well

    By Thoralf Schwanitz According to the first statistics published by the German Freedom of Information Commissioner, the federal administration is still struggling to adapt to the new openness required by Germany’s Freedom of Information Act, which entered into force on January 1, 2006. The new data also show that usage of the new law has […]

  • 21 May 2007

    International FOI Advocates Protest Draft Amendments that would Weaken Bulgarian Public Information Act

    Today, members the International Freedom of Information Advocates Network sent a letter to the Bulgarian National Assembly opposing draft amendments to the Bulgarian access to information law accepted by the Assembly earlier this month. Sixty-eight organizations and individuals from 37 different countries joined the letter of protest, arguing that the proposed amendments would significantly weaken […]

  • 21 May 2007

    ADB Assesses Positives and Negatives of New Disclosure Policy

    In a detailed report on the first year of its revised disclosure policy, the Asian Development Bank says the rollout has gone pretty well, despite a few gaps concerning project-related information. One weakness concerned a primary source of information about projects under consideration. The Project Information Documents (PIDs) for proposed private sector projects are supposed […]

  • 9 May 2007

    China Adopts First Nationwide Open Government Information Regulations

    By Jamie P. Horsley The Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Open Government Information (OGI Regulations) published on April 24, 2007, and effective one year later on May 1, 2008, mark a turning point away from the deeply ingrained culture of government secrecy toward making Chinese government operations and information more transparent. (Note […]

  • 19 April 2007

    European Commission proposes reforms, seeks public input on greater access to EU documents

    The European Commission yesterday published a Green Paper and launched a new public consultation process to reform existing rules on public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission records. This action represents an important step in the European Transparency Initiative, launched in November 2005 with the goal of a “‘high level of transparency’ to ensure […]

  • 19 April 2007

    African Development Bank Behind on Disclosure Policy Review

    The African Development Bank is a year behind in conducting a review of its disclosure policy, and on writing a staff handbook on disclosure policy. According to the AfDB policy approved in March 2004, the Tunis-based Bank was to assess its policy after two years. The policy states, "Two years after the effectiveness of this […]

  • 19 April 2007

    IDB, Norway Launch $4.9 Million Transparency Fund

    The Inter-American Development Bank has received $4.9 million from the government of Norway to conduct projects concerning transparency and anticorruption efforts. According to a Feb. 26 memorandum of understanding, the IDB will establish a new trust fund, the Anticorruption Activities Fund, "to strengthen IDB member countries’ institutional capacity in order to improve overall governance as […]

  • 19 April 2007

    IDB Working Toward Disclosure Policy Review This Year

    The Inter-American Development Bank is moving toward the start of a review of its disclosure policy, according to officials at the institution. First, a paper is being drafted by the Office of External Relations about issues and potential remedies. That paper is scheduled for completion by mid-May, at which point it will go to senior […]

  • 12 April 2007

    World Bank Hires Washington Law Firm to Probe Leaks

    Almost 10 weeks after announcing plans to investigate leaks of internal documents to Fox News, the World Bank has hired a Washington, D.C., law firm to conduct the probe, according to an announcement made internally April 9. The firm of Williams & Connolly has been selected to examine not only the first leak, of board […]

  • 1 April 2007

    EBRD Makes Modest Changes to Assist Requesters

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has modified some portions of its disclosure policy, largely making procedural changes that may make it easier to make requests for information. However, the Bank did not adopt a handful of other recommendations from civil society commenters, such as CEE Bankwatch and the Global Transparency Initiative. The changes […]