Archive for 2008

  • 22 December 2008

    World Bank, Others to Support CSOs with New Funds

    A new “Global Partnership Facility” holds the promise of new resources for civil society groups working on governance and anticorruption issues, including freedom of information and media development. The $65 million four-year initiative being administered by the World Bank is designed to “strengthen governance programs and further the fight against corruption,” according to a Dec. […]

  • 22 December 2008

    World Bank Emphasizes Demand Side in Cambodian Project

    Shifting strategic emphasis, the World Bank is taking a new approach to its work with Cambodia, one that among other things will mean funneling money to civil society organizations in an effort to stimulate demand for better governance. The new direction is known as “demand for good governance” (DFGG) and contrasts fundamentally from the traditional […]

  • 19 December 2008

    Council of Europe adopts weak access to information convention

    Late last month, the Council of Europe adopted a weak Convention on Access to Official Documents that has been the subject of ongoing criticism from civil society and human rights groups as well as government officials, parliamentarians, and information commissioners from across Europe. According to several human rights groups, the final version of the treaty […]

  • 1 December 2008

    International Lenders Permit Georgia to Limit Release

    of Information; Groups Protest Lack of Transparency Transparency was a casualty when international donors gathered recently to consider emergency aid to Georgia. Civil society groups requested disclosure of the primary document to be discussed at the multi-donor conference — the “Joint Needs Assessment.” On the day before the meeting, a summary was released by the […]

  • 31 October 2008

    Constitutional Norms Often Not Reflected in Official Practice or Citizen Attitudes

    First-ever Nationwide Study Asks, “Glass Half-Full or Half-Empty?” St. Petersburg, Russian Federation — The leading access-to-information organization in Russia has published a detailed legal and sociological analysis of the state of access in the Russian Federation, identifying contradictions between the Constitutional right in Article 29 (for every person to “seek, get, transfer, produce and disseminate […]

  • 28 September 2008

    International Right to Know Day 2008: Global Phenomenon Now Includes More Than 80 Countries

    Washington, D.C., September 28, 2008 – Today’s celebration of International Right-to-Know Day marks a new watershed in the global reach of freedom of information laws – now on the books in more than 80 countries – and features celebrations in countries ranging from Mexico to Moldova, according to postings today on the virtual network […]

  • 28 September 2008

    Documenting Access to Information in Latin America: Legal Milestones and Success Stories

    Silvina Acosta – Program Manager, Trust for the Americas Emilene Martínez-Morales – Transparency Programs Coordinator, National Security Archive Washington DC, – The Right to Know made headlines in Latin America during the past year.  Just a few days ago the Guatemalan Congress approved an Access to Information Law. Chile’s Transparency and Access to Information Law […]

  • 24 September 2008

    Bank Report Relates Media and Development

    Broadcasting, Voice, and Accountability: A Public Interest Approach to Policy, Law, and Regulation, a World Bank project, is a multi-author, book-length treatment that examines the relationship of the media to governance and development. The report also explores “the enabling environment for the media,” with special emphasis on “promoting plural and independent broadcasting.” The book is […]

  • 24 September 2008

    IMF Exploration of Governance Could Touch on Transparency

    The International Monetary Fund has launched a high-level examination of its own governance, a topic also probed earlier this year by an internal evaluation unit that recommended many reforms, including greater transparency.  The report by the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) makes a variety of suggestions for greater transparency by the Executive Board, along with […]

  • 24 September 2008

    Accra Agenda Transparency Langauge Called Unspecific

    The IATA announcement came as 1,200 delegates from 120 countries met Sept. 2-4 to complete the “Accra Agenda for Action on Aid Effectiveness.” Many civil society organisations dubbed the communiqué an “agenda for inaction.” Among other things, the groups wanted stronger language on transparency and more comprehensive disclosure of information. Without specifying how it will […]

  • 13 August 2008

    Chile Becomes Latest Latin American Nation to Enact FOIA Law

    Chile has become the latest country in Latin America and the world to promulgate a Freedom of Information Act law. Called the "Ley sobre Transparencia de la Función Pública y Acceso a la Información de los Órganos de la Administración del Estado" (Law on Transparency of Public Functions and Access to Information of the Agencies […]

  • 5 August 2008

    President Carter Disseminates Atlanta Declaration to Advance Right to Information Worldwide

    Last month, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter forwarded the Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action for the Advancement of the Right to Information to all heads of state and leaders of the major international organizations and financial institutions. President Carter urged these leaders to ensure the right of access to information and its implementation and […]

  • 17 July 2008

    NIGERIA: FOI Proposal Now the Oldest Unpassed Bill

    The freedom of information bill brought before the Nigerian National Assembly in 1999 has now become the oldest unpassed legislation still pending before that body, according to the influential newspaper This Day. A July 14, 2008 article by Jude Igbanoi describes the FOI bill as the subject of "unprecedented debate, wrangling and bickering between the […]

  • 17 July 2008

    PAKISTAN: Access to Information Advocates Criticize Proposed Freedom of Information Bill

    The Consumer Rights Commission of Pakistan (CRCP) this week held a consultation on the draft Freedom of Information Bill of 2008, which is likely to soon be tabled for consideration by the legislature. The CRCP, which has been working for to strengthen the freedom of information (FOI) framework in Pakistan since 1998, expressed reservations about […]

  • 17 July 2008

    Annual Report Suggests Gaps in Routine Disclosure

    As its Public Communications Policy nears its third anniversary, the Asian Development Bank is coming up short of its own targets for routinely disclosing information and has frustrated civil society groups by denying several access requests. The ADB’s second report on the policy shows progress toward disclosure goals, but also indicates some gaps.  For example, […]

  • 16 May 2008

    GTI Calls EBRD Transparency Proposal Insufficient

    The Global Transparency Initiative April 8 expressed its “deep disappointment” at the Public Information Policy proposed by the management of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. In a letter to the EBRD Board of Directors, GTI said, “Taken as a whole, we are of the view that the EBRD is completely failing to take […]

  • 16 May 2008

    Canadian Government Reports on IFI Activity Get Good Grade

    The Canadian government’s annual reporting on its activities at international financial institutions is getting better, according to the authors, and to a Canadian civil society group which recently gave the latest report its best grade ever. The Halifax Initiative said the report on 2007 activities merited a B+, up from last year’s rating of B-, […]

  • 4 April 2008

    Council of Europe Ducks Open Government Advocate Calls for Reform

    Strasbourg, France – The most shocking development was the introduction of an exception to exclude Heads of State from the scope of the right to information. This was achieved by extending the optional blanket exception for Royal Households to the heads of state. Civil Society Groups participating in the process expressed their profound disappointment that […]

  • 28 March 2008

    EBRD Issues Proposal on Information Policy With Few Changes

    The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has proposed an only slightly revised Public Information Policy (PIP) and is seeking comments by April 9. The draft policy will also be the subject of a consultation session to be held in conjunction with the EBRD’s review of its Environment and Social Policy. The revamped PIP essentially […]

  • 24 March 2008

    Russia Urges IMF to Disclose Key Governance Proposal

    The major ongoing discussion within the International Monetary Fund about how to revamp its voting structure is nearing completion but without the release of key recommendations by the IMF staff. While such opacity is typical for the IMF, has learned that at least one country, Russia, has recommended that the staff paper be released. […]


In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
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