IFTI Watch

  • 21 December 2016

    58 Organizations Urge UNESCO To Consult on Public Disclosure Policy

    58 organizations concerned about transparency have urged UNESCO to hold consultations on developing a disclosure policy and to release a draft policy. UNESCO has been working on a policy for some months, but planned to adopt it as a pilot plan and to re-evaluate it at a later time, according to agency sources. (See FreedomInfo.org […]

  • 15 December 2016

    World Bank Assesses Access As Part of Open Data Studies

    By Toby McIntosh The World Bank evaluates national access to information (ATI) regimes as one of many factors to indicate whether governments are prepared for an open data initiative, according to a Freedominfo.org review. The scoring system for ATI is generous, but some of the assessments are quite critical. ATI is just one of many […]

  • 6 December 2016

    AIIB Disclosure Policy Called Deficient by Two Groups

    The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) “is lagging behind other international financial institutions when it comes to information disclosure,” according to an analysis by the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD) and the Bank Information Center (BIC). The jointly prepared comments on the AIIB’s Public Information Interim Policy were sent in preparation for the first […]

  • 6 December 2016

    ADB Announces Review of Public Communications Policy

    The Asian Development Bank is reviewing its Public Communications Policy (PCP). The PCP, which governs ADB’s disclosure of information and transparency practices, was approved by ADB’s Board of Directors in October 2011 and became effective on April 2, 2012. “ADB is particularly interested in hearing feedback from civil society to improve information sharing,” according to […]

  • 23 November 2016

    World Bank May Speed Access to Board Documents

    The World Bank is working to amend its access to information policy to “streamline” responses to requests for Board documents, but is keeping its proposed changes secret. Under the current system, in which the Board itself must act on requests for Board documents, requesters, including FreedomInfo.org, have experienced substantial delays. The time required for Board […]

  • 15 November 2016

    European Investment Bank Needs Transparency, TI Says

    The following summary describes a report prepared by TI EU and published Nov. 15. The European Investment Bank needs greater transparency in its decision-making if the European Union is serious about steering its way out of the euro-crisis, according to Transparency International EU. The EU’s bank, which has higher lending volumes than the World Bank, needs […]

  • 10 October 2016

    World Bank Official Agrees to Meet With ATI Community

    By Toby McIntosh A top World Bank official promised Oct. 7 to meet with representatives of the access to information community early in 2017 to discuss World Bank activities in the ATI area. The Bank remains committed to ATI, with regional and national Bank offices now taking the lead, said Debbie Wetzel, Senior Director of […]

  • 5 October 2016

    Kim Dodges Question About World Bank ATI Capacity

    By Toby McIntosh World Bank President Jim Yong Kim Oct. 5 dodged a question about why the Bank decimated its staff capacity to work on access to information issues. The president sidestepped the inquiry at a public meeting with civil society organization by saying the Bank never had “an access to information unit” and so […]

  • 5 October 2016

    World Bank Board to Decide On Releasing 1971 Document

    The World Bank Board may soon decide whether to release the full transcript of a 1971 meeting. Five pages on an unknown topic were blacked out from the 18-page, 45-year-old document requested by FreedomInfo.org. The transcript is of the 1971 meeting of the Bank Executive Directors. There were about agenda items, including one about an […]

  • 12 September 2016

    World Bank Invites Comment About Governance Report

    The World Bank has requested public comment — by Sept. 16 — on a new version of a controversial report about the role of power imbalances in development policy. The “Green Cover” version of the 2017 World Development Report (WDR), posted Sept. 9 on the Bank website, addresses the general topic of governance. It “seeks […]

  • 11 September 2016

    UN Rapporteur Exploring Access to Info Among IOs

    In an unprecedented “call for submissions,” intended to lay the basis for a major report in 2017, a UN Special Rapporteur has asked all UN bodies and other international intergovernmental organizations about their policies on public access to information. The request came from David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on the protection of the right […]

  • 1 September 2016

    UNESCO Outlines Ways to Measure ATI Implementation

    In preparation for a Sept. 19 “expert” meeting in Indonesia, UNESCO has outlined potential methodologies for measuring the implementation of access to information (ATI) laws (text). Measurement of implementation is necessary as part of the Sustainable Development Goals process. Indicator Goal 16.10.2 states: “Number of countries that adopt and implement constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for […]

  • 1 September 2016

    BRICS Bank Issues Interim Disclosure Policy

    The New Development Bank (NDB) has issued an interim information disclosure policy. The policy (text) appears generally similar to those of other international financial institutions, stating, “The Bank is committed to a policy of information disclosure in order to promote transparency and enhance accountability in its operations.” This commitment is recognized in the Article 15 of the […]

  • 19 August 2016

    World Bank to Consult on Report About Governance

    The World Bank in early September will seek public comment on a major report about the role of power imbalances in development policy. The initial draft of the report, known as the “yellow cover” version, made its way outside the Bank informally in June as it was being reviewed internally. (See previous FreedomInfo.org report.) The […]

  • 12 August 2016

    World Bank VP Blasts Draft Governance Strategy Report

    The World Bank vice president who oversees strategy on governance issues has criticized a draft report recommending that the Bank focus more on unequal national political power as a key inhibitor of development. Jan Walliser expressed “strong reservations” about the report in a four-page memo obtained by FreedomInfo.org. He asks that “the conceptual framework” of the […]

  • 10 August 2016

    UNESCO Drafting Standard For Disclosure of Information

    By Toby McIntosh UNESCO, the agency whose portfolio includes advocating for freedom of information laws internationally, is preparing its own FOI policy, according to a UNESCO official. UNESCO already has some internal rules on what should be confidential, but there is no disclosure policy resembling a national FOI law. “We … have nothing similar to […]

  • 1 August 2016

    Draft World Bank Report Stresses Governance Role

    By Toby McIntosh A draft World Bank report stresses that more attention be paid to national political dynamics and power sources when designing development programs. “Policies can be blocked, captured, or rendered ineffective because their design did not account for asymmetries in bargaining power,” the report emphasizes, calling for more intensified and sophisticated evaluation. The 415-page report, […]

  • 28 July 2016

    NGOs Critically Examining Bank Governance Strategy

    By Toby McIntosh The World Bank’s emerging thinking on governance issues is receiving somewhat critical early reviews from non-governmental organization leaders. Clues about Bank’s potential directions in this area are coming from selectively circulated drafts of the Bank’s World Development Report 2017 (due out later this year). The report’s theme is “rethinking the role of […]

  • 7 July 2016

    World Bank Reducing Support for GPSA Fund

    By Toby McIntosh The World Bank is halving its contribution to the Global Partnership for Social Accountability (GPSA), a multi-donor fund that supports transparency and accountability initiatives, according to new budget figures. The Bank’s cutback has particular significance because a top Bank official recently cited the Bank’s support for the GPSA as evidence of the […]

  • 29 June 2016

    NGOs Seek More Information About World Bank ATI Plans

    The World Bank needs to provide more concrete answers about its stated commitment to access to information, according to the leader of an ad hoc coalition of 130 nongovernmental organizations. The Bank has eliminated the three staff positions of persons who worked on global freedom of information issues, sparking a letter of concern from the […]


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).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
1-(703) 276-7748