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March 2019

Implementation of the Inter-American Program on Access to Public Information moves ahead

Implementation of the Inter-American Program on Access to Public Information moves ahead

The OAS Permanent Council’s Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) this past March 14 held a meeting where member states submitted their annual reports on progress and best practices in implementing the Inter-American Program on Access to Public Information, which the General Assembly had approved in 2016.

At that meeting, the Director of the OAS Secretariat for Legal Affairs Department of International Law (DIL) reported on the work his area had done to fulfill its mandate to coordinate the efforts made by all the relevant actors towards fully implementing the Program.  

His report outlines activities carried out to support countries in their efforts to develop or strengthen domestic laws on access to public information – the case of Honduras in 2018 for instance – and steps taken to update the Inter-American Model Law adopted in 2010.

Mention was also made of the informal meeting held in the morning – taking advantage of the fact that several of the Inter-American Program’s focal points were attending the CAJP meeting – to collectively move forward in implementing the Program and to explore opportunities for cooperation.  The focal points for Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, and Honduras took part in that meeting.

The CAJP meeting noted the reports presented by the various delegations and the informal meeting organized by the DDI, where a number of recommendations were made – particularly the one to consider at another time the possibility of states reporting gradually, by specific Program areas, and DIL was requested to submit a proposal with progress indicators to facilitate preparation of those reports.  The member states were also encouraged to take advantage of DIL’s willingness to continue supporting efforts, by regional countries that so request, to implement domestic laws to ensure due access to public information.  The Department was urged to continue raising awareness about the inter-American legal framework content on access to public information by organizing training programs for officials from national access to information bodies and justice system personnel.

Lastly, the CAJP noted the efforts DIL had been pursuing in terms of extensive consultations to identify thematic areas in which it was felt that the 2010 Model Law needed updating. The Committee also urged the Department to press ahead with that effort and as soon as possible to present the Inter-American Juridical Committee (CJI) with the findings for consideration, with a view to being able to have a new legal instrument as the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Inter-American Model Law on Access to Public Information is commemorated – that is, in 2020.

The reports submitted by the member states during the CAJP meeting, as well as the meeting report, will be published on the DIL’s website in due course.

For further information on this matter, please contact the Department of International Law of the Secretariat for Legal Affairs of the OAS +1 202 370 0743.. 

» Photo Gallery of the Presentation

» Video of the Presentation of the Department of International Law (DDI)

» Additional information about Equal Access to Public Information work can be seen on this link

» For additional information about the Department, please visit our Website


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