By Seipati Ndlovu

What is IDUAI?

IDUAI is short for International Day for Universal Access to Information. This day celebrates the public’s right to enquire, acquire and pass on information. This right is intertwined with the right to freedom of expression and the freedom of the press. IDUAI was officially announced in 2015 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Conference. The United Nations (UN) 74th General Assembly announced that IDUAI is to be celebrated on the 28th of September.

International days

According to the UN, “international days are proposed to the UN General Assembly by Member States”.  These days are vital as they are directed at sharing important information with the public, like matters that may cause people to worry, and to deploy political will and resources to deal with global difficulties.

Aims of IDUAI

  • The 2020 IDUAI will focus on the right to access to information in difficult times.
  • This will be in favour of accessing constitutional, statutory or policy formal assurances for public gained information with the aim of saving lives.
  • This day is also aimed at building public trust and assisting in formulating sustainable policies during the COVID-19 crisis, and after it.
  • The theme for the 2019 IDUAI was ‘Leaving No One Behind!

UNESCO, along with The International Programme for Development of Communication, and the Information for All Programmes are looking to integrate stakeholder participation in discussions on an international level. These discussions will be on policy and guidelines revolving around access to information.

Furthermore, both these programmes are what warrant a positive constructive platform for Access To Information (ATI) to thrive through the expansion of projects directed at building up the following: “open science, multilingualism, Information Communication Technology (ICTs) for disabled and marginalized, and media and information literacy”.

IDUAI Launch and Themes

UNESCO will host an online high-level panel on the 28th of September 2020 at 02:00 pm Central European Summer Time (CEST). Access to information, saving lives, building trust and bringing hope will be focused on.

Take note of the following online events:

  • Measuring Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 16.10.2  – 29 September 2020 – 3:00 pm
  • Implementation of Laws – 29 September 2020 – 4:30 pm
  • Infodemic and Youth – 30 September 2020 – 3:00 pm
  • Open Access – 30 September 2020 – 4:30 pm 

Sources used in this blog:

https://www.un.org/en/sections/observances/why-do-we-mark-international-days/

https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/accesstoinformationday

 

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