Civil society organisations from the region have published a document in which the Bank is demanded to adopt a Freedom of Information Policy.
The seminar was an evening of encounters, which included a panel of three speakers, specialized in the issue. Firstly, Adriana Spila, Journalist and Director of the Ñu Porá newspaper, Ex-president of the Commission on Gender and Human Rights of the Provincial Council of Women, President of the Center for In line with the work done to achieve transparency in the activities of the BNDES, a Spanish-language document has recently been published by FUNDEPS in collaboration with a group of organisations and networks from different Latin American countries, entitled Directives for the Debate: Implementation of a Freedom of Information Policy for the National Bank for Economic and Social Development of Brazil (BNDES).
This publication was presented in November 2013 at an international civil society forum on transparency in the BNDES which took place in the city of Brasilia. The investigation was carried out with the objective of acting as a building block for future advocacy and joint work between Latin American civil society and the Bank, at a time when the Institution has started to make incipient but promising steps with regard to transparency and social participation.
The document is divided into two sections: The first one presents the arguments (and possible benefits) as to why it’s necessary for the Bank to adopt a specific Freedom of Information Policy, and it offers a series of explanations for the reasons that it often uses to restrict the flow of information, such as Bank Secrecy and State Sovereignty, for example. The second section contains a specific Freedom of Information Policy Model for the Bank, establishing principles, guarantees and mechanisms to ensure transparency in the Institution.
Juan Carballo, Executive Director of FUNDEPS, stressed the importance of this type of document and stated that, “the adoption of a Freedom of Information Policy with the characteristics reflected in this publication constitutes a necessary and fundamental requirement, not only to guarantee that the BNDES provides thorough information in due time and manner regarding the projects that it finances in the region, but also so that it adopts a robust and effective programme of social and environmental safeguarding. Complaints are currently being raised about many of the projects that the Bank is involved in, due to its heavy impacts, both socially and environmentally. Once that’s in place, it’s necessary to ensure that these projects can effectively promote development and that they do so within a transparent framework”.
The publication comes as the result of work carried out collectively by the following organisations: Environment and Society Association – AAS (Colombia); Centre for Economic and Social Rights – CDES (Ecuador); Centre for the Study of Industrial and Agricultural Development – CEDLA (Bolivia); Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia – CIDOB (Bolivia); Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin – COICA (pan-regional); Rights, Environment and Natural Resources – DAR (Peru); Citizen Forum for Justice and Human Rights – FOCO (Argentina); Forum Solidaridad Peru (Peru); Environment and Natural Resources Foundation – FARN (Argentina); FUNDAR Centre for Analysis and Investigation (Mexico); Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies – FUNDEPS (Argentina); Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses – IBASE (Brazil); Institute of Socio-Economic Studies – INESC (Brazil); and The Amazonian Legal Network – RAMA (pan-regional).
Gonzalo Roza – Coordinator for the Global Governance Programme
Translated by: Thomas McGuinn