Tag Archive for: Access to Information

Last Thursday, November 17, we held a meeting on the current management of food programs for school canteens in the provinces of Mendoza, Córdoba, Salta, Tucumán, and Buenos Aires. Special emphasis was placed on food purchasing systems and on the need to guarantee the effective application of Law No. 27,642 on the Promotion of Healthy Eating (PAS) within the framework of school assistance programs in each of these provinces. The event was organized by Fundeps, Nuestra Mendoza, Andhes, Salta Transparente, the Center for the Implementation of Constitutional Rights (CIDC) and also had the support of SANAR.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

In addition to representatives of the aforementioned civil society organizations, the following participated in the meeting: Claudia Oliva and Victoria Lo Valvo, General Director of the Comprehensive Assistance Program of Córdoba (P.A.I.Cor) and Director of Legal Affairs of the General Directorate of Purchases of Córdoba ; Franco Pullido and Gabriel Sciola, Director of School Feeding of Mendoza and Undersecretary of Administration of the General Directorate of Schools of Mendoza and Matías Molina, General Director of Monitoring of Procurement of Goods and Services of the province of Salta.

At first, through a participatory dynamic, the different representations and social images linked to chronic non-communicable diseases and, specifically, malnutrition due to excess and the commonly known “law of labeling” were addressed. Then the different components of said law were described and, finally, the provisions related to public purchases for school canteens were studied in depth.

It was highlighted that, when dealing with purchases for educational establishments, they should guarantee that products with black seals did not enter the schools, whether they were already packaged products or the ingredients used to prepare the food. This, given that products with at least one seal or precautionary legend cannot be offered, marketed, promoted, advertised or sponsored within schools, by virtue of article 12 of the PAS law.

In a second moment, the floor was given to each of the leading people from the provinces, authorities in the event that they were present or from NGOs, so that they could comment on how the management of the food programs was in each one of them, how Food purchases were decided, with what nutritional criteria, if this information was accessible to the public, all with the aim of identifying some common points and windows of opportunities for the effective application of the PAS law.

By way of conclusion, each attendee identified opportunities, challenges and possibilities for articulation between civil society and the State agencies involved.

 

Authors

Maria Victoria Sibilla

Maga Merlo

Contact

Maria Victoria Sibilla, ninasibilla@fundeps.org

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced in August the opening of the public consultation process to receive input on the proposal for the new Access to Information Policy (PAI). This process will last 150 days and will include asynchronous queries and direct exchanges.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

The Inter-American Development Bank is one of the main multilateral institutions that finances projects in a large part of the Latin American countries. In the IDB’s field of work, transparency and integrity are essential. It is in this area where reforms are promoted that seek to improve the quality of regulations and institutions, as well as expand access to information.

In this sense, the IDB announced a new Access to Information Policy Proposal, which will replace the Bank’s current Access to Information Policy, in force since 2011. It is around this new draft that the public consultation is carried out. , which was launched on August 29 of the current year and will last 150 days.
The objective of the public consultation lies in the possibility of receiving, either in written or verbal form, opinions and inputs from those parties that want to contribute to enriching the quality of the document and the organization’s understanding of the perspectives and perceptions of the various civil society actors regarding access to information on Bank activities in the region.

The period of time stipulated by the procedure is divided into three phases. Initially, in September, three virtual synchronous dialogues were established (in English, Spanish and Portuguese), which will allow the Bank to collect opinions and identify new references that can enrich the new PAI. As of October, the second part of the procedure began, we are talking about the asynchronous consultation phase, which will be available for a period of 90 days, where the final version of the new PAI document will be strengthened. Face-to-face meetings will also be held in Costa Rica (October 25), Uruguay (November 15) and in a Caribbean country not yet defined (November 3). In principle, to participate in the virtual consultation instances, it will be necessary to register in advance on the Virtual Platform for Public Consultation Processes and request access to the consultation. Finally, regarding the third phase, it has a stipulated duration of 30 days throughout the month of March and seeks to inform the participants about the closure of the consultation process and the inputs received and considered, both those that were included as those that were not included in the final version of the policy approved by the Board of Executive Directors.

Since one of our main pillars of work is based on transparency, we have sent a letter, along with other regional civil society organizations, detailing our concerns and recommendations to strengthen and improve the consultation process. They are structured in seven main pillars, among which we can mention: update and organize the information regarding the consultation process in a single place on the IDB website to ensure that all interested parties and affected communities are effectively informed ; incorporate a 30-day public period to submit comments and recommendations to a second draft of the IAP; proactively solicit input from stakeholders to facilitate their participation in consultation processes, so that civil society has the opportunity to shape the debate; eliminate the barriers that exist in the consultation plan to guarantee effective participation, barriers that revolve around, above all, the electronic platform, which is a condition to be able to participate in this instance; confirm and disseminate in advance the calendar with the dates and places of the face-to-face consultations planned for the second phase; open a public comment instance for the implementation guidelines of the future PAI; and, finally, meeting with civil society at the Annual Meeting of the IDB Group in Panama 2023.

In this way, we hope to be able to collaborate with the IDB’s management to ensure that the consultation process is truly fruitful and participatory and that it enables the Bank’s new Access to Information Policy to be strengthened and perfected.

To access the draft of the new policy that is being submitted for public consultation, click here. Comments and suggestions on the draft can be sent to the following email: consultapai@iadb.org

More information:

Author
Valentina Raso

Contact
Gonzalo Roza – gon.roza@fundeps.org

Within the framework of the current review process of the IDB Access to Information Policy, Fundeps, the Environment and Natural Resources Foundation (FARN) and the CAUCE Foundation: Environmental Culture – Ecological Cause held, on September 29, the webinar “Review of the IDB Access to Information Policy. An opportunity to improve the transparency of the Bank”. The event discussed the shortcomings of the current policy under review, the difficulties in its implementation and the priorities regarding the ongoing public consultation process.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

The Access to Information Policy (PAI) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has become outdated. It dates from 2010 and its entry into force is dated 2011. So far it has not been modified, despite the fact that the current context is far from the rights acquired by people from the regulatory advances in terms of citizen participation and access to information and justice. At the end of 2019, the IDB began a review process of its Access to Information Policy that was suspended months later and has recently been reactivated.

In this context, it is necessary to underline that the right to information is a fundamental human right, as a necessary condition for people, communities and organizations to be informed and actively participate in decision-making processes, as well as being a pillar of transparency and accountability.

Based on the above, the webinar was structured in 3 main moments: to begin, the report “Flaws in the Inter-American Development Bank’s Access to Information Policy” was presented, prepared jointly by the 3 organizations mentioned above, which Its objective is to analyze the normative aspects contained in the current PAI and the difficulties in its implementation, the review process initiated and the intended policy profile. Likewise, its shortcomings and recommendations for strengthening the PAI were identified, with the ultimate goal of effectively guaranteeing the right of access to information. Second, the current status of the PAI review process was emphasized. Finally, from the Chilean organization Sustentarse, they commented on experiences and practical cases in Latin America in which it is possible to perceive the shortcomings that the IDB still has in terms of access to information. The webinar ended with questions and reflections from the people who spoke and attended the event.

To view the recorded webinar, click here

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Author

Camila Victoria Bocco

Contact

Gonzalo Roza, gon.roza@fundeps.org

 

The Comprehensive Gas Infrastructure Program – or the Trunk Gas Pipeline Program – promoted by the government of the Province of Córdoba, came to an end in 2019 with the completion of the works. By 2022, works continue at the municipal level, and the program has already begun its phase of connection to the natural gas network. However, there are still doubts about how citizens will be able to access the service, especially those who are located in vulnerable sectors.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

Access to public information and transparency are constituted as a fundamental human right. People have the right to know what will be planned for their communities and based on this, make informed and pertinent decisions about the development processes that will affect their lives.

In the field of public policies, providing and guaranteeing access to public information is the cornerstone of good governance. Transparency is vital to enable individuals and communities to hold their institutions accountable and to foster trust in government and reduce corruption. Ensuring this right results in the generation of opportunities for citizens to learn, grow and make better decisions for themselves and those around them.

Reference to this is relevant when analyzing public policies and programs that aim to contribute to large-scale development. Such is the case of the Comprehensive Gas Infrastructure Program promoted by the Government of the Province of Córdoba. This series of infrastructure works began in 2015 and ended in 2019, with the purpose of “strengthening the natural gas supply to homes, businesses and industries.” According to the Government, 890 million dollars were invested to deploy 2,801 kilometers of pipes that will give the possibility of connecting to the natural gas network to 972,430 Cordovans without service. However, the planning began long before the year of implementation and under sustained skepticism due to the lack of information and transparency regarding its financing, its potential environmental and social impacts, the number of total beneficiaries, among others.

After the end of the project in 2019, there were still doubts about what the connection process would be like for the localities and how citizens would have effective access to the service. Similarly, there were also infrastructure works to be completed at the municipal level. By July 2021, the Government declared that 75 localities already had access to natural gas after the trunk gas pipeline program. Mention was made of the number of inhabitants who will benefit, without regard to information regarding their location and other data that show whether the gaps in inequality in access have begun to close or may be closed as a result of this work. This is of vital importance since the government also spoke about the Bancor credit network for homes and businesses, which would facilitate the connection and obtaining the service. It remained to be seen how those marginalized and vulnerable groups who will find it difficult to access this benefit will be supported, and who therefore will not have access to natural gas -or will be able to do so in the distant future.

Towards 2022 the doubts regarding the scope of this project for the population of Cordoba have not yet dissipated. According to Cordoba news portals, the connection of companies and businesses to the natural gas network is progressing at a much faster pace than the connection of homes. This discrepancy arises more than anything else because connecting to the network is expensive and involves decision-making at the family level. Even when the conditions have been provided to facilitate access – through credits, and the now confirmed support from the provincial government for vulnerable families – not all people are in equal conditions to quickly decide to join the network. In many cases, the connection also requires the structural adaptation of houses and the purchase of household appliances.
Regarding the latter, access to information and transparency play a fundamental role. In the first place, because if the project had been published and socialized correctly with the populations of the affected localities, the families could have decided to plan in advance the connection to the network. Secondly, the role played by government officials when informing and publishing the documentation regarding a project of this caliber is evidenced. This was left in the hands of the municipal level and its mayors, and in many cases their actions to inform the population were deficient -especially considering that works have also been needed at the municipal level to guarantee the connection-.
The practice of publishing information such as the publication of documents does not mean or result in an informed citizenry. Added to the open data and active transparency initiatives are actions aimed at informing the population, such as public consultations. These spaces work -or should work- as opportunities to socialize information about projects and public policies, obtain feedback from citizens and work on a co-creation process. During the beginning of the work of trunk gas pipelines, a good part of the challenges identified had to do with the lack of public consultations -required by law- and the general misinformation of the people about the possible impacts and benefits of the project.

Towards 2022 there is no accurate information on the works carried out in the localities and the public consultations that have been carried out with neighbors. The existence of these instances play a crucial role in citizen decision-making. Especially in these cases when it is a duty to report on the project, warn of the impacts, clarify the benefits and clarify the alternatives that families would have to access the network gas service.

In this sense, even though the work of the Trunk Gas Pipelines represents a great advance for the Province of Córdoba, and the possibility of closing the inequality gaps in access to natural gas, the serious problems regarding access to public information still stand out, transparency and accountability. A project of this magnitude should have had clear and concise information for the population from the beginning, communication channels with citizens, much more transparent work award processes, etc. The process has not yet finished, and there is an opportunity for the provincial government to make an effort to make transparent what remains to be done.

 

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Author

Agustina Palencia

Contact

Gonzalo Roza, gon.roza@fundeps.org

 

*Photo taken from losprimeros.tv

This report aims to carry out a comprehensive and in-depth approach to the Agua Negra International Tunnel (TIAN) project between Argentina and Chile, including its technical, strategic, political, economic, social and environmental dimensions.

On Friday, June 3, the meeting Current practices and challenges in Active Transparency was held. The cases of Mendoza and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA), organized by the group of NGOs that make up Fundeps, Nuestra Mendoza, the Center for the Implementation of Constitutional Rights, the Legislative Directory, Andhes, Salta Transparent and Acción Colectiva.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

The discussion took place in virtual mode and is the first activity to be carried out within the framework of the Debate Cycle on Transparency 2022, promoted by the group, with the aim of proposing conversations with officials in charge of the transparency agendas of different provinces and localities of the country. The proposal aims to generate an environment conducive to debate and exchange of experiences that contribute to strengthening the practices of active and passive transparency of all public powers and the effective exercise of these rights by citizens.

On this occasion, we spoke with Diego Seoane, Deputy Director of Access to Public Information (AIP) at the Office of Administrative Investigations and Public Ethics of Mendoza, with María Gracia Andía, Head of the guarantor body for Access to Public Information, and with Fernanda Araujo, Information Architecture Manager, both from CABA.

The first part of the meeting was dedicated to the institutional design of each jurisdiction and how they comply with the obligations of active transparency, that is, in what these levels of government must publish ex officio, given that both have laws that oblige them in this regard. . In this sense, Diego Seoane commented that in Mendoza, by Law No. 9070 of 2018, a single enforcement authority was established, which is the Office of Administrative Investigations and Public Ethics. It governs all the powers of the State and has jurisdiction over other laws such as the Public Ethics and Clean File. Within this Office, the Sub-Directorate for Access to Public Information, which is made up of two people, is the enforcement authority in everything related to AIP, it is the body for appealing requests for information and, in turn, has the function of control compliance with the active transparency of all regulated entities. The role of the Sub-Directorate is complemented by that of “Guarantor Officials” in each of the regulated entities, who are in charge of both the obligation to respond to requests for information and the active publication of information that provides Mendoza’s law.

Desde las expositoras de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, consulte que la ley N° 104 de 2016 estableció una estructura de dos niveles, compuesta por Órganos Garantes y Autoridades de Aplicación en cada uno de los poderes de la ciudad (Ejecutivo, Legislativo y Judicial). Las funciones de estas autoridades se complementan, los Órganos Garantes tienen la función general de promover este derecho, generar informes, elaborar convenios, realizar auditorías de oficio y actuar en caso de denuncias por incumplimiento de la ley en el poder del que depende. Por su parte las Autoridades de Aplicación gestionan los pedidos de información pública, cumplen con las obligaciones de transparencia activa, orientan a la ciudadanía en el ejercicio de este derecho, capacitan a los sujetos obligados dentro del poder correspondiente, entre otros. A su vez cuentan con las figuras de Enlaces para el cumplimiento de la transparencia pasiva, y de Referentes Institucionales y Operativos, para las obligaciones de transparencia activa en cada sujeto obligado.

In a second, they consulted on a practical practice of each dependency and the main challenges they noticed in the exercise of their functions. From Mendoza, the systematic monitoring that was done in the passive transparency process was highlighted as a good practice, that is, the requests for information that were made, which directly impacted the improvement of the active transparency process. He cited, for example, that from 130 requests made to the Housing Institute, they dropped to 30 once the information was made available and their website was improved. He also highlighted the fact of having a direct transparency button in each obligated subject and locating there everything that the law stipulates. He stated that this was a great advance because in the early stages, the information was recorded but it was disordered and even redundant. From CABA, the Transparency Portal appeared, which concentrates the active transparency obligations of the city government and the Active Transparency Index, which is a tool created to monitor transparency policies and access information therein. They also shared some experiences of focused transparency, that is, of specific interest for a certain group or group of people, such as a Guide that was prepared with synthesized information for Heads of Single-Parent Families.

In relation to the challenges, from Mendoza, although they affirm that the institutional design given by the law is correct, they consider that with a better organizational structure they could fulfill their functions more efficiently. Then, a challenge shared by both jurisdictions, although each one has different designs and tools, had to do with the constant improvement in the implementation of transparency and access to public information laws. As well as other citizen demands. Emphasis was also placed on improvement in terms of accessibility, clear language, access for people with different abilities, among others.

Finally, and in coincidence with the audience and the civil society organizations organizing the event, the need to make sustained progress on transparency and access to public information by all branches of government, that is, the Legislative Branches, was considered. and Judicial.

Contact

Nina Sibilla, ninasibilla@fundeps.org

The Access to Information Policy (PAI) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has become outdated. At the end of 2019, the IDB began a review process of its PAI that was suspended months later and has not yet been reactivated. In this process, the Bank submitted to the consideration of civil society and other interested parties the intended profile for its new policy, which highlights 22 gaps to be improved in terms of access to information.

The purpose of this document is to analyze the regulatory aspects contained in the current PAI, the review process initiated and suspended, and the intended policy profile. Its shortcomings are identified and analyzed with a critical eye in order to make recommendations for the strengthening of the PAI, with the ultimate goal that it guarantees the right of access to information.

Within the framework of an amparo for default due to the lack of response from the Municipality of Córdoba in a request for public information, the attorney general stressed that “The plaintiff Foundation was forced to go to court to obtain action on the part of the Management.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

On May 2, we obtained an important judicial pronouncement regarding the right of access to public information, in the context of the injunction for default filed due to non-compliance with four requests for information filed in different areas of the Municipality of Córdoba. Before delving into the pronouncement, we recall some basic issues on the subject:

What is considered public information?

It is all types of data contained in documents of any format that are generated, obtained, transformed, controlled or safeguarded by the Public Administration at its different levels and by those subjects who have received public funds.

What does the right of access to public information imply?

It includes the possibility of any person to freely search, access, request, receive, copy, analyze, reprocess, reuse and redistribute public information. This right applies in a broad sense to all information in the possession of public bodies, including all controlled and archived information in any format or medium. It is important to mention that this right has an instrumental nature for the exercise of other rights, especially by those who are in subordinate or vulnerable positions, since it is only through precise knowledge of the content of human rights and their forms and means. of exercise that can be effectively accessed to its full enjoyment and enjoyment.

So anyone can request public information?

Yes, Law 27275 on the Right to Access to Public Information establishes that “Every human or legal person, public or private, has the right to request and receive public information.” In Córdoba there is an important precedent of the Superior Court of Justice that also establishes that “the human right of access to public information must be analyzed from a broad and holistic perspective.” and that “this right corresponds to every person without the need to prove any interest or special legal situation, accepting a broad legitimacy that includes both action in administrative and judicial courts.” The way to access it is through a request for public information.

And what is a public information request?

It is that request that is made in writing or by electronic means and without any formality, of all that information generated, administered or in possession of the organs of the Executive, Legislative, Judicial State, Municipalities and Autonomous, local Political Parties and any organization that engage in public spending.

The only requirement that is imposed is that the request for information must be submitted to the regulated entity that possesses it or is presumed to possess it. It can be done in writing or by electronic means and without any formality, it is only enough to indicate the identity of the requesting person, the clear identification of the information requested and the contact details, in order to send the information or announce that it is available.

All requests for public information must be satisfied within a certain period: in the case of national organizations it is 15 business days, while in the Province and the Municipality of Córdoba it is 10 days. In all cases, the Administration may request extensions, and must justify it.

But what happens in practice?

Our experience with the request for public information at the different levels and state areas is very uneven. While at the national level, and thanks to the mechanisms provided for by Law 27275, requests for information are usually answered in a timely manner, at the provincial and municipal level, in most cases, we do not receive a response within the stipulated period. This lack of response forces us to prosecute requests for information through the filing of injunctions for default.

Given this situation, once the demand is admitted, it is transferred to the Administration so that it can present a report explaining why it is in arrears, that is, why it did not provide the requested information. In most cases, faced with this transfer, the Administration produces the information that had been requested, notifies the petitioner, and then reports it in the file, requesting that the legal case become abstract, because the information has already been delivered. . In this type of case, the court usually resolves in this sense, declaring the cause abstract and imposing the “costs by order”. This means that the Administration should not bear any type of expense when requests for information are prosecuted, even when it is its attitude that forces the petitioners to initiate an amparo proceeding.

A change of criteria in the tax opinion

Through Opinion No. 344 issued on May 2 in the case “Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies C/ Municipalidad de Córdoba – Amparo Ley 8803”, File. No. 10221471, the Public Prosecutor’s Office ruled establishing an important criterion in terms of amparos for default and right of access to public information. In this trial, the Municipality of Córdoba filed an appeal against the Chamber’s ruling, for disagreeing with what was resolved on costs.

The prosecutor understood that “at the discretion of this Public Ministry, there is a winner and a loser by the force of the facts, and in direct relation to the object pursued by the applicant; because however it may be, the Administration complied with the dictation of the administrative act, but outside the term that the law contemplates and due to a judicial process. And therefore, his situation is equal to that of the vanquished.”

In this sense, it affirmed that “The plaintiff Foundation was forced to go to court to obtain action on the part of the Administration. It does not seem fair or reasonable that the claimant should bear the expenses and fees accrued by him for the processing of a case whose origin is negligent conduct on the part of the Administration and the exercise of a constitutional right. It is for this reason that the theft of judiciary matter produced in the proceedings does not imply in any way the displacement of the objective principle of defeat as a criterion for the imposition of costs”.

We welcome the Attorney General’s decision, as it sets an important precedent in terms of the right of access to public information. Thus, the exercise of a constitutional right cannot entail that the applicant bears the costs of a process that would not have existed if the administration had responded within the legal term. It is important to mention that this is not an isolated event, but rather a systematic practice of the Administration that limits access to information to those who have the economic and legal means to demand a response to information requests before the courts.

 

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Author

Noelia Salvia 

Contact

Mayca Balaguer, maycabalaguer@fundeps.org

Last Thursday, May 5, we participated in the first annual review hearing of the 2020-2023 Goal Plan of the city of Córdoba. We focus on the need to improve the exercise of the right of access to public information.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

The Plan of Goals was established in the city of Córdoba in June 2011 and obliges each municipal administration – at the beginning of it – to present the goals that it intends to achieve with its government program, with objectives and indicators of their evolution. . The management of the current Mayor Martín Llaryora established a Plan of 418 goals, framed in 36 objectives, grouped into 5 strategic axes: Modern and innovative municipality, City that provides quality services, Attractive and planned city, Sustainable city and City of opportunities and inclusive.

Every year, and through the Deliberative Council, a Public Hearing must be held where compliance with the Plan of Goals is reported. It is anticipated that the Intendancy must participate in this Hearing as an informant member. This is also an opportunity for civil society organizations, neighborhood centers and citizens in general to make their contributions and comments on the Plan of Goals and its evolution.

Our Participation in the Public Hearing

The hearing took place on Thursday, May 5 from 9 a.m. virtually, through the Zoom platform, and could be followed on the YouTube channel of the City Council. To participate it was necessary to register in advance through a form provided by the Municipality.

One of our first observations had to do with the fact that it was convened with very little notice – 2 days – and, in our opinion, had little diffusion. In our case, we learned about it from the diffusion made by the Red Ciudadana Nuestra Córdoba.

On this occasion we focus our intervention on the need to improve the exercise of the right of access to public information by the Municipality. Although we highlight the efforts undertaken in terms of digitalization and updating of web portals, and specifically in relation to requests for information, we appreciate that the procedure for making them is clearly and simply explained: we request that progress be made in the matter follow-up to requests for public information made and, above all, improve their response rate.

This is a situation contemplated in the Plan of Goals, given that Goal 120 established “Redesign the open government portal to make it simpler and more user-friendly” and it is precisely from the open government portal that requests are made. of public information by citizens – specifically from the section called “Access to Public Information”. That is why we request that this goal not be considered completed, as it appears today in the progress report presented, but that efforts be made to improve in these two aspects. In this sense, we hope that from the Municipality and especially from the dependency in charge, in this case, the Secretariat of Planning, Modernization and International Relations, the remaining time of management and validity of the Plan of Goals will be used to deepen in these improvements.

At Fundeps we remain at your entire disposal to contribute to this end and in this way, collaborate in an effective exercise of the right of access to public information by all citizens, and in a quality open government in the Municipality of Córdoba.

 

More Information

Contact

Nina Sibilla, ninasibilla@fundeps.org. 

 

*Photo from the web portal of the Deliberative Council of Córdoba

Within the framework of the project “Strengthening the capacities of civil society in the exercise of the right to public information through the Escazú Agreement”, we shared the debates and reflections on the effective fulfillment of this right.

During the months of October and November, together with the participation of professionals and specialists in On the matter, three synchronous virtual meetings were held where different points related to access to public environmental information and the tools provided by the Escazú Agreement were addressed. Having finished and culminated the project, thanks to the information provided by the participants, the exchanges and debates that took place, we made a series of reflections and questions about the effective fulfillment and exercise of this right.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

The first of the three workshops featured a lecture by María Laura Foradori, lawyer and specialist in Environmental Education, the second with Ana Di Pangracio, lawyer and Executive Director of Farn, and the third, eminently practical, was directed and accompanied by members from the Fundeps team.

During the meetings, by virtue of the expressions and comments that were given, it was possible to notice a great unsatisfied demand from groups of people and civil society organizations that seek to access information associated with numerous environmental problems. Also, indirectly, there is an escalation in socio-environmental conflict, a growing awareness in relation to the importance of caring for the environment and the need to get involved in its protection.

Those demands, in part, are consolidated from the ignorance of the tools and instruments that allow access to public information in general, and environmental information in particular. On the other hand, they can also originate from disbelief in institutional functioning, based on experiences with a high degree of non-compliance when receiving responses. In addition, the need to resort most of the time to legal claims has repercussions on the will of the citizenry, thereby delegitimizing the institutional design that guarantees access to environmental information.

Faced with this scenario, we believe that it is necessary to make institutional adjustments through public policies that make known and bring the tools for access to environmental information to the public. Likewise, it is imperative that improvements be made to ensure that the State complies with its obligation to provide responses.

To make this possible, we propose a series of recommendations and suggestions to the authorities, including updating the Law on Access to Public Information in the province of Córdoba, the creation of an Agency or Office with competence in the matter, improvements in the information request mechanisms so that they are easy to understand and access for citizens, improvement in the response rate to requests for information that are made, training authorities on access to public information as a human right and the implementation of specialized agencies and entities in environmental matters for the monitoring and inspection of all requests for information.

In turn, it is necessary to adapt the regulations for minimum environmental budgets in terms of access to information to the standards of the Escazú Agreement since this reaffirms and reinforces the rights of people to access and participate in environmental matters, environmental democracy and commits the international responsibility of the Argentine State in the event of any breaches.

Finally, we must also highlight the fundamental role assumed by organized civil society and citizens in the exercise of this right. On the one hand, in continuing to provide tools and get involved in exercising this right responsibly and, at the same time, offering alternative solutions to the authorities so that they guarantee the rights contemplated in the Escazú Agreement.

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Autor

Ananda Lavayén

Contact

Juan Bautista López, juanbautistalopez@fundeps.org

 

In the following guide you will find questions and answers about access to public environmental information and useful information to make requests to the State.