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06.02.2010 Business & Finance

Ghana to host conference on Right of Access to Information

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Ghana to host conference on Right of Access to Information

February 05, 2010
Accra, Feb. 5, GNA - A three-day African Regional Conference on the Right of Access to Information opens at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra this Sunday.

Organised by the Carter Centre and other African partners, the conference is to advance the right of access to information on the continent.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, Vice-President John Mahama, Attorney General Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu and Mr Sanjay Pradhan, Vice President of the World Bank Institute would be leading speakers at the conference, according to an official statement issued in Accra on Friday.

It said participants would be drawn from governments, regional and international institutions, civil society, media and the private sector from at least 15 focus countries on the continent.

In-depth discussions will be held on the four main objectives of the conference - Identify and explore challenges and potential solutions specific to Africa; Bring together stakeholders to enhance a regional community of practice; Encourage multi-stakeholder national clusters to advance the right of access to information; Create and disseminate regional findings and a plan of action.

The statement said the first day of the conference would be chaired by former President Carter and would reflect on the state of the right to information in Africa.

In addition, plenary panels will focus on questions such as "Does transparency matter?" and "If so, why have African countries not advanced further?"

These panels will spotlight the value of transparency for managing oil revenues, addressing climate change, and improving development, as well as providing seeds for discussion on political commitment, institutional capacity, and civil society engagement.

The statement said the plenary sessions would serve to inform the discussions that will take place during the remainder of the conference.

The second day, it said, would be dedicated to group work, with the participants strategically placed into one of five multi-stakeholder groups to explore topics such as politics and economy: shifting the balance toward openness; structural context and culture: creating an environment for transparency; non-state and multi-lateral actors: examining roles and responsibilities; regional norm-building: considering regional instruments and standards and demand and use of new technology: engaging citizens and increasing awareness

"These working groups will examine the challenges to the passage and implementation of the law, constraints, and next generation issues, as well as engage the issue of impact-topics that without our consideration could undermine past advances or retard future gains in the right to information."

It said each of the working groups would be led by a well-known facilitator with expert rapporteurs, and would be tasked with creating a set of findings and recommendations for the action plan.


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