Centre for Law and Democracy
Centre for Law and Democracy

TAP Storytelling

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TAP Storytelling11: CLD worked with TAP in May 2021 to publish a guest blog about methodology for assessing Right to Information (SDG 16.10.2) in Canada.
Read it on our TAP Blog Platform or at https://tapnetwork2030.org/tap-storytelling-guest-blog-by-centre-for-law-and-democracy/.

  • Contact
  • Work & Expertise
  • Current Commitment
  • Past Commitment
  • Resource

Basic Information

Organization Name:
Centre for Law and Democracy
Organization Regions:
  • Global
  • Organization Country Location:
    Canada
  • Organization City/Locality:
    Halifax
Operating Languages:
  • English
  • French
Organization mission and work description:

The Centre for Law and Democracy works to promote, protect and develop those human rights which serve as the foundation for or underpin democracy, including the rights to freedom of expression, to vote and participate in governance, to access information and to freedom of assembly and association.

Organization's Contacts

  • Primary Contact Name:
    Toby Mendel
  • Primary Contact Title:
    Executive Director
Additional Contacts Names:
  • Additional representative #1:
    JY Hoh
  • Additional representative #2:
  • Additional representative #3:
  • Additional representative #4:

OUR INTERNATIONAL COALITION IS MADE UP OF MORE THAN 400 CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS

Learn about TAP Members & Partners

WHO ARE TAP'S MEMBERS?

Organization's Work & Expertise

Organization's SGD16 Expertise:
  • 16.6 - Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
  • 16.7 - Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels
Organization's Areas of Expertise:
  • Global/UN Engagement & Advocacy
  • Accountability for the 2030 Agenda
  • Policy Analysis & Advocacy
  • Spotlight Reporting
  • SDG Data and Indicators
  • Public mobilization & Campaigns
  • HLPF and UN Development System Reform
  • Capacity building/CSO training & education

Current Commitment to SDG16+

Summary of commitment:

We will continue to promote the adoption and implementation of laws giving individuals a right to access information held by public authorities (right to information laws) and to use the SDG process to promote that. For purposes of the SDGs, our main focus will be on methodologies to assess implementation (we already have the RTI Rating (www.RTI-Rating.org) to assess adoption of these laws. And we will continue to engage through multiple SDG processes and forums on this.

Organization's priorities and work in relation to commitment:

We will continue to assess the adoption and implementation of RTI laws. With respect to adoption, our main tool will be the RTI Rating methodology (www.RTI-Rating.org), which assesses the strength of the legal framework for RTI (i.e. the adopting part of this Indicator.) We are working on uploading a rating of the last RTI law (San Marino) that has yet to be rated by us. We will continue to assess new RTI laws as they emerge. We also assist with improving existing RTI laws through amendments. For example, we are working closely with civil society partners in Puerto Rico in their campaign to improve their RTI law; the Puerto Rican parliament had agreed to amend their RTI law on the basis of a CLD Analysis. We will continue to apply and refine the three methodologies (UNESCO, to the extent possible, FOIAnet and the RTI Evaluation) for assessing implementation of RTI laws, the second part of the Indicator. UNESCO has recently circulated an update of their survey methodology, and we will review and provide input on that methodology, although our initial analysis of it found it to be sadly lacking. We applied the FOIAnet methodology to Canada’s federal RTI law in early 2020, in late 2020 to assess RTI implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in early 2021. Currently, we are working on releasing the reports that detail our findings from those applications. Moving forward, we will continue to widely promote the use of the FOIAnet methodology and work with other stakeholders to support their application of the methodology. With respect to the RTI Evaluation methodology, we are already providing some pro-bono outreach support to apply the Methodology, for example in the Philippines and Afghanistan, and we have strong expressions of interest in it from others, such as Tunisia, Argentina, Indonesia, Pakistan (federally), Kenya, Vietnam and Mexico. We will continue this work on all three methodologies going forward.

Organization's work related to TAP network's SGD16+ work & accountability for 2030 Agenda:

Our work specifically contributes to the TAP Network’s 2030 Agenda in several ways. For example, one of the TAP Network’s goals is to strengthen civil society reporting on the SDGs and the SDGs 16+ through spotlight reporting. We independently produce spotlight reports, but our leadership role in the development of the various methodologies for assessing implementation also means that we contribute the tools and expertise to assist other civil society actors to conduct their own spotlight reporting. Furthermore, our extensive capacity-building work with local partners around the world is on all fours with TAP’s goals of SDG localization and capacity building. For example, we are currently working together with international partners to create the materials for and conduct an RTI training for African civil society representatives. As we continue to progress in such and similar projects that advance the SDGs and SDG 16+, we will identify opportunities for sharing engagement or collaboration opportunities through TAP’s Advocacy Working Group, of which we are members.

Plan on engaging in TAP's work as a Partner:
  • Thematic Working Groups
  • Substantive contribution to any TAP Network resources or advocacy materials
  • Exploring partnerships with like-minded organizations
  • Global engagement via the UN and other opportunities
  • TAP Network joint global advocacy

A COLLABORATIVE CAMPAIGN TO BRING THE WORK OF CIVIL SOCIETY ON SDG16+ TO THE 2019 HLPF.

Voices of SDG 16+: Stories of Global Action

Reports on Organization's Past Commitments

Our main focus on the SDGs is to promote accountability around Indicator 16.10.2, namely the adopting and implementation of access to information (or right to information, RTI) laws. We have worked extensively on both legs of this Indicator, namely the adoption and then implementation of RTI laws. For the first, leg, namely adoption of RTI laws, we run the RTI Rating website (www.RTI-Rating.org), which assesses the strength of the legal framework for RTI (i.e. the adopting part of this Indicator). This is a sophisticated methodology designed around 61 separate indicators which assesses the strength of the legal framework for RTI. We progressively apply it to each country that has an RTI law (now 128 of the 129 countries with such laws are on the RTI Rating and we are working on uploading the remaining one, San Marino). We have worked closely with different actors – UNESCO, FOIAnet (leading civil society network on this issue) and GIZ – to develop and apply three methodologies for assessing implementation of RTI laws, the second part of the Indicator. We worked closely with UNESCO to develop their methodology for assessing implementation, which is run by States (available at: https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000366967). In 2019, we worked with UNESCO to apply this methodology in 43 of the 51 VNR countries and then produced a detailed report on the results, which UNESCO presented at the 2019 HLPF. Since that time, however, UNESCO has seriously diluted its methodology. Within FOIAnet, we have played a leading role in developing both their original methodology in 2017 and the updated version in 2018 (both available at: http://foiadvocates.net/?page_id=11036). This methodology is designed to be implemented by civil society organisations. We applied this methodology in Canada in 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021, and worked with a range of other stakeholders to support their application of the methodology and to prepare a spotlight report on the results in 2019, which we shared widely, including through the TAP Network. We have also developed a much more sophisticated methodology (known as the RTI Evaluation, www.RTI-Evaluation.org) for assessing RTI law implementation, which is designed to be implemented collaboratively by both State actors and civil society. This was piloted in Pakistan and has and is being applied in a number of different countries. We will continue this work on the methodologies going forward.