Centre for Law and Democracy

North America, SDG16.10
Canada

About the Centre for Law and Democracy
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.

Commitment Summary
CLD is working on implementation of SDG 16.10. We maintain on a continuous basis the RTI Rating website (www.RTI-Rating.org), which shows the strength of access to information laws, part of Indicator 16.10.2. We are also working to develop a model methodology for States to measure implementation of access to information laws (the other part of Indicator 16.10.2), first in the context of Pakistan (by Sept. 2018) then to be launched globally (by around June 2019). CLD is also actively involved in developing a similar parallel civil society methodology within FOIAnet.

Full Commitment
CLD, in collaboration with Access Info Europe, maintains the RTI Rating website (www.RTI-Rating.org), which it updates on an ongoing basis. The RTI Rating is a globally accepted methodology for assessing the strength of access to information laws. It is relatively easy to assess whether or not a country has such a law, and several organisations maintain essentially similar lists. The RTI Rating goes far beyond this by showing how strong such laws are. If SDG 16.10.2 is to mean anything, it will surely need to require the adoption of an access law that at least meets certain minimum standards (otherwise, anything could qualify). The RTI Rating will be essential to that assessment.

CLD is also contributing to two projects aimed at filling a gap in our expertise on access to information, namely a comprehensive methodology for assessing implementation of access to information laws. The first part of this is a project we are undertaking currently in Pakistan, where we are working on a reasonably comprehensive model methodology to measure implementation. This is designed to be run by States or others who are in a position to undertake a comprehensive assessment of this sort. The methodology is expected to be completed by around September 2018. It will then be piloted in one or two jurisdictions in Pakistan (likely Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab) and then revised to take into account those experiences. We then expect to launch it globally as part of the High Level Policy Forum (HLPF) review of Goal 16 in 2019.

CLD is also actively involved in developing a parallel civil society methodology for assessing implementation of access to information laws, as part of its engagement within the Freedom of Information Advocates Network (FOIAnet). This is a much simpler methodology, designed to be somewhat flexibly applied by civil society organisations with greater or less resources. An initial methodology has already been piloted in a few countries and we are currently revising the methodology. A revised version is expected to be ready by September 2018, and we will then ask FOIAnet members to apply the methodology over the following months, with a special focus on those countries that are part of the HLPF Goal 16 national voluntary reviews. We will then prepare a report on the results, again to feed into the HLPF review of Goal 16 in 2019.

The CLD Executive Director is also moderating a panel on this methodology, in collaboration with UNESCO (the UN body responsible for this Indicator) at the Open Government Partnership Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia, in July 2018.