The conference will focus on the impact of proactive disclosure of information on health, education and inclusive and gender-sensitive initiatives. The key modalities of the online conference is to promote priority areas in policy dialogues, and it is within IFAP’s mandate to influence policy by advocating the six priority areas of IFAP in light of Covid-19 and its implications across all sectors of society. Hence, this event brings together subject matter specialists on the following IFAP Objectives and related themes. By connecting access to Information in Times of Crisis to the IFAP priority areas, the conference aims to bring about policy recommendations and good practices that can be put in place to advance public access to information whilst saving lives and building trust in the context of IDUAI 2020 through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) works to build inclusive knowledge societies. IFAP supports member states to develop policies that ensure citizens’ access digital technologies including access to content on a free, open and secure internet that is in line with UNESCO’s ROAM principles.
The increasing reliance on digital technologies during the time of the COVID 19 pandemic has called the world’s attention to the impact of digital divides on the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
IFAP therefore is drawing on its global network to convene this meeting to examine the implications of the global emergency within the framework of its existing priority areas. These are: information accessibility, information preservation, media and information literacy, information ethics, information for development and multilingualism in cyberspace.
This conference is part of the preparatory activities for the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) which will be celebrated on 28 September, 2020. IDUAI 2020 will focus on the right to information in times of crisis and on the advantages of having constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information to save lives, build trust and help the formulation of sustainable policies through and beyond the COVID-19 crisis.
IFAP provides a platform for all stakeholders to participate in international discussions on policy and guidelines in the area of access to information. (https://en.unesco.org/programme/ifap).
The lead partners for this meeting, notably the India Centre for Information Ethics at the University of Hyderabad India; the Russian National IFAP Committee, Interregional Library Cooperation Centre (Russian Federation); the African Centre for Information Ethics at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and the UNESCO Chair on Language Policies for Multilingualism, University of Santa Catarina (Brazil) have made substantive contributions to the work of IFAP including supporting the formulation of key declarations such as the Khanty-Mansiysk Declaration, 2019 (http://www.ifapcom.ru/en), and the Cape Town Declaration, 2018 (https://www.up.ac.za/media/shared/609/ZP_Files/Conferences/cape-town-declaration_final.zp163374.pdf).
Adopting the IFAP inter-disciplinary and cross-sectoral framework, the conference aims to promote inclusive dialogue around IFAP’s six priority areas and questions relating to access to information in crisis situations. New research findings, key policy issues and interventions will address gaps and promote sharing of best practice. The policy dialogue should yield recommendations that will feed into IDUAI 2020.
 R-Rights Based O-Open A-Accessible M-Multistakeholder
 Recognizing the significance of access to information, the 74th UN General Assembly proclaimed 28 September as the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) in October 2019. The day had been proclaimed by the UNESCO General Conference in 2015. (https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/accesstoinformationday; https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/cn_iduai_2020.pdf).
Milindee Jeewandara (firstname.lastname@example.org)