The Civil Society Organization Platform on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has observed that without a Right to Information regime, Ghana would not be able to achieve its SDGs within the stipulated period.
According to the CSOs Platform, the achievement of these goals, especially goal 16.10.2 is directly linked with the successful implementation of Ghana’s Right to Information Law which is awaiting full implementation from January 2020 after it was passed and assented to by the President by the middle of the year 2019.
The Co-Chairman of the CSOs platform, George Osei Bimpeh, made this known at a day’s consultative workshop organized by the Africa office of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) in Accra on the status of the implementation of the SDGs 16.10.2.
“Without a Right to Information and without access to reliable, timely and usable information, there is no way that Ghana can achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” He said.
In accordance with the SDG goal 16.10, governments are called upon to “ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.”
According to Mr. George Bimpeh, citizens can only benefit from the 3 basic dimensions of the SDGS, namely; the social, economic and environment when a conscious effort is made to make information available to the people freely on a regular and timely manner.
An access to information regime will empower vulnerable groups to get access to all pro-poor interventions, all benefits and decent jobs within the economy as well as expose information which will ensure accountability in governance.
It will also empower the people to work from a position of knowledge rather than ignorance as they participate in important decision making process which affect their lives.
The consultative workshop which brought together news editors, producers and presenters, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), executives of RTI Coalition, Media Coalition on RTI, to assess government performance on the implementation of citizenry’s constitutional right to information used international standards as yardstick to suggest an improvement in the policies.
Making a presentation on international standards and best practices on access to information disclosure practices at the workshop, the Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Center for Democratic Development (CDD), Dr Kojo Pumpuni Asante said an Access To Information (ATI) Law was a bedrock for democratic accountability, saying it enables citizens to demand accountability from the people they have given power to.
“We entrust the elected and appointed officials with power to act on our behalf and in our interest. Therefore the only way we can satisfy ourselves that they are doing the job is for us to have access to information. What are they using the money for? What kind of projects are they doing? Are they doing it well? How can we access and evaluate?” he observed.
Source: Clement Akoloh||africanewsradio.com