Madrid, 13 July 2020 – Access Info Europe has joined 83 civil society organisations from around the world in calling on donors to continue funding transparency and accountability in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis.
In an open letter, the signatories welcomed efforts by donors to redirect funds towards potential new needs arising from the covid-19 pandemic, but also stressed the need to keep investment in civil society work on access to information and data disclosure during the recovery phase and beyond.
“It has become crystal clear during the past four months that transparent, open, and accountable governments are those that have had the best national responses to the pandemic, making full use of scientific data, gaining public trust, and ensuring the participation of a wide range of stakeholders in designing next steps,” commented Helen Darbishire, Executive Director of Access Info and a member of the Steering Committee of the Open Government Partnership.
A further concern, on which Access Info has focused during the crisis, is the corruption and fraud that has occurred during the use of emergency public procurement spending, such as on equipment for the health services. Together with other anti-corruption and public procurement organisations, including the Open Contracting Partnership, Access Info produced “Ten Recommendations on Transparency in Covid-19 Emergency Procurement”.
“Transparency has been shown to ensure that money reaches its destination, be it in spending on health, education, social policies or infrastructure. If we want to end corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency, we cannot afford to take a single step backwards in transparency policies and, for that, the support of bilateral and multilateral agencies, foundations and other funders is essential,” added Darbishire.
In separate work, Access Info has called for openness of the data relating to all the Sustainable Development Goal indicators. The organisation notes that transparency and openness have proven to contribute to economic and social progress. According to a study of G20 countries, open data added US$2.6 trillion of economic value on average.
The full letter is available here