Now on its fourth year, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will be commemorating the International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI). This follows from the adoption of a UNESCO resolution (38 C/70).

According to their concept note, through this celebration, UNESCO aims to:

  • “Enhance information for development as a necessary complementary dimension to the right to information.”
  • “Highlight that the right to information can only be effectively exercised and implemented on the basis of laws, regulating this right in accordance with international standards, and efficient systems of implementation.”
  • “Promote awareness that the right to information is essential for transparent and accountable governance and a prerequisite for public involvement in formulating social policies and in the decision-making processes of governance.”

Large growth, larger strides needed

IDUAI happens a day after Google’s 21st birthday. The tech giant is a prime example of how information is now more accessible than it has ever been. A few types and clicks will yield you the information that you desire. Google’s Android is most likely your companion in your daily life.

While technology is the key in order to build knowledge societies, the gaps in technology and infrastructure developments is also what allows inequalities information access to flourish.

This disparity in information access inhibits growth. With growth hampered, the technology and infrastructure gap worsens further. It is a cruel cycle.

With the fast developments in technology, the widening of these gaps consequently speeds up as well. This is why UNESCO urges leaders and citizens to address issues in development which serves as a barrier to universal information access.

Let this day allow us to regain a sense of urgency in fast tracking development in underdeveloped nations. With the rate our technological terrain is changing, we must remain vigilant when it comes to ensuring that policies and infrastructure can keep up.

By doing this, we are at the same time helping pave the roads towards a society where everyone is fully empowered by the torrent of information surrounding us.

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