The following are two indicators for the SDG 16.10 target on access to information proposed by the Global Forum for Media Development, a Brussels-based international coalition of more than 200 national, regional and international nongovernmental organizations specialized in journalism training, press freedom advocacy, media law and ethics, and other aspects of independent media support.
These indicators were developed in consultation with other international civil society groups specialized in freedom of information and expression, as well as with UNESCO and other UN agencies and advisors with expertise in this field. They reflect a broad professional consensus on indicators for SDG16.10 that are substantively relevant, technically feasible, and draw upon existing UN monitoring processes and mechanisms. Both these proposed indicators are considered far preferable to the two indicators provisionally proposed by the UN DESA Division of Statistics (see below), which were both conceptually and methodologically problematic, as noted in their initial negative reviews by the member-state NSOs in the UN Statistical Commission in March 2015.
GFMD Proposed Indicators for SDG 16.10:
Target 16.10 - Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements
Proposed Indicator 1: Monitoring the adoption and implementation of constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees and mechanisms for public access to information
As suggested by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and UNESCO in earlier presentations to the UN Technical Support Team (UN TST), this highly pertinent and measurable indicator would assess the existence and implementation of constitutional, statutory and/or policy guarantees for public access to information. A majority of UN member states have already adopted such legal guarantees, and many others are currently considering relevant legislation and implementing actions in the field. UNESCO, within its mandate for the right to freedom of expression, which includes the corollary of the right to freedom of information, already monitors progress and issues in this area through its existing submissions to the UPR and regularly issued research reports on World Trends on Freedom of Expression and Media Development.
Proposed Indicator 2: Implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, as mandated by the UN Chief Executives Board and monitored by UNESCO in compliance with recent General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on the protection of journalists and independent media
This proposed indicator for SDG 16.10 would formally incorporate into the SDGs monitoring framework the regular progress reports by UNESCO on the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which was adopted by the UN Chief Executives Board on 12 April 2012, in accord with UN Security Council Resolutions 2222 of May 2015 and 1738 of December 2006; UN General Assembly Resolutions 68/163 of December 2013 and 69/185 of December 2014; and UN Human Rights Council Resolutions 21/12 of September 2012 and 27/5 of September 2014, among other relevant United Nations resolutions, declarations, and conventions on the protection of journalists and independent media.
Led by UNESCO, the UN Plan of Action draws on normative and programmatic support from UNDP, DPI and the UNHCHR, among other UN agencies and offices. It marks the first effort to systematically bring the UN family of agencies together with other relevant stakeholders to address the worsening situation of the safety of journalists.
The Plan of Action is informed and complemented by UNESCO’s continuing global reports on media trends and issues and the national media surveys carried out through the UNESCO-IPDC Media Development Indicators Framework. UNESCO's biannual reports on the Plan's implementation include surveys of national government actions to investigate, prosecute and prevent killings and abductions of working journalists and UN system efforts to strengthen legal and physical protections of independent media.
As emphasized in the Riga Declaration, adopted by consensus at the 2015 UN World Press Freedom Day commemoration in Latvia, the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity “are directly relevant to implementing the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 16,” particularly the SDG 16.10 target ensuring public access to information. The Riga Declaration called on UNESCO to continue “highlighting the importance of freedom of expression, public access to information and the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity within the post-2015 development agenda processes” and “coordinating the implementation of the UN Plan of Action throughout the UN system.”
UN Statistics Division (March 2015):
Proposed Indicator 1: Percentage of actual government budget, procurement, revenues and natural resource concessions that are publicly available and easily accessible
Proposed Indicator 2: Number of journalists, associated media personnel and human -- rights advocates killed, kidnapped, disappeared, detained or tortured in last 12 months
May 2015 / Contact: Bill Orme, UN Representative, GFMD / [email protected]