Some civil society members at a roundtable demanded that the government’s proposals on sustainable development goals (SDGs) should include the guarantee of people’s right to information and government data.
ARTICLE 19, the Daily Star and Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh (EquityBD), a network of right based NGOs in Bangladesh, organized the roundtable on Saturday at the Daily Star Building in Dhaka.
Participants at the Roundtable discussions included professor Shamsul Alam, member, Planning Commission, Nazrul Islam, Additional Secretary, Cabinet Division, Saida Muna Tasneem, Director General of UN Desk, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Information Commissioner Professor Sadeka Halim, Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh, and Saheen Anam, Executive Director Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF)
Dr Tofail Ahmed, Barrister Tanjibul Alam, Asgar Ali Sabri, Director Action Aid, Monisha Biswas of Oxfam, former parliamentarian Dr. Akram Hossain and Faruque Ahmed, Executive Editor the New Nation spoke at the roundtable.
“The freedom to voice views and participate in decisions without fear and need for access to information and to an independent media has been recognized as an essential component of the SDGs” said Tahmina Rahman, Director Bangladesh and South Asia of ARTICLE 19.
She added, “We believe that there should be a strong reflection of the principles on access to information, transparency and accountability in proposals of the Government of Bangladesh”.
“The Bangladesh Government has been invited to contribute in the development of these new goals at highest level meetings of nation states because of its success in implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, and the government is open to strengthening articulations on access, governance and oversight” commented Saida Muna Tasneem.
Nazrul Islam commented that the government acknowledges that there is more work necessary for the effective implementation of the Right to Information Act. Professor Shamsul Alam emphasized that the right to information is central to Bangladesh proposals for SDGs,