The Ethiopian Institutions of Ombudsman (EIO) provided an award for UNDP Ethiopia today for its support to advance Access to Information (ATI) in Ethiopia.
Since the enactment of Freedom of Expression and Access to Information proclamation in 2008 the EIO has been mandated to spearhead the implementation of the law and monitoring progress and ongoing efforts to achieve the rights outlined in the ATI proclamation.
Access to information encompasses the core principles of democratic governance: participation, transparency and accountability and enable people to influence national and local government policy and practice.
UNDP Ethiopia has partnered with EIO over the past decade, more recently through the multi-partner Governance and Democratic Participation Programme (GDPP). The GDPP brings together UNDP and the governments of Austria, Denmark, Norway and Sweden to provide support for 11 public institutions in Ethiopia.
In his welcoming remark, Dr Endale Haile, Chief Ombudsman of Ethiopia said UNDP Ethiopia’s critical support has also enabled EIO to cope with the challenges of working during the coronavirus epidemic to continue to provide service to the public.
Concern around social distancing was putting a strain on the delivery of services to the public. To help address this challenge UNDP helped the EIO to set up data and call centres. These centres are helping to ensure that the public continues to receive service without the need to physically come to the EIO offices.
Mr. Cleophas Torori, UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative (a.i.) received the award on behalf of UNDP Ethiopia.
The GDPP seeks to advance access to information in Ethiopia through supporting both the demand and supply side of access to information needs.
On the supply side, it partners with EIO to ensure state fulfilment of its functions or for those who administer public resources for the free flow of information. Through the GDPP, EIO was supported to roll-out the ATI to federal and regional government institutions. The support focused on training, preparing manuals and procedures, and creating awareness for the public and the media.
On the demand side, UNDP partnered with the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority, supports the efforts to reform the media landscape.
The Ministry of Health and Ethiopian Public Health Institute are among the other recipients of the EIO access to information award for their work in providing accurate, timely and up-to-date information to the public to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.