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Paris Peace Forum chooses KP to asses RTI implementation

Peshawar

June 21, 2019

PESHAWAR: The Paris Peace Forum has chosen Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s project, from among the provinces and the country, to assess the implementation and evolution of the Right to Information Act 2013 in the province.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission (KPIC) has submitted the project to assess the implementation of the RTI Act ensuring people’s right to access information held by the public bodies.

It was part of the whole host of over 700 projects submitted to the Forum, the Forum said on its Website.

The selection of the project “Evaluation of right to Information Implementation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan” came as part of the initiative of the Forum to advance governance solutions across the world particularly where the governance environment is not what it should have been over the last few years, it further said.

The forum in its citation of the project said, “Secrecy has been the rule, and the disclosure of information an exception, throughout the history of Pakistan.

“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa became the first province to develop an effective Right to Information (RTI) law with the aim to ensure the citizen’s constitutional right by providing access to the information held by public bodies. “The process has predominantly dragged attention to corruption and exposed potholes in the system.”

The Paris Peace Forum, it said, continues to demonstrate that in a deteriorated international environment it is still possible to advance governance solutions, scale-up projects and launch new initiatives in peace and security, development, environment, new technologies, inclusive economy, culture and education, etc.

For its second edition, the “Call for Projects” of the Paris Peace Forum has received more than 700 project submissions from 115 countries and led by a wide panel of actors of global governance, such as states, international organisations, NGOs, companies, foundations, philanthropic organisations, development agencies, religious groups, trade unions, think tanks and universities.

The Selection Committee evaluated all submissions and made its choice based on geographical and gender-balanced representation, it informed. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the technical support of the Centre for Law and Democracy (CLD), a Canada-based organisation and other stakeholders including German Development Cooperation and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, has already developed the first-ever methodology to assess and evaluate the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) law in the country.

Toby Mendel, the executive director, CLD, led the team to develop the methodology and provide assistance for the training of the trainers (ToTs) for the methodology. This is the first time that such a methodology would be put into practice anywhere in the world and the core development work on it has been done in Pakistan to assess the extent to which RTI laws are being properly implemented and looks at both oversight bodies Information Commissions and public authorities.

The assessment of the RTI Law and RTI practices in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will in a tangible manner evaluate the implementation level and scale of the Law in the province while it may also be exercised in other provinces and at the federal level to asses RTI Law implementation across the country. It will also provide evidence of claims that implementation of the RTI Law in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has changed a “culture of secrecy” which remained prevalent in the country over the seven decades.