Choice & Empowerment: turning information into action on poverty

The case for including access to information in the post-2015 framework

Information is power. New technologies are making it easier for governments, business and civil society to collect data, share information, target resources, provide feedback and measure progress. Information can help to build trust between governments and citizens, allowing people to exercise their rights, hold decision-makers to account, reduce corruption and make more informed choices in their daily lives.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have focused international and country efforts on poverty eradication and, over time, have prompted an alignment of donor aid policies. This has supported domestic efforts to reduce poverty, with clear progress being made on the delivery of basic social services including health and education at a global level. But beyond 2015, accelerated progress on poverty elimination and sustainable development requires more than effective delivery of services. Based on our experience and available evidence, we believe the post-2015 settlement must harness the power of technology and information to empower citizens with choice and control over the decisions that impact their lives.

Transparency, participation and empowerment should be core components of the post-2015 narrative upon which a future development agenda can be built but we need a practical, workable way to measure these components. Just as the Millennium Declaration was accompanied by the MDGs with targets and indicators to measure progress, we believe a specific goal on access to information can act as a proxy against which progress on transparency, participation and empowerment can be measured.