Conference on Access to Information: Latin America and the Caribbean (CAI:LAC) – Sept 2021

By Marcelo Rodríguez

Our Conference on Access to Information in Latin America and the Caribbean (CAI:LAC) comes when the region is at a crossroads. The reality is that the pandemic shows no signs to avail in the overwhelming majority of countries. The consequences of extended lockdowns and border closures have had severe consequences in all economies. The livelihoods of vulnerable groups have been several curtailed and precarity has become a way of life for millions. Vaccination availability and rates are very low throughout the region, while variants and misinformation complicate an already-chaotic situation. Besides the pandemic, Latin America and the Caribbean was already facing some major socio-economic and political challenges which have been simply exacerbated during the current health crisis. 

Since March 2020, our group, Monitoring COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean has been busy at work trying to gather all the information related to these challenges and abrupt changes in order to bear witness and report on what is happening. We have always striven to cover the entire region and talk about how seemingly disparate events are interconnected. At this point, our project members come from all corners of the region, and they have contributed more than 60 reports. We will have more in the future, including a book compiling all these reports. The Conference on Access to Information: Latin America and the Caribbean was born from these efforts and aims to build on these conversations. 

Since 2015, the United Nations (UN) has designated September 28 as the International Day for Universal Access to Information. Our conference celebrates this commemoration. Access to Information serves as a framework streamlining all the conversations and reports in our project. Considering the interdisciplinary and international nature of our collaborations, the topic of access to information serves as a springboard from where all these webinars can develop. 

During the month of September 2021, we will host a total of eight free webinars every Tuesday and Thursday at 4pm (EST). Each panel will consist of three experts and a moderator and simultaneous interpretation will be available for at least six webinars in Spanish/English and one in Portuguese/English. You will need to register for each webinar individually. 

The agenda will be as follows: 

Thursday 2 September 2021: Access to Women’s Rights (Argentina, Uruguay y Paraguay)

UNESCO, Office of Access to Public Information in Argentina, Semillas para la Democracia in Paraguay

Tuesday, 7 September 2021: Access to Education (Puerto Rico, Rep. Dominicana, Cuba)

Observatorio de Libertad Académica, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo, Observatorio Político Dominicano

Thursday, 9 September 2021: Access to Information on Elections (Chile, Bolivia, Perú, Ecuador)

Organization of American States (OAS), International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Andean Information Network, Centro de Estudios Políticos in Chile, US Congressional Research Service

Tuesday, 14 September 2021: Access to Information on/for Venezuelan Refugees

Georgetown Law School, UNHCR in Ecuador, Efecto Cucuyo in Venezuela, Refugee Expert in Peru, University of Arizona College of Law

Thursday, September 16, 2021: Access to Health Rights and Information (CARICOM + OECS)

CARICOM, OECS, PAHO, University of Arizona College of Law

Tuesday, 21 September 2021: Access to Brazilian Legislative and Judicial Information

Chamber of Deputies and Senate of Brazil

Thursday, 23 September 2021: Access to Information in Central America

International Crisis Group, Libertad Ciudadana in Panama, Asociación para una Sociedad Justa in Honduras, Expert in Nicaragua, Ave Maria Law School

Tuesday, 28 September 2021: Indigenous Peoples’ Access to Information in Mexico

National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM in Spanish), Autonomous University of Mexico (UAM in Spanish), Colegio de Mexico

Please register to attend and do not hesitate to share as widely as possible with all your networks. Your participation will help ensure that these relevant conversations get the attention they deserve. 

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