|Openness was discussed in the Finnish Parliament|
|On the 245th Anniversary of the World"s First Freedom of Information Law, 2 December 2011, The Anders Chydenius Foundation together with Finnish Parliamentary Committee for Future and Finnish League for Human Rights organised a seminar on openness of democracy and on legacy of Chydenius. |
The Righ to Know Day"s seminar was opened Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen, who saw human rights have been an important foundation for the Nordic welfare state. According to her, this legacy is also seen in our work in the World Bank, which is a part of her portfolio as Finance minister. Here is a summary of her speech:
"Human rights – and good governance that goes hand in hand with human rights – are central to Finland’s role in the World Bank. I consider it important that good governance was approved this year as one of the five pillars of the World Bank Group’s strategy.
In the work of the World Bank, fostering good governance has also meant promoting openness and freedom of information laws. For example, the World Bank has, after the Arab spring, launched an inclusive growth program in North Africa and the Middle East, which focuses also on promoting open and transparent governance. The World Bank also recently announced a database of freedom of information laws in 88 countries. When discussing tax havens this autumn in the World Bank, Finland, together with other Nordic and Baltic countries, has been actively promoting tax transparency agenda.
The World Bank, itself, approved a year ago a new policy on access to information, which positions – according to Publish What You Fund organisation – the Bank as a transparency leader among international institutions. The policy on access to information provides for the disclosure of more information on projects as well as Board proceedings. The Nordic countries have contributed to human rights and open government in the World Bank, including its country level work, through the Nordic Trust Fund.
It is important that we Nordic countries are also open to transatlantic and global partnerships for promoting democracy and open government. Finland has upgraded its activity in the multilateral democracy initiative called Community of Democracies. For example, Norway and Sweden have already joined the Open Government Partnership, which was launched in September at the UN. It would be natural that Finland studies its possibilities to join such a global partnership. Finland"s possible participation could be related to digital services and participation opportunities, aid transparency or tax transparency in order to prevent tax evasion through tax havens. We could contribute by fostering women’s participation in society.
I hope this seminar brings us more ideas of Finland"s role in promoting an open and democratic government."