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UNESCO celebrates int’l day for universal access to information in Irbid

By JT - Oct 05,2017 - Last updated at Oct 05,2017

UNESCO Amman Office on Wednesday celebrated the International Day for the Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) at the Jordan University for Science and Technology (JUST) in Irbid (Photo courtesy of UNESCO)

AMMAN — UNESCO Amman Office on Wednesday celebrated the International Day for the Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) at the Jordan University for Science and Technology (JUST) in Irbid, a statement from the UN agency said. 

Held under the theme “Powering Sustainable Development with Access to Information”, the outdoor TEDx-style event brought together community leaders in a public discussion on the role of access to information in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Jordan. 

IDUAI carries a particular relevance with the new 2030 Development Agenda, especially SDG target 16.10 which calls for ensuring public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms, the statement said. 

The event was organised as part of the talks that the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) is encouraging worldwide and under the framework of the Regional ICT Accessibility Week in the Arab States organised with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to raise awareness on the critical role played by information in supporting holistic and sustainable national development, according to the statement.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Jordan Anders Pedersen highlighted the critical role that access to information can play in reducing inequalities.

“Access to information and knowledge is a key element to addressing inequalities, since it gives individuals the opportunity to make informed decisions that affect their lives. Poor and vulnerable groups often lack information that is vital to their lives… They also lack visibility and voice to enable them to define and influence policy priorities and access resources,” Pedersen was quoted in the statement as saying.

President of JUST Omar Al Jarrah elaborated on the strategic importance of access to information in advancing scientific research and the role of academia in this regard, the statement continued

He said in the statement: “Future universities will have to adapt to the new age of complete democratisation of information accompanied by its unlimited accessibility and the impact it will have on teaching and research.” 

JUST has taken several measures to meet the demands of this changing environment including investing heavily in its IT infrastructure and the recent establishment of the Open Educational Resources Center at its campus to design and implement strategies to meet the future demands of this sector, the statement read.

In the statement, Hadeel Abu Sufa, activist for the rights of persons with disabilities, illustrated how information and communication technologies can concretely support the enhancement of the livelihoods and the participation of persons with disabilities in the social and economic development of their communities. 

Costanza Farina, UNESCO Representative to Jordan, said in the statement: “The inclusion [of Access to Information] reflects the growing recognition by the international community that peace and justice, as well as effective, accountable, inclusive institutions are at the core of sustainable development.”

 

This celebration was held with financial contributions from the regional EU-funded project “Networks of Mediterranean Youth”, as well as from the EU-funded project “Support Media in Jordan,” both implemented by UNESCO.

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