International day for universal access to information

Dr Anthea Seles

UNESCO Open Talks Webinar – 29 September 2020 

“Access to Information implementation and Crisis Resolution during COVID-19 Outbreak” 

More than six months after many of us were forced into lockdown in a bid to stem the deadly Coronavirus outbreak, the crisis is far from over. The medical profession is still struggling to develop a vaccine and find other ways of curbing both the pandemic and its consequences. The politicians are desperately juggling between the need to protect the population and the urgency of rebooting the economy. And without information, they would be ill-placed to cope with the massive problems they have to address. 

One of the main lessons to have emerged from this crisis is the importance of information, the vital need to have facts and figures at our fingertips in order to make the right decisions at the right time. Archives and records are a vital part of this process, not only in that they can provide such details with regard to past events and developments but also in ensuring that the current situation and its implications are properly documented for future reference. The duty to document in a crisis does not cease, it becomes more essential, along with building partnership with organisations like the International Conference of Information Commissioners to help advocate for the importance of archives and records.  

To discuss these aspects of the pandemic, UNESCO has decided to organise a webinar, which will take place on Tuesday, 29 September 2020 between 16.30 and 18.00, Paris time. I have been invited to be one of a panel of 6 speakers contributing to this webinar. It will be a great opportunity to explain how access to information would be irrelevant if records and archives did not exist. It will also be the chance to emphasise the importance of ensuring that the data that exists is properly organised and structured so that it can be easily retrieved and made available in good time, a message to which all of you in the profession will surely subscribe. 

So why not log in to this event on the UNESCO “Open Talks” programme, to discover the other, perhaps contrasting, ideas that may be forthcoming and build up arguments in support of the vital role of archivists and record managers in coping with complex and unexpected occurrences such as COVID-19? 

Just click on the following link for full details about webinar content, speakers and objectives: 

I hope that, wherever you may be in the world, you will be able to join us for this session. 

Anthea SELES 

ICA Secretary General