By providing greater access to public information and promoting
transparency, Latin American countries seek to improve social oversight,
inform citizens about government policies and programmes, advance other
human rights, reduce corruption and enhance overall accountability. This
ELLA Guide analyses various initiatives implemented in the region, as
well as the key role played by civil society in the Latin American
experience, while shedding light on the contextual factors that enabled
the design and adoption of transparency policies and practices, and on
their lessons learned. The Latin American journey in implementing these
transparency initiatives could be useful for policymakers, academics,
civil society organisations (CSOs) and donors from other regions that
are promoting improved transparency and access to information in their
•Court rulings at the regional and national level upholding the right to
information and transparency can build the legal foundation for making
this right a reality, even in the absence of a formal FOIA.
•Latin American experience shows that enacting FOIAs is a first step in
fulfilling the right to information. Other elements, such as capacity
building for public officials and citizens and adequate enforcement
mechanisms, are also needed to ensure the effective realisation of this
•The right to information can be an effective tool for civil society to
undertake social audits of government performance, successfully advocate
for concrete improvements in public policies and ensure the realisation
of other human rights.
Oropeza, J. ELLA Guide: The Latin American Approach to Transparency and Access to Information. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 9 pp.