Throughout Latin America, civil society organisations (CSOs) are
exacting accountability by undertaking independent assessments of the
implementation and outcomes of public policies and programmes. To get
the information needed for these assessments, CSOs have used the Right
to Information guaranteed by Freedom of Information Acts (FOIAs),
Constitutions or Court decisions. By conducting these exercises, civil
society has highlighted mismanagement and inefficiencies in public
policies, and pushed for reform, especially to ensure that policies
benefit socially excluded groups. Using case studies from Mexico,
Ecuador and Costa Rica, this Brief analyses how CSOs are successfully
using the right to information as a tool to improve accountability and
social justice in Latin America.
•The right to information can be a powerful tool for undertaking social
audits which can improve accountability and social justice.
•Technical and financial capacities in civil society organisations seem
to be critical for carrying out independent assessments of government
•Policy changes are more likely to happen if civil society is able to:
a- engage partners who could use the findings of social audits to
advance their rights or to hold governments accountable; and b- build
linkages with government actors responsible for public policy design or
FUNDAR. ELLA Policy Brief: Using Information for Accountability and Justice: Lessons from Latin American Civil Society. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 5 pp.