The 2020 Initiative meeting highlighted the necessity of the existence of independent and autonomous state bodies as well as ;the ensuring of their uninterrupted work.
The second regional conference of the 2020 Initiative, an association that brings together independent bodies from the countries of the region engaged in the protection of the right to access information of public importance, was held in Bled, Slovenia, from October 3 to 5, 2021. The main purpose of the association is mutual cooperation, exchange of experiences and good practices, as well as the promotion and protection of the right to access information.
The Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, Milan Marinović, and the Deputy Commissioner, Sanja Unković, took part in this year's Conference. The participants referred to the legal solutions in this area of human rights and drew close attention to the considerably changed circumstances of the work of public authorities during special anti-COVID 19 epidemiological measures. The participants pointed out that in all countries of the region there is a noticeable trend of an increasing number of requests for access to information of public importance, emphasizing the role and importance of independent state bodies.
After discussing the trends and challenges in the implementation of national regulations on the exercise of the right to access information, and concluding that the countries of the region have similar problems in their work, the participants decided to strengthen mutual cooperation of institutions through joint projects, working visits, and employee exchange study programs in order to build capacities and exchange good practices in the field of access to information. They also agreed to adopt a joint declaration on the need to ensure the independence of bodies dealing with access to public information as well to support the efforts to obtain funding for the activities of the 2020 Initiative.
The participants also agreed that the next annual meeting of the 2020 Initiative will be hosted by the Republic of North Macedonia in 2022 and that in 2023 the meeting will be held in Croatia.