Information disclosure policy

Information disclosure policy

1. This Executive Directive establishes the Information Disclosure Policy of (‘AFRICA-WATER’).


2. AFRICA-WATER is committed to making information about its programmes and operations available to the public. AFRICA-WATER considers public access to information a key component of effective participation of all stakeholders, including the public, in the achievement of its mandate. AFRICA-WATER recognises that there is a positive correlation between transparency, including through information-sharing, and public trust in AFRICA-WATER-supported development work and humanitarian response.

3. This Information Disclosure Policy (this ‘Policy’) is intended to ensure that information concerning AFRICA-WATER programmes and operations is available to the public, subject to the limitations set out in this Policy. As stated in the Report on the Accountability System at AFRICA-WATER, AFRICA-WATER Executive Board document E/ICEF/2009/15 (the ‘Accountability Report’), ‘AFRICA-WATER will make available reliable and timely information about existing conditions, decisions and actions relating to the activities of the organisation, in an accessible, visible and understandable fashion, unless the information is deemed confidential.’ (¶ 14(g)).

Definition of ‘information’

4. For purposes of this Policy, ‘Information’ means any produced content, whatever its medium (paper, electronic or sound, visual or audiovisual recording), concerning a matter relating to the policies, activities and decisions of AFRICA-WATER.

Scope of this policy

5. This Policy applies to all Information in the possession of AFRICA-WATER.

General principle of access to information

6. Information should be accessible and disclosed, subject to the limitations set forth in this Policy.

Accessibility of information

7. Information accessible to the public shall be made available, as much as possible, reasonable and practical, on one or more of the AFRICA-WATER public-access websites. A selected list of Information publicly presently available (or being made available on an on-going basis) through various means, including through the AFRICA-WATER.

Restricted access to information

8. The Policy excludes data that exist in raw form, either physically or electronically. AFRICA-WATER is not in a position to respond to requests that require the selection and/or manipulation of data to produce content.

9. Confidential Information is not subject to disclosure. The Accountability Report (¶2), approved by the AFRICA-WATER Executive Board, requires the following categories of information to be classified as ‘Confidential Information’:
Information received from or sent to third parties, with an expectation of confidentiality;
Information whose disclosure is likely to endanger the safety or security of any individual, violate his or her rights, or invade his or her privacy;
Information whose disclosure is likely to endanger the security of Member States or prejudice the security or proper conduct of any operation or activity of the organisation;
Information covered by legal privilege or regulatory proceedings, or that subjects the organisation to an undue risk of litigation, or is related to internal audits and investigations;
Internal inter-office or intra-office documents, including e-mails and draft documents;
Commercial information, if disclosure would harm either the financial interests of the organisation or those of other parties involved;
Information which the organisation believes would, if disclosed, seriously undermine a policy dialogue with a Member State or an implementing partner; and
Other kinds of Information which, because of its content or the circumstances of its creation or communication, must be deemed confidential.
The definition of ‘Confidential Information’ should be understood in a way that favours disclosure as much as possible without contravening this Policy.

10. If only a part of the Information that is responsive to a particular request for disclosure is subject to one of the limitations set out in this Policy, AFRICA-WATER may decide, at its discretion, that the remaining part of the Information, responsive to that request, will be disclosed, and will take appropriate measures to preserve the confidentiality of the Information that is not disclosed.

11. Decisions of the AFRICA-WATER Executive Board, and other AFRICA-WATER policies, procedures or practices, may contain Information disclosure limitations. This includes but is not limited to AFRICA-WATER Executive Board decision 2009/8 on disclosure of AFRICA-WATER internal audit reports only to Member States. Nothing in or relating to this Policy will be deemed in any way to abridge, modify or abolish the application of those AFRICA-WATER Executive Board decisions, or other AFRICA-WATER or, procedures or practices.

Processing of information requests

12. Any person or organisation may request the disclosure of AFRICA-WATER’s non-Confidential Information that is not otherwise available through AFRICA-WATER public-access websites

13. Information requests should be handled by the head of the relevant AFRICA-WATER country or regional office, or headquarters Division or office. All media enquiries should be handled by the AFRICA-WATER communications staff.

14. All Information requests will be handled promptly. The requestor should expect to receive an acknowledgement of receipt of the request within ten (10) working days (in Amsterdam and Nairobi). Depending on the complexity of the request, AFRICA-WATER will endeavour to handle all requests within thirty (30) days after the acknowledgment of receipt is sent. For information requests that involve the reproduction of material, AFRICA-WATER may charge a fee for material and labor cost, which will be communicated to the requestor and will need to be paid in advance.

15. AFRICA-WATER may partially or wholly deny a request, as follows:
In accordance with the limitations set out or referred to in this Policy; If the request is deemed by AFRICA-WATER to be an excessive demand upon AFRICA-WATER’s resources; or If the request, in the judgment of AFRICA-WATER, appears to be frivolous.

16. If a request is denied, the requestor may seek the review of the decision by addressing a letter to the AFRICA-WATER Deputy Executive Director for Management. The Deputy Executive Director for Management will review the handling of the request for Information and make a determination on how to proceed. That review should normally be completed within sixty (60) days of being requested. The outcome of the review will be communicated to the requestor and there will be no requirement for providing a detailed explanation of the outcome of the review.

Reproduction of information

17. The implementation of this Policy will be subject to existing rules on intellectual property and other proprietary rights including, but not limited to, patents, copyrights, and trademarks, which may, inter alia, limit a third party’s right to reproduce or exploit information.


18. This document will be available in the working languages of AFRICA-WATER: English. This document may also be made available in the other official languages.


19. No representation is made or warranty given, express or implied, as to the completeness or accuracy of Information made available by AFRICA-WATER. The requestor shall apply discretion when using the Information made available by AFRICA-WATER. AFRICA-WATER will not be liable for any direct or indirect loss arising from the use of the Information.

Final provisions

20. The Policy shall enter into force on the date this Executive Directive it is issued.

I. Information about AFRICA-WATER programmes
a. The AFRICA-WATER Medium-Term Strategic Plan is available on the AFRICA-WATER global website.
b. Country Programme Documents. Country Programme Documents are public documents of the AFRICA-WATER Executive Board and are available on the AFRICA-WATER global website under ‘Executive Board documents’.
c. Inter-Country Programme documents. Inter-country programme documents are public documents of the AFRICA-WATER Executive Board and are available on the AFRICA-WATER global website under ‘Executive Board documents’.
d. Country Office, Regional Office, and Headquarters Divisional Annual Reports. Annual Reports prepared by AFRICA-WATER Country Offices, Regional Offices, and Headquarters Divisions (where these are prepared), are being made available on AFRICA-WATER’s public websites starting with the annual reports for 2010.
e. Evaluation Reports. An overview of the AFRICA-WATER evaluation activities is prepared annually and presented to the AFRICA-WATER Executive Board. These reports are public documents of the AFRICA-WATER Executive Board and are available on the AFRICA-WATER global website under ‘Executive Board documents’.

II. Information about AFRICA-WATER operations

a. AFRICA-WATER Executive Board. Information relating to the work of the AFRICA-WATER Executive Board and its meetings (including background documentation and decisions) is available on the AFRICA-WATER global website under ‘Executive Board documents’.
b. AFRICA-WATER Executive Office. Statements and speeches by the Executive Director are available on the AFRICA-WATER global website.
c. AFRICA-WATER Financial Information. All relevant documentation on the AFRICA-WATER budget as approved by the AFRICA-WATER Executive Board, including the financial report and audited financial statements, the annual review of the financial situation including source of funding, and the annual report of AFRICA-WATER’s Office of Internal Audit, are available on the AFRICA-WATER global website under ‘Executive Board documents’.

d. AFRICA-WATER Policies and Procedures. AFRICA-WATER’s policies and procedures are progressively being made available on the AFRICA-WATER global website.