Libraries: Partners for Development

IFLA’s International Advocacy Programme Comes to the UN

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International Advocacy Programme (IAP) Global Convening in New York, USA.

Nearly 40 participants from all regions have been invited by IFLA to celebrate success, look to the future, and tell the story of libraries and the SDGs to officials from the UN and governments.

With the theme Moving Up a Gear: Realising Libraries’ Potential as Drivers of Development, IFLA will be represented by IFLA President Glòria Pérez-Salmerón; Secretary General, Gerald Leitner; Manager, Policy and Advocacy; Stephen Wyber; Manager, Development Programmes, Ingrid Bon; and Advocacy Communications Officer, Maria Violeta Bertolini.

The IAP Global Convening, the climax of two years’ work, will be hosted by two emblematic institutions: the Brooklyn Public Library and the New York Public Library. It will be an opportunity for IAP participants to look back at successes, and draw on each other’s experience gained to take the global library field’s advocacy up a gear.

The IAP participants will meet in New York, the home town of the United Nations. This is no coincidence; a highlight of the Convening will be a chance to visit the UN’s Headquarters, and hear about latest news and future plans, directly from UN officials.

The event will also offer a unique opportunity to showcase exceptional awareness raising and advocacy work, honoured by the presence of UN officials and national diplomats.

IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner said:

Two years ago, we challenged librarians around the world to make the case for libraries as drivers of development. They have surpassed our expectations. Now we look to the future, to moving up a gear in our engagement with the UN, governments and communities.

Global Goals: Local Action – the International Advocacy Programme So Far

The IAP started in 2016 with one train-the-trainer workshop and six regional workshops around the world. Yet it rapidly become a powerful worldwide movement.

Librarians in all regions have gathered evidence and learnt how better to advocate for libraries as motors of development, underlining their contribution to more informed, included, and engaged societies.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda, and the Sustainable Development Goal it establishes, have offered a vital framework. Thanks to this, it has been possible to explain the work of libraries in language that decision-makers understand.

Following the workshops, 150 participants signed contracts to take action, from 76 countries. Yet beyond this, IAP and its themes have spread across the library field, providing a strong and attractive strong advocacy theme for libraries around the world.

A Crucial Year: Education, Employment and Access to Information on the Agenda

But this is just the beginning: 2019 will be a crucial year as key SDGs for libraries become focus of UN discussions, particularly 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work), and 16 (Access to Information). The IAP Convening is part of the preparatory work carried out by IFLA to ensure we take advantage of this unique opportunity as a globally united library field.

The advocacy work done by IAP participants will be strengthened by the IFLA Library Map of the World. This powerful advocacy tool underlines what the library field can do, by providing library data and stories demonstrating how libraries in different countries contribute to the SDGs.

The IAP Convening will include a workshop: “SDG Storytelling for Showing the Impact of Libraries” as a learning opportunity to apply the recently launched "Libraries and the Sustainable Development Goals: A Storytelling Manual" and see more and more stories published.

Stay tuned for updates about the IAP convening, and engage with IAP participants in New York using the hashtags #DA2I #Lib4Dev #WorldLibraryMap and #StoriesThatMatter.

Follow us through Facebook and Twitter @IFLA, @IFLA_Lib4Dev and @IFLA_LibraryMap, and learn more about IFLA's work on Libraries and Development.

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Libraries as Motors for Development

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a total of 169 Targets spanning economic, environmental and social development. They lay out a plan for all countries to engage actively in making our world better for its people, with no-one left behind.

Libraries are key institutions for achieving the Goals. Over the last few years, IFLA has been actively involved with the creation of the UN 2030 Agenda, advocating for the inclusion of access to information, safeguarding of cultural heritage, universal literacy, and access to information and communication technologies (ICT) in the framework.

In August 2015, after more than three years of negotiations and intense involvement from many stakeholders, including IFLA, the Member States of the United Nations agreed to a final version of the post-2015 Development Agenda – now known as the 2030 Agenda. This Agenda was adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN Summit.

In the UN 2030 Agenda, access to information has been recognised as a target under Sustainable Development Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels:

"Target 16.10: Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements." (Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)

Culture (target 11.4) and ICT (targets 5b, 9c, 17.8) have also been included in the SDGs.

"Half of the world’s population lacks access to information online. In our knowledge society, libraries provide access and opportunity for all." (Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development)

And, universal literacy is recognised in the vision for the UN 2030 Agenda.

"We envision…a world with universal literacy." (Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)

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