Development and Access to Information DA2I.ifla.org
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), in partnership with the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington (TASCHA), has launched the first Development and Access to Information (DA2I) Report.
The DA2I Report shows how essential access to information is for development, and makes the case for coordinated and sustained efforts by all to guarantee it. It demonstrates how meaningful access to information, supported by libraries, contributes to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and monitors the progress countries are making towards fulfilling their commitments under the UN 2030 Agenda.
As the Agenda for Sustainable Development progresses, the need to address the underlying factors holding back development in all our societies becomes more and more pressing. Few are as pernicious as information poverty – the lack of access to, or the ability to use, the information necessary to foster economically and socially inclusive societies. IFLA President Donna Scheeder stressed: “There is no sustainable development without access to information. And there is no meaningful, inclusive access to information without libraries.”
In addition to the regulatory changes and infrastructure investment needed to ensure that everyone has the practical possibility to get online, the report calls for a coordinated drive to ensure that people have the confidence and skills needed to get the best out of the Internet. This will require contributions from all levels of government and across stakeholder groups.
To monitor Member States’ progress, the report presents a set of baseline indicators, drawing on established datasets, as well as providing contributions from international experts showing how access to information is already making a difference. The report focuses this year on four SDGs highlighted at this year’s UN HLPF – agriculture (SDG 2), health (SDG 3), gender equality (SDG 5), and infrastructure and innovation (SDG 9).
Libraries, as pre-existing, trusted public centres, with both a global perspective and strong understanding of local needs, are essential partners for governments in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. IFLA is working globally to ensure libraries’ key contribution to development is recognised. It has signed agreements with representatives from 73 countries, committing to work with them to build understanding of the UN 2030 Agenda at a national and regional level, and engage in the planning, monitoring and implementation processes of National Development Plans.
IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner remarked: “The library field is unique. A global community of millions of institutions, sharing the same values and objectives. IFLA, as the global voice of libraries, is proud to be able to bring this potential to bear in support of development. I believe that, together, we can deliver. The library field is certainly ready.”