23 February 2015

IFLA takes Lyon Declaration to the UN

IFLA President-Elect Donna Scheeder speaking at the 5th meeting, Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations (Declaration Session) - General Assembly, Informal meeting

IFLA President-Elect Donna Scheeder speaking at the 5th meeting, Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations (Declaration Session) - General Assembly, Informal meeting (19 February 2015)

IFLA President-Elect Donna Scheeder and Governing Board member Loida Garcia-Febo were in New York last week for the latest negotiating session on the post-2015 UN development framework. IFLA is calling for a focus on increased access to information in the new framework, and is working to highlight the role that information intermediaries, such as libraries, can play in helping achieve the new set of Sustainable Development Goals that all UN Member States will commit to reaching from September 2015.

Negotiations in New York last week focused on the Declaration section of the new Framework. Delegates called for an aspirational statement that made sense to all. Throughout the week, in discussions with delegates and civil society groups, IFLA argued that access to information is a common principle, as well as a cross-cutting issue across all of the goals and targets.

Our position is that the Declaration should clearly recognise that increased access to information and knowledge, underpinned by universal literacy, is an essential pillar of sustainable development.

IFLA's intervention

On Thursday, at a meeting between UN Major Groups and Member States, Donna Scheeder introduced the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development which has now been signed by over 500 organisations from across the library, development and ICT sectors. Her intervention focused on the danger of information poverty.

5th meeting, Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations (Declaration Session) - General Assembly, Informal meeting

Interactive Dialogue with Major Groups and other Stakeholders

IFLA President-Elect Donna Scheeder starts at 1:35:40

Full text of the intervention

Thank you Mr. Chair for giving the floor to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, or IFLA, the global Voice of Libraries.

I’m Donna Scheeder, the President-Elect of IFLA, and I’m speaking on behalf of more than 500 organisations and institutions who have signed The Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development. The Lyon Declaration calls upon UN Member States to recognize the importance of increased access to information in supporting the post-2015 development agenda.

I wanted to remind delegates that in moving forward we must pay attention to a different kind of poverty that has not been mentioned much here - information poverty.

Information and knowledge really are the foundation for making progress towards sustainable development. Without access to information, people will lack the means to take the crucial decisions needed to improve their lives.

Increased access to information is a cross-cutting issue that will contribute to the achievement of all goals - whether in health, education, transparency and accountability: all goals will benefit from people being able to know more about how to achieve them.

And we - libraries - can help you get there. There are over 320,000 public libraries worldwide, and hundreds of thousands of school and research libraries - in all of your countries. Librarians are skilled information professionals who can be strong partners in increasing access to information. And we can help people gain the information literacy skills needed to improve their lives.

So when considering how we do this, let’s make sure we use the institutions who can help open up the datasets, knowledge resources and provide access to the ICTs people need to achieve sustainable development. 

We look forward to being partners in the data revolution and helping us get to 2030 in great shape.”

Next steps

IFLA President-Elect Donna Scheeder and Governing Board member Loida Garcia-Febo

IFLA President-Elect Donna Scheeder and Governing Board member Loida Garcia-Febo

By the end of the meeting an updated elements paper for the Declaration was produced for delegates, who will now refine a final version over the coming months. Meanwhile, IFLA will continue to engage at the UN in negotiations. In March there will be a discussion of Goals and Targets, and in April the focus turns to the Means of Implementation, or how the goals will actually be achieved. Negotiations continue until July, at which point a final framework will be produced for endorsement at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development in September.

IFLA urges upon you to sign the Lyon Declaration, access our advocacy toolkit and contact your government representatives about the importance of access to information to development. We need your help to achieve our objectives!

Access to information, Access to knowledge, Advocacy, Development, post2015, UN

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