The IFLA Sub-Saharan African Regional Division Committee (IFLA SSA RDC) plans to be both physically and digitally present at the UN Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development.

The IFLA SSA RDC is sending a representation committee to physically attend the UN ARFSD, while many members of the IFLA SSA RDC are planning to attend this online.

The 2022 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development will take place on the theme, ‘Building forward better: A green, inclusive and resilient Africa poised to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.’

What is the Eight Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development?

The ARFSD is an annual multi-stakeholder platform organized jointly by the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) and the Host Government in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and other entities of the United Nations System. It brings together Ministers, senior officials, experts and practitioners from UN member States, private sector, civil society, academia, and UN organisations. Accordingly, the 2022 Forum is organized jointly by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Government of the Republic of Rwanda in collaboration with partners outlined above.

The ARFSD like all the other regional forums on sustainable development is mandated by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The regional forum is one of the three mechanisms mandated to follow-up, review and catalyse actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by UN Member States in September 2015.

The other mechanisms are the Voluntary National Reviews and the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) at the global level.

Unique to Africa, the ARFSD undertakes integrated follow-up and review of the SDGs and goals of the African Union Agenda 2063. This is because for Africa, the two Agenda provide a synergistic framework for achieving inclusive and people-centred sustainable development in the region.

The ARFSD also provides a platform for peer learning including on Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and Voluntary Local Review (VLRs) by subnational entities.

Library Advocates on the ground

The below library IFLA SSA RDC Members are physically attending the UN ARFSD and will be reporting back to the Regional Committee and the global library world about developments, discussions and lessons learnt.

Dr. Victoria Okojie is a Member of the IFLA Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Division Committee. She is also a lecturer at the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Abuja and an International Advisory Committee Member of the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. Dr. Victoria Okojie has been working in the Library and Information sector for over 30years, with experience in both teaching and practice. She currently lectures at the University of Abuja, Nigeria and is a Member of the International Advisory Committee of UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. She has worked at the University of Ibadan Library; The Birtish Council; as an independent consultant and as Registrar/CEO, Librarians’ Registration Council of Nigeria. Dr. Okojie was formerly President, Nigerian Library Association; Chair, IFLA Africa Section and IFLA Division V; Member, IFLA Governing Board; Member, Governing Board, National Library of Nigeria and Adviser, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Libraries Programme. She is a Fellow of the US State Department, International Visitor Leadership Program; Fellow, Nigerian Library Association and Associate, IFLA International Leaders Programme. Dr. Okojie has published over 30 peer-reviewed papers, attended over 200 conferences and has received over 15 awards. Victoria has a strong passion in advocating for Library and Information Services issues, mentoring young librarians and promoting universal access to information.

At the age of 19, Damilare Oyedele started to mobilize his friends as volunteers to work towards community library projects. He commenced by publishing articles in Nigerian daily newspapers about the importance of libraries in our society. This initiative later grew into a not-for-profit organization called Library Aid Africa which he now heads as the Co-Founder & Chief Executive. For the past 4 years, he and his team have focused on advocacy and support for the resuscitation of libraries in schools and communities – leveraging digital technology and citizen engagement approaches to drive projects and policy reforms for libraries in over 10 African countries. More so, he serves on Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Committee of The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), where he leads on Global Advocacy Priorities. Currently, he is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar at The African Leadership University, studying Global Challenges, with a research focus on library policy and legislation in sub-Saharan Africa. Learn more and reach out to Damilare: Twitter & Instagram: @damoyedele

Ayanda A. B. Lebele holds a PhD (Library and Information Science) from University of South Africa (UNISA). From the University of Botswana (UB) she attained two masters’ qualifications, Library and Information Science; and Development Studies respectively.  She also has BA (Humanities) and a secondary school teaching diploma.  This litany of medals demonstrates Dr Lebele’s appetite for continued professional development. She has almost 30 years’ librarianship experience with notable footprint in school, public, special, and academic libraries of different sizes and administrative make up. Her passion to learn from service also landed her as a year long  volunteer at the African Union Library, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr Lebele’s scholarly work is mainly informed by here participatory observations in the interdisciplinary librarianship. she has engaged in different professional platforms on the subjects of informatics, internet governance; stakeholder engagement ;  Institutional repositories and library service provision during the Covid 19 pandemic. Lebele has grown into a strong advocate of transformative library services. She is the Vice Chair of the Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Division at the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA); has membership in multiple professional development bodies: At country level The Palapye Librarians Forum & The Botswana Library Association (BLA).  International ones being the Library & Information Association of South Africa (LIASA); and African Library Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA) and a committee member of the IFLA- Reference & Information Services Section.