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This Code of Ethics has been drawn up for the Governing Board and Officers* within the context of existing, approved Statutes, Rules of Procedure, Policies, Statements and Core Values. It outlines a set of fundamental principles in order to help the Governing Board define what is right, fair, just and good for IFLA in meeting its mission and purpose. It is also intended to assist a member of the Governing Board and an officer serving in its various structures in better understanding and meeting the requirements of holding an IFLA office.

(IFLA is a federation of library and information associations and institutions from every part of the world. Many of these members have formal professional codes of ethics).

The Code of Ethics

General Articles on Governance

IFLA shall be governed fairly, impartially and responsibly by its Governing Board, to ensure that the best interests of the organization are upheld and advanced;

IFLA shall have an independent, active, conscientious and informed Governing Board whose members serve as directors, without compensation or material profit, to the best of their ability;

Governing Board members agree to endorse and promote the mission, purpose, policies, statements and core values of IFLA and contribute to its strategic directions;

The Governing Board shall ensure that IFLA reports regularly to its members and its constituencies on the results of its programmes and services and their range, scope and impact;

Governing Board members shall act with respect, trust, confidentiality and transparency within the Board, between and among Board members and officers, recognising the need to protect personal and privileged information;

IFLA shall adopt a policy which prohibits direct and indirect conflicts of interest by the directors of the Governing Board. Such a policy should address issues related to: the receiving of gifts from or an affiliation with an actual or potential supplier of goods and services; affiliation with an organization with competing or conflicting interests; the degree of disclosure required by the person in the potential conflict of interest; and the consequences of not upholding the policy;

IFLA's Governing Board will ensure that its Statutes, Rules of Procedure, Policies and Statements are current, clear and inclusive of all matters related to good governance, transparency, accountability, human rights and public trust.

Relations with Members and Partners

The Governing Board shall ensure that IFLA reports regularly to its members and its constituencies on the results of its programmes and services and their range, scope and impact;

Governing Board members shall act with responsiveness and respect to the members and partners who make up IFLA constituencies, following the principles of the core values, professional ethics and this Code of Ethics;

Governing Board members shall recognise the importance of the IFLA staff and volunteers to accomplish its desired results and place a high value on providing the training, mentorship, tools and current information necessary for them to excel in their work;

The Governing Board shall ensure that there are useful tools and dedicated sessions to support the orientation and training of board members and officers;

IFLA's Governing Board shall be committed to full, open, timely and accurate information regarding its goals, plans, programmes, finances and governance and be ready to respond to questions;

The Governing Board shall adopt a policy requiring that no person be refused membership or be excluded from participation or otherwise subjected to discrimination by IFLA, on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, or mental or physical disability;


The Governing Board shall approve and implement policies related directly to the sound management of its fiscal responsibilities and to ethical conduct in fundraising;

The Governing Board shall have approved policies and plans that work toward gender equity, the participation of minorities and the greater use of all the IFLA languages in conferences and communications;

The Governing Board shall periodically reassess its respective mission, policies and operations in light of the changing world environment through ongoing planning, monitoring and assessment processes;

The Governing Board will develop policies and processes for the regular self-evaluation of its effectiveness and the timely review and application of policies and statements, such as the Code of Ethics.

Implementation of the Code of Ethics

This Code of Ethics shall be an element in the orientation of new Governing Board members and officers;

Each member of the Governing Board will be asked to sign a statement that certifies that he/she has read and understood the Code of Ethics and is prepared to adhere to it;

The Governing Board will ensure that there is a policy of due process for members of the Governing Board who do not follow the Code of Ethics;

The Code of Ethics will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure its relevance and its support of good governance and public trust.

Approved by the Governing Board of IFLA, December 2006

*President, President-elect, Treasurer