Having access to information and the skills to use it can unlock development potential, and make the difference in achieving the SDGs. At the first of five regional fora on sustainable development, IFLA representatives, including former IFLA Governing Board Member Victoria Okojie, will be presenting about how libraries contribute to success.

Every year, the United Nations organises not only a global High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals, but also five regional forums.

These see governments, UN agencies, experts and civil society come together to assess progress towards stronger, fairer, more sustainable growth in their parts of the world.

For libraries, it is an opportunity to get the message across that without thinking about access to, and use of, information, efforts by governments will inevitably be incomplete.

This is the point that IFLA’s representatives at the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, taking place in Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe, on 24-27 February, are making, in line with the goal of IFLA’s own Strategy 2019-2024 to strengthen the voice of libraries at all levels.

At a side event organised by IFLA on 26 February at 6:30pm Central African Time, former IFLA Governing Board member Victoria Okojie will highlight the work of Nigerian libraries to make a reality of development, alongside the National Librarian of South Africa, Kepi Madumo, participants in IFLA’s International Advocacy Programme Winny Nekesa (Uganda), and Tinashe Kuzuwazuwa and Shadreck Ndinde (Zimbabwe). Moderation will come from Damilare Oyedele.


Accelerators, Transformers

The participants will explore the work of libraries, both at different levels (from the local to the continental), but also in specific areas such as employment and research. In line with the theme of this year’s High Level Political Forum, there will be a particular emphasis on how libraries can act as development accelerators.

This concept – championed by the UN Development Programme – highlights the value of particular interventions that enable progress across a range of other areas. Access to information is a great example, adding to the effectiveness and reach of other policies in the fields of health, research, employment and democratic participation.

A single library, therefore, can contribute to many other actions, and so have a transformative role on society. This is as true in Africa as anywhere else, with key work still to be done to boost literacy and participation rates.  

We look forward to sharing the outcomes of the discussions!


Find out more about IFLA’s work on libraries and development.