Building on responses from the library field around the world, we have prepared a draft response to the consultation launched by the United Nations on the Global Digital Compact. We welcome your comments and suggestions on the draft by 29 September.

Recognising how essential a well-functioning internet is for the achievement for development, the United Nations Secretary General has made internet governance a priority of his work.

Following the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, he has therefore placed the idea of a Global Digital Compact at the heart of the UN’s programme for the coming years, Our Common Agenda.

For libraries, this is an important opportunity. For centuries, it was libraries that fulfilled many of the roles that the internet provides today, allowing for the sharing of knowledge in support of the enjoyment of individual rights, and the development of society as a whole.

As a result, back in July, we asked for your views on what our contribution to the Global Digital Compact should be. There were respondents from every world region, and from almost all library types.

Of the seven themes covered in the consultation – connecting all people to the internet, avoiding internet fragmentation, protecting data, applying human rights online, accountability for discrimination and misleading content, regulation of artificial intelligence, and digital public goods – all were seen as important, with strongest emphasis on connectivity and data protection.

In the case of each theme, respondents identified key principles, as well as actions that governments and libraries alike could take. We have now summarised these into a draft response.

Ahead of the final deadline for submission to the UN – 30 September – we are therefore now asking for your further comments by 29 September.

We look forward to your input!