In a little over a month, the city of Daejeon, Korea, will welcome key urban and regional leaders and thinkers from around the world in order to advance the sustainable urbanisation agenda. The theme chosen for the event – only the 7th such occasion – is local and regional governments breaking through as one. IFLA President Barbara Lison will be attending, and has sent the following message.

I’m thrilled to be participating at the Summit on behalf of IFLA and the world’s libraries. As a public librarian myself, I know that our institutions are also ‘one’ with local governments in working towards the goal of more inclusive, diverse, and informed societies.

The Summit is organised by United Cities and Local Governments, the leading global organisation of local and regional authorities. They are a crucial partner for IFLA. We work closely with them as part of the Culture 2030 Goal campaign, as well as the Climate Heritage Network, and have recently started to engage more closely around digital rights.

In the context of the preparations for the Summit in particular, we have been proud to be part of the Caring Systems Townhall – one of a set of fora established to give civil society a greater voice. Through this, we have argued and continue to argue for action to ensure that towns and cities – and their services – are designed in ways that enable people not just to survive, but to thrive. Work to deliver not just education, digital inclusion and access to culture, but also providing spaces for civic connections, learning and development of all sorts represent key potential library contributions.

Through my participation, I will be underlining these points, working to ensure that our colleagues in local and regional government don’t see libraries as only about education or culture, but as essential partners for delivering on a whole range of policy goals, inclusively and effectively.

Find out more about the Congress.