Ongoing DC-PAL session at the Internet Governance Forum in Guadalajara, 2016

The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has just published its reports on the outcomes of its intersessional activities – the day to day work that takes place outside of major conferences.

One of the outcomes is from activity on Policy Options for Connecting and Enabling the Next Billion(s): Phase II (CENB), to which IFLA, together with the rest of the stakeholders in the Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries (DC-PAL), contributed.

The document is the final output from the second phase of the IGF’s work with the whole internet governance community to investigate challenges and opportunities for addressing and overcoming barriers to meaningful Internet access, in all contexts and regions.

In the document, the IGF underlines the importance of Internet access to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It emphasises many of the examples highlighted by DC-PAL in its submission as being supportive in achieving the SDGs.

A library hosting an employment information service is showcased as means to End Poverty (SDG 1), while libraries teaching communities to use technology and access information on new crops, farming methods, and how to apply for agricultural subsidies help achieve No Hunger (SDG 2). Library examples are covered in seven of the SDGs mentioned in the outcome document, and libraries are cited as an obvious partner when expanding the public access efforts:

[L]ibrarians are particularly well-equipped and positioned to, along with other stakeholders, provide users with the tools and skills necessary to not only access and peruse content but to also produce and share content." (p. 48)

Public access to the Internet is one of many things libraries do to help achieve the SDGs. The overall engagement of IFLA and libraries in the UN 2030 Agenda are covered in these pages.

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