IFLA has submitted a statement ahead of the 59th meeting of the United Nations Commission on Social Development, focus on the role of digital technologies. The statement underlines the need to give everyone the connection, collections and confidence to use the internet effectively.

The United Nations’ Commission on Social Development (CSocD), a sub-group of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), offers the primary forum at the UN level for talking about social issues.

In addition to evaluating wider progress across the United Nations, the meeting always has a substantive focus, making it possible to explore key issues which affect social outcomes in more depth.

While last year’s event focused on homelessness (see our report here), this year’s looks at a ‘Socially just transition towards sustainable development: the role of digital technologies on social development and well-being of all.’

Taking up the possibility to submit written statements in advance, IFLA has therefore shared perspectives echoing the Library Pledge for Digital Inclusion, and the Call to Action signed by IFLA alongside other organisations.

IFLA’s contribution underlines the need to avoid simply dismissing technology as harmful, or replicating old models of gatekeepers or domination of information flows by a small number of dominant companies or governments.

Rather it calls for:

  • Greater efforts to give everyone the opportunity to get online, including through public access solutions
  • Greater investment in providing skills and support, especially for new internet users, drawing on the potential of libraries to help
  • Greater availability of relevant content to ensure that people going online find information that helps them.

The 59th session of the Commission on Social Development will take place in February 2021.

Read IFLA’s Statement as a pdf.