Thanks to restrictions linked to COVID-19, the 2020 High Level Political Forum will take place online, meaning more opportunities than ever before to engage from around the world. IFLA headquarters will be participating – and here we share five ideas for how you can also. 

Tomorrow, 7 July, the 2020 United Nations High Level Political Forum opens, not only in New York but around the world. While the COVID-19 Pandemic has made in-person meetings impossible, this has meant that all the events taking place are now online, and so more people can get involved than ever!

This year’s Forum – the fifth since the agreement of the UN 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – also marks the start of the Decade of Action.

With just 10 years to go to achieve success, the theme is ‘Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development’. Instead of looking at just a few specific SDGs, it will look at how to succeed across all dimensions of the agenda.

This offers great opportunities to highlight the potential of libraries. Access to information is a great example of a development accelerator, enabling progress across a wide range of SDG targets.

Through ensuring this, with a focus on providing tailored support to all in their communities, libraries are indispensable partners for governments and all others who want to build stronger, fairer and more sustainable societies.

With a new urgency in work around the SDGs, and too little progress so far, it therefore makes sense to integrate libraries fully into policy planning and implementation.

So how can you get involved in this year’s HLPF? Here are five ideas:

  1. Re-read IFLA’s blogs on libraries as development accelerators, and on the Global Sustainable Development Report. These will help make sense of many of the key themes mentioned at the HLPF!
  2. Take the opportunity to learn more about the SDGs and their implementation. The UN training agency, UNITAR, is organising a series of sessions where you can learn about different actions and perspectives. You can find out more, including about registration, on the site.
  3. Follow the main sessions – including the VNRs – and participate in the social media discussion! The full programme is available on the HLPF website, and will be broadcast live on the UNTV site. Don’t forget to share your reactions using the #HLPF and #HLPF2020 hashtags!
  4. Participate in a side-event. There are plenty going on, as listed on the HLPF programme, including many relevant to libraries. You may well need to register for these, so make sure you check, and then participate as much as you can, highlighting all the good that libraries are doing!
  5. … especially the IFLA side event on 13 July! We’re lucky to be working with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)’s Committee on Culture to discuss how to make culture more central in the response to COVID-19 and long-term development. Register now at this link, and join us at 12pm New York time (see what time this is for you)!