From Buenos Aires to New York: Spreading the Message of Support for Libraries
19 July 2019
In its second event of the High Level Political Forum, IFLA, with the kind support of the Argentine Mission to the United Nations, held a discussion about how to extend the success of the Buenos Aires Declaration to more countries, and around the world: Information for Development: Delivering on the Buenos Aires Declaration.
On 22 May 2019, in Buenos Aires, ministers and their representatives from thirteen countries at the Forum of Ministers of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean signed the Buenos Aires Declaration.
This underlined their commitment both to the Sustainable Development Goals, and to access to information as a means of achieving this. They also stressed the importance of libraries as partners for development, and promised to help them realise their potential in this this regards.
Thanks to the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations, IFLA was proud to be able to hold a discussion on next steps.
Building Understanding, Building Impact
The Argentinian Ambassador, His Excellency Martin Garcia Moritán, opened by welcoming IFLA, and underlining his own commitment to access to information across borders. He looked forward to efforts to ensure people better valued and made use of information and culture, and stressed his support for libraries as key partners for doing this.
IFLA President Glòria Pérez-Salmerón then set out the connection between information and development, drawing on her own experience both from home, and internationally throughout her time as President. Libraries had a unique role, she argued, in ensuring that we didn’t end up in a society of ‘knows’ and ‘know-nots’.
Executive Secretary of the Argentine National Council for Social Policies Gabriela Agosto reminded participants that libraries contributed in difference ways. Specialised libraries were essential for supporting decision making, while public libraries were key to the cultural dimension of the 2030 Agenda.
Coordinating Director of the Library of Congress of the Argentine Nation underlined his own library’s work to tackle exclusion and information poverty. He welcomed IFLA’s work in supporting its members in the region, and giving them the confidence and voice to advocate more effectively.
Finally, IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner reiterated the success if the Declaration, and urged those present to bring its messages to colleagues at the United Nations.
The Declaration, he stressed, should be a starting point, both for further action within the region, and for similar efforts elsewhere in the world.
Inclusion, Empowerment, Democracy
In the following debate, the consensus was clear around the role of libraries as pillars of democratic life. With a strong focus on including and enabling everyone, their missions were well in line with the goal of the 2030 Agenda to leave no-one behind.
There fact that Latin American and Caribbean countries were getting involved was particularly important. The good practice already on show in Argentina’s libraries offered a valuable example to others of how libraries could contribute to creating fairer societies. Argentina’s Voluntary National Review in 2020 offered a particularly strong opportunity to highlight this work.
IFLA offers its thanks to the Permanent Mission of Argentina for its support, and looks forward to working with all member states to ensure the role of libraries in development is properly recognised and supported worldwide.
See more pictures of the event in our Flickr channel.