The past few years have held major milestones in cultural policy. The historic Mondiacult Declaration in 2022 resulted in the launch of several initiatives to translate the goals of the Declaration into actions.

Looking ahead at 2024, there will be new opportunities to highlight how libraries are essential to these goals.  This year, take stock, focus on building a strong track record of your activities, building connections, and reporting on your impact.

Read on for some key moments and emerging topics on the international cultural policy stage in 2024, as well as ideas for how you can get involved.

Culture and Arts Education

IFLA was a strong voice for strengthening the links between culture and education during the Mondiacult 2022 process [revisit here!]

Following Mondiacult and the Transforming Education Summit, UNESCO launched a cross-sectoral effort to construct a framework on culture and arts education that centred culture’s role in powering sustainable development.

In February 2024, Culture and Education Ministers from around the world will come together in Abu Dhabi with the goal of adopting this new Framework for Culture and Arts Education. IFLA was closely involved in the consultation process during 2023 [see our input during the Multistakeholder Dialogues here] in order to secure a place for libraries in this framework.

The current draft makes historic progress in recognising libraries. It calls on countries to broaden their concept of learning environments by establishing more sustained cooperation with libraries.

What can you do?
  • View the draft Framework here
  • Pay special attention to the articles on Research, data and assessment and Monitoring, follow-up and review and consider your role
  • Determine the key stakeholders in your country, starting with your UNESCO National Commission and your library associations
  • Stay turned for the final Framework in February 2024 and reach out to key contacts to express interest in getting involved
  • Highlight your impact on culture and arts education and share with IFLA!

70th Anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention

May 14th 2024 will mark the 70th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. This is a cornerstone of cultural property protection, as it was the first multilateral treaty to focus exclusively on the protection of cultural heritage during conflicts.

This anniversary comes at a time when threats to cultural heritage due to human and natural causes are rising faster than ever. Highlighting the need to bolster support for preparedness, disaster risk reduction, and safeguarding measures before disaster strikes is critical. Through IFLA’s role as a founding member of Blue Shield International, we connect with stakeholders from across the culture field and beyond to enhance protection of libraries and their collections.

  What can you do?
  • Learn more about Blue Shield International and check if you country has a National Committee
  • Get in touch with your National Committee to ask how you can get involved with their work
  • If your country does not have a Blue Shield Committee, look into starting one
  • Plan an exhibition, event, panel discussion, or collection of resources on cultural property protection, culture during armed conflict, or other similar topic
  • Contact with partners to join forces on an event. Your National UNESCO Commission, relevant Ministries, or museums and archives in your area might be good options to consider

Safeguarding Documentary Heritage

In December 2023, UNESCO launched the “UNESCO Memory of the World Initiative to Safeguard Documentary Heritage at Risk. This initiative offers support to public or private holding institutions, as well as professional associations, NGOs and other entities. Interested institutions can apply by 16 February 2024.

UNESCO’s efforts to scale-up safeguarding of documentary heritage at risk aligns with IFLA’s work within professional units and advisory committees to build capacity for risk reduction in the library field.

 What can you do?
  • Learn more about the UNESCO Memory of the World Initiative to Safeguard Documentary Heritage at Risk and make an application before 16 February.
  • Contact IFLA for help if needed
  • Follow the work of IFLA’s Professional Units, PAC Centres, and Advisory Committee on Cultural Heritage for support on disaster risk reduction and collection safeguarding, such as countering the trafficking of cultural property
  • Share your experience in using collections to promote inclusive, just and peaceful societies

Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity

IFLA advocates for UNESCO Member States to seek out meaningful partnerships with libraries and with civil society organisations to implement UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of a Diversity of Cultural Expressions (2005 Convention).

We have been active over the past years in stressing the importance of working with diverse stakeholders in order to achieve the goals of the Convention. Have a look at the outcomes of the 4th Civil Society Forum (2023) for a refresher on key recommendations.

This year, 132 countries are due to submit their quadrennial periodic reports on implementing the Convention.  This presents an important opportunity for the library field to highlight their impact and build a strong evidence base of good practice.

Reports are due on 30 June 2024.

 What can you do?
  • Find out more about the 2005 Convention and what it means for libraries
  • Check if your country is one of the 132 countries with periodic reports due in 2024
  • Take stock of how libraries in your country help support the goals of the convention
  • Contact your National Commission and ask how you can get involved in submitting content to the report
  • For Library Associations, consider making an application using the Civil Society Organisation form [download here].
  • Consider putting special focus on initiatives that strengthen diversity of cultural expressions in the digital environment

Looking to Future Policy Developments

One major outcome of Mondiacult 2022 was the establishment of a regular forum to take stock of progress on cultural policy. The next the World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development will therefore take place in 2025.

During 2024, UNESCO will author a global report on cultural policies, which will provide the basis for discussions at the next World Conference. This report will take into account many different sources of information, including periodic reports from UNESCO’s cultural conventions and possible direct consultation with stakeholders. IFLA will follow this process and provide input wherever possible.

The report will explore the following topics:

  1. Guaranteeing Cultural Rights
  2. Levering Digital Technologies in the Culture Sector
  3. Fostering the integration of culture in education
  4. Enabling a Sustainable Economic Ecosystem for Culture
  5. Protecting and Promoting Culture in the Face of Climate Change
  6. Protecting Artists and Culture at Risk
  7. Anchoring Culture as a Global  Public Good for Sustainable Development

For libraries, these processes provide a framework around which to approach culture in a way that aligns with global priorities and goals. Shaping initiatives around this areas can be an affective way to demonstrate the social impact of the library in a way that aligns with a broader audience of stakeholders and decision-makers.

 What can you do?
  • Consider library initiatives that align with the report’s subject areas
  • Report on your progress and share your stories
  • Get involved with advocacy on culture for sustainable development, join this upcoming webinar to learn more
  • Provide input in monitoring and reporting processes, such as the 2005 Convention on Cultural Diversity and the Voluntary National Reviews.

You can always get in touch with IFLA Headquarters for support  in your advocacy work! Contact for more information: [email protected]