IFLA attended the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) from 1 -3 July 2015 in Macau. During these meetings IFLA organized a workshop on “Access to ICTs to Further Development – Assessing the Importance of ICTs in the post-2015 Development Agenda” to discuss the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the principles of the UNESCO Public Library Manifesto, and the future role of libraries. Those attending the workshop outlined obstacles for using the Internet to provide access to information in the Asia Pacific region and shared ideas to enhance Internet use in the future.

Key issues 

IFLA invited a team of chief librarians, researchers and experts in the field of development, information communication and technologies (ICT) and communication and knowledge management from the Asia Pacific region to lead the panel discussion.

The main concerns of the panelists included:

  • re-focusing information intermediaries towards content development and their responsibility to provide information to the general public;
  • the need for access to information for sustainable development through decentralized network  telecentres;
  • expanding ICT infrastructure so that itis compatible with newer and evolving technologies;
  • making new technologies affordable to the general public;
  • improving standards and guidelines to access to information through libraries for disabled people, as defined in the Marrakesh Treaty.

In conclusion

The workshop highlighted that participants from countries at different stages of development shared the beliefs that:

  • new forms of ICTs (new applications, devices and platforms) can help overcome former barriers to equitable access to information (such as geographic isolation,  low socio-economic level, and various forms of disability);
  • there is a desire for learning and access to information by the general public;
  • access to ICTs, and therefore access to information (which is a human right) depend on effective governance and regulation of the Internet.

For more information about the Asia Pacific IGF presentation and IFLA’s activities on access to information please visit our webpage IFLA and the Information Society.