Preparations for the United Nations’ Summit of the Future are now well underway, with the possibilities to secure helpful decisions and references for libraries growing clearer. Find out more in our new brief, and get involved in shaping the key output document – the Pact for the Future!

The Summit of the Future is likely to be one of the key United Nations (UN) events this decade. To be held in September 2024, it will be the climax of five years of reflection, launched around the time of the UN’s 75th Anniversary, it focuses on how to ensure that the multilateral system is best placed to deliver on its potential, for all of sustainable development, security or human rights.

The Summit, its main output (a declaration to be called the Pact for the Future), and the initiatives that will be launched there are likely not only to be key reference points for the UN going forwards, but may well also create concrete possibilities for libraries to engage and be recognised.

IFLA is following the process closely, and has already taken different opportunities, notably around the Global Digital Compact and Code of Conduct on Information Integrity, in order to share library perspectives.

The centralised process is now gaining momentum, as the shape of its outputs is becoming clear. We are therefore happy to share a briefing for libraries.  This provides more background about the Summit and what’s led to it, why it matters for libraries, and practically how libraries can get involved.

In addition, there is a key opportunity for libraries and associations globally to contribute before the end of the year, referenced on the relevant UN website (see under ‘written submissions’) – we have produced a short guide to help in providing responses, which should be submitted by 31 December 2023.

As part of this, IFLA was also very happy to speak at the stakeholder event organised by the co-facilitators, the Ambassadors of Germany and Namibia, on 13 December. IFLA’s intervention is copied at bottom.

If you’re interested in following this work going forwards, join our SDGs mailing list!


IFLA Intervention – Summit of the Future Stakeholder Consultation, 13 December 2023

Your excellencies, I speak on behalf of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions, a member of the Culture2030Goal campaign.

We will submit detailed comments, but here, and in line with the emphasis on the ‘how’, rather than the ‘what’ of the UN’s work, I It want to underline the role of information and culture as enablers of policy success across the board, and how the Pact for the Future can concretely make this happen.

My comments focus on chapter one, but have relevance across the chapters.

First of all, we need urgently to echo the message sent by the Secretary General, the SDG Summit and UNESCO MONDIACULT Declarations, those of the G20, BRICS, G77, EU, and most recently the UCLG Culture Summit – that we need to ensure that culture is integrated meaningfully into policy-making across the board.

This is about delivering cultural rights and mobilising cultural actors for development, but also ensuring that we place the cultural factors which shape behaviour and determine policy effectiveness at the heart of our thinking, a point already hinted at in the UN2.0 Policy Brief. For this, we need to include a commitment to treating culture not only as a goal, but as a pillar of sustainable development.

We should also build on the work around the Code of Conduct on Information Integrity, underlining the value of reliable, accurate and verifiable information. But we cannot just limit ourselves to social media regulation. The Pact for the Future should launch a new, positive, rights-based agenda for informed societies and governments, truly emancipated and enabled to pursue all of the goals of the UN, not least through meaningful connectivity and open science. As you can imagine, we see libraries as crucial to making this happen.  

Thank you.