The United Nations Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 13-16 July. 193 UN Member States attended the Conference and agreed on the “Addis Ababa Agenda for Action” (AAAA), which aims to provide a foundation for implementing the post-2015 development agenda that world leaders are expected to adopt this September. 

Science, Technology and Innovation

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) welcomes the “Addis Ababa Agenda for Action” (AAAA). In particular, we are pleased to see the inclusion of an online knowledge platform to provide information about science, technology and innovation to ensure that governments, parliamentarians, local authorities, local communities, civil society, the private sector and individuals can access the information they need to transform their own societies. IFLA recognises the value and potential of such a platform to underpin and support access to information by all stakeholders to understand their role in supporting the UN post-2015 development agenda and opportunities to document and measure progress in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.

We welcome the opportunity to partner with stakeholders to support the development of the platform. IFLA is ready to share expertise through our members and partners across the information sector including advice and standards to advance the platform. We also wish to be included as a key partner in the development of the platform from the outset.

Specifically, we commend the United Nations for recommending a platform that will provide open access to research:

“The online platform will facilitate access to information, knowledge and experience, as well as best practices and lessons learned, on science, technology and innovation facilitation initiatives and policies. The online platform will also facilitate the dissemination of relevant open access scientific publications generated worldwide.”

The importance of Open Access

We encourage UN Member States to develop strategies that will further advance access to research such as mandates for publicly-funded research to be made available open access, national repositories, and improved public access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and broadband. Improved ICT infrastructure can be used to expand communications, speed up delivery of services and provide access to crucial information particularly in remote communities. Libraries use ICT to bridge the gap between national policy and local implementation to ensure that the benefits of development reach all. This is clearly outlined in the WSIS Action Lines, especially C3, and in the recommendations made by the WSIS+10 Review HLE Outcome Document, 2014.

Libraries play an essential role in open access developments by their expertise in building infrastructure, in creating user-friendly services of high quality and in securing long-term access. IFLA has and will continue to work with global organizations and fora such as UN, UNESCO, WHO, FAO, WIPO, WSIS and othersin promoting and advocating open access to publicly funded research, educational resources and cultural heritage.

Lyon Declaration – IFLA ready to support

We are ready to support utilization and understanding of the new knowledge platform by all stakeholders. Libraries and other information intermediaries, as outlined in the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development, provide information on basic rights and entitlements, public services, environment, health, education, work opportunities, and public expenditure that supports local communities and people to guide their own development. The objectives for the platform are directly aligned with the services and information that libraries provide.

However, IFLA shares the concerns of the Transparency, Accountability & Participation (TAP) Network that the AAAA needed to do more to provide explicit and concrete commitments to implement open data and transparency initiatives, and to recognise the importance of third-party and citizen-generated data for planning, implementation, and accountability for sustainable development commitments, at all levels.

IFLA will continue to engage at the post-2015 Development Agenda negotiations in July