Drawing on contributions from colleagues from across the global library field, IFLA has shared its answers to the survey run by the United Nations as part of its Global Digital Compact initiative. This submission is available to read and review. 

The Global Digital Compact is the latest stage in the United Nations’ work to ensure that the internet and wider digital world work in a way that protects rights and supports development.

As set out in our news story calling for contributions from across the field in July, it is likely to establish key principles that will shape the work of fora such as the Internet Governance Forum and beyond.

On 30 September, IFLA therefore submitted its comments on all of the different priority areas identified in the initiative.

In particular, in our contribution, we highlighted the following:

  • Digital connectivity – the importance of including library connectivity in planning, but also of complementing connectivity with efforts to build access to content and skills
  • Avoiding Internet fragmentation – the need to reaffirm the value of a borderless internet in order to maximise access to knowledge
  • Providing people with options as to how their data is used – the importance of an informed society, with the skills and knowledge to take decisions
  • Application of human rights online – a focus in particular on the human right of access to information and how to make this a reality
  • Promoting a trustworthy Internet by introducing accountability criteria for discrimination and misleading content – the urgency of upgrading investment in media and information literacy skills
  • Promote regulation of artificial intelligence – the need for an approach based on ethics
  • Digital commons as a global public good – the value of information itself as a public good, as already promoted through the work of the open scholarship movement

In addition to these themes, the IFLA submission also touched on the importance of copyright reforms in order to allow libraries and their users to continue to work in a digital environment.

We look forward to the next steps from the United Nations, and will continue to ensure that library experiences and insights are fed into the process.

Access the IFLA submission on our repository.