The main goal of the Regional Council is to promote library sector activities supporting progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The Action Plans of the six Regional Divisions were sent to the IFLA Headquarters and were approved by the Regional Council at its meeting in mid-February.

Preparing these plans was a complex process: Regional Division Committees had to reflect on the differences between the technical project work carried out within the long-standing professional Sections of IFLA, and the qualitatively different activities which the new Regional Divisions were expected to develop, focusing on advocacy for the profession. IFLA’s activities now follow a regional ‘track’ in addition to a professional ‘track’ (to borrow a term used by IFLA President Barbara Lison). To some extent, those of us who worked in the professional Sections before had to ‘unlearn’ some planning habits from the past. We are applying the mantra “change is good”!

The Asia-Oceania committee has set up working groups which are now poised to begin work on the actions assigned to them – and it is important that we show some results, which hopefully we will be able to start reporting on at the IFLA World Library and Information Congress in late July.

As mentioned, the main thrust of regional committee work is advocacy for the profession, and to build up IFLA membership in the regions. We will cooperate closely with national library associations and other partners within and outside the library sector in the Asia-Pacific region.

In general terms, it can be said that the RDC-AO aims to:

  1. Promote a greater understanding of the importance of the UN SDGs and of the value of the library sector’s contribution to national efforts.
  2. Develop a library sector contribution to multi-stakeholder activities supporting good governance of the Internet in the Asia-Pacific region.
  3. Develop a ‘resilience plan’ for advice for libraries dealing with natural disasters, work which it is hoped will also be useful to the wider cultural heritage sector.
  4. Hold webinars in various parts of Asia-Oceania for outreach to existing members of IFLA and particularly to bring in new younger members.
  5. Enrich IFLA’s ‘Library Map of the World’ by encouraging libraries across the region to participate by gathering data and telling their stories.
  6. Develop a project to assess the impact of library and information services on indigenous and vulnerable communities.

The Division’s working groups will develop links with certain IFLA professional sections and Advisory Committees where synergies are likely.

If readers of the newsletter have questions about these activities, they are welcome to write to the Regional Office at or to the Chair of the Regional Division Committee, Winston Roberts, at

Written by: Winston Roberts, Chair, IFLA Regional Division Committee for Asia and Oceania