IFLA representatives were active at the 7th meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, engaging delegates, strengthening networks, and speaking up about the importance of knowledge and information for development. 

The Forum, held in Santiago, Chile on 15-18 April, is part of the process for preparing the High-Level Political Forum, which will take place in July in New York. Both fora are focused on discussing progress so far in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals and the wider 2030 Agenda.

Progress here is becoming increasingly pressing, with just six years left to achieve the SDGs. An additional focus this year is the Summit of the Future, due to take place in September, and which will bring together five years of work looking at how to ensure that the multilateral system realises its potential to make the world a better place.

IFLA was represented by Yamila Cortenova of our Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) at the Library of Congress, Argentina, while Jeannette Lebron Ramos and Maria Angelica Fuentes, Chair and Member respectively of the LAC Regional Division Committee were also present. We are grateful to Yamila and the office for this, and their report.

The highlight was the side-event held on the final day at the Hernan Santa Cruz library at the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the host for the Forum as a whole.

This emphasised the importance of knowledge and how it is managed for development, looking respectively at the work undertaken in the context of the Open Access, Open Government, and Open Education movements. Following a video introduction from IFLA President Vicki McDonald, speakers with expertise in each movement shared their own perspectives, before taking comments and questions – including from library representatives.

The topic addressed is particularly relevant with the early draft of the planned UN Pact for the Future – to be agreed by September of this year – already pointing to a better recognition of the role of knowledge management in delivering on development goals. The presentations are available from the Library website, and the recording of the event is on YouTube.

The active participation of librarians at the Forum supports our wider efforts to ensure that libraries are seen as stakeholders in wider discussions about development, as well as to work to ensure that the roles of knowledge, information and culture are reflected in relevant research, tools and recommendations.