From 21-24 April 2015 the United Nations will host a joint session of negotiations on technology facilitation mechanisms, science, and other technological innovation issues, as part of the inter-governmental negotiations on the new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is the next step in the UN post-2015 process that started with the release of the Synthesis Report of the UN Secretary-General on the Post-2015 Agenda in December 2014.

The meeting serves as an excellent opportunity for IFLA to help ensure that libraries are seen as being part of the conversation.

Need for support and representation: IFLA’s role

IFLA and the more than 500 organizations that have signed the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development believe that increased access to information and communications technologies (ICTs) can help people improve their lives. Not everyone has a smart phone or computer to help them get online and public access to ICTs helps the more than four billion people on the planet who do not use the Internet. Libraries worldwide are crucial providers of that public access. IFLA welcomes the United Nations' focus on the role of technology and development as the UN has supported the World Summit on Information Society, (WSIS) in which IFLA has been an active participate for some years.

With only 35 percent of the world’s population connected to the Internet there is an urgent need to reduce cost, increase access to information and support skills development. IFLA’s efforts to combat these issues have been recognized by UNESCO which endorsed IFLA’s Media and Information Literacy (MIL) recommendations in 2015.

During the meetings, IFLA will seek the support of Member States to formally recognise the importance of universal and equitable access to the Internet; all countries should be able to benefit, but it is vitally important that least developed countries can participate as well. Furthermore, ICTs are crucial to means of implementation and increasing access to ICTs will support the achievement of the SDGs.

IFLA will be represented at the April meetings by President-elect Donna Scheeder and Governing Board Member Loida Garcia-Febo.

Next steps

From 22-25 June 2015, IFLA will be attending Post-2015 intergovernmental negotiations (Intergovernmental negotiations on the outcome document) in New York. Details to follow.

For more information on IFLA’s role in the broader post-2015 UN development framework, please visit our IFLA, Libraries and Development webpages.