9 April 2014
10th Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals tackles ‘Peaceful, Non-violent Societies and Rule of Law’
IFLA continues to actively promote access to information at the UN sessions dedicated to the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will follow the conclusion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the end of 2015. Between March 31 and April 4, the Open Working Group (OWG) on the SDGs held its 10th session with the purpose of initiating an in-depth consideration of 19 Focus Areas to be included in the final SDGs, and formulating goals and targets.
IFLA Governing Board member Loida Garcia-Febo attended the session to communicate IFLA’s interest in including access to information as a key facet of development under Focus Area 19 (Peaceful, Non-violent Societies and Rule of Law). IFLA supports text highlighting access to information as a tool to improve participation, transparency, governance, freedom from corruption. Information is a tool for improving outcomes in all development areas and libraries are one of the institutions with the infrastructure and capacity to help implement this.
During the meeting, IFLA was able to work with other civil society organisations to include access to information as part of an intervention on ‘Peaceful, Non-violent Societies and Rule of Law’ - Focus Area 19 of the current document before the OWG. In addition, IFLA also submitted its own written statement to the OWG which commended the Co-Chairs on their inclusion of access to information under Focus Area 19. The IFLA Statement also sounded a note of caution however, highlighting that the current text’s focus only on ‘publicly-owned information’, limits the potential of the post-2015 framework. IFLA believes there are more information resources available that people should have access to in order to improve their lives.
Also in New York, the IFLA President-Elect Donna Scheeder made a presentation to the 25th General Assembly of the Conference of NGOs (CoNGO) regarding IFLA’s work on the post-2015 development framework. The presentation focused on IFLA’s forthcoming ‘Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development’ which will be launched at the World Library and information Congress (WLIC) in Lyon in August. The Lyon Declaration will set out a position on the role of access to information in the post-2015 framework, and make specific recommendations to the United Nations regarding the role that information intermediaries can play in its implementation. Prior to the WLIC, IFLA will be inviting interested organisations from the library community and beyond to co-sign the Lyon Declaration and work together to place access to information at the heart of the new framework.