23 May 2019
Tracking Progress, Underlining Potential: Launch of the 2019 Development and Access to Information Report
IFLA today launched the 2019 edition of the Development and Access to Information report, on the occasion of the President’s Meeting in Buenos Aires.
The DA2I Report 2019 is now available for download
The United Nations 2030 Agenda, agreed by all Member States in 2015, sets out a roadmap towards a richer, fairer, more sustainable world. The Agenda underlines the importance of access to information.
Yet to ensure these goals are achieved, it is essential to monitor the performance of member states and of regions, and to share good ideas for implementation.
This is the objective of the Development and Access to Information Report, produced by IFLA in partnership with the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington (TASCHA).
Uneven Progress Towards Access
The report focuses firstly on the evidence of the different dimensions of access to information, in the context of the UN 2030 Agenda. This reflects the fact that while internet access is increasingly essential, people also need skills to use information, the freedom to express themselves, and a favourable social and cultural context.
It stresses that there is much still to do. While internet access and education levels are improving, this is not the case everywhere.
Meanwhile, the gender digital divide – the gap between the share of women and the share of men online – is growing, as is the number of countries where people do not enjoy fundamental freedoms.
The Library Factor
The report also highlights the difference that libraries can make in each of the dimensions of access to information.
Drawing on examples from IFLA’s Library Map of the World, it stresses how libraries can support learning and inclusion, and improve the effectiveness of government policies through ensuring beneficiaries know about them.
They are also key to ensuring the governments and parliaments can make the best decisions for the benefit of others.
Speaking at the launch, IFLA Secretary General Gerald Leitner said:
I am convinced that there is a space for libraries in the world envisioned by the UN 2030 Agenda. Not just that there can be a space, but that there must be. We cannot achieve the SDGs without libraries.
Expert Perspectives on Access
Finally, it includes five guest chapters from experts outside of the library field, focusing on five of the Sustainable Development Goals in focus in 2019.
These explore how libraries and access to information contribute to adult education, job-searching and entrepreneurship, as well as reducing inequalities, tackling climate change, and civic engagement.
But they also highlight the challenges, and in particular the need to think hard about what information is shared and how.
We encourage anyone dedicated to achieving the SDGs to read and draw on the report in their work.
For more details, visit the DA2I website