11 November 2019

Key Issues for Libraries at the UNESCO General Conference 2019

A delegation from IFLA will attend the 40th Session of the UNESCO General Conference, held 12-27 November 2019 in Paris, France. As NGO partners of UNESCO, we are committed to growing our partnership, and ensuring the voice of the library profession is represented during the General Conference proceedings.

The agenda of the 2019 General Conference reflects the wide range of issues on which UNESCO works which are relevant to libraries, from promoting early-years literacy to safeguarding our cultural heritage, from open education to internet governance.

We have provided our Members with an overview of key issues and relevant topics which will be discussed. We called on Member States to take action, by giving an indication of how delegates can intervene in order to support the work of their libraries. 

Here are some key issues being discussed:

Combatting the Illegal Trade in Cultural Items

The General Conference will be invited to take a decision on a draft resolution to strengthen the implementation of The 1970 Convention on The Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

IFLA stresses the importance of combating the illegal trade of cultural property and invite Member States to support this draft resolution on behalf of library associations and institutions. 

Supporting for the Preservation of Documentary Heritage

The General Conference will hear a consolidating report on the implementation of UNESCO’s 2015 Recommendation concerning the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage, including in Digital Form.

IFLA supports this resolution and invites our Member States to promote domestic implementation initiatives that can help to strengthen documentary heritage preservation and access, including in digital form.   

We also recommend that, upon future review of this recommendation, UNESCO put forward a Convention affirming its basic principles to be ratified by Member States.

Other Issues to be Discussed

We have identified other agenda points which are of interest to the library and information profession. We urge you to follow along with the discussions and think about where you can promote the role and contribution of libraries in these areas.

  • Report on the World Summit on the Information Society Outcomes
  • Framework for the implementation of education for sustainable development (ESD) beyond 2019
  • UNESCO Strategy for Literacy
  • Proclamation of Global Media and Information Literacy Week
  • Forum of Ministers of Culture: Summary of Discussions
  • UNESCO’s Global/Regional Coordination of and Support for the Implementation of SDG4 – Education 2030
  • Technical, Financial and Legal Aspects of the Desirability of a Recommendation on Open Science
  • Preliminary Study on a Possible Standard-Setting Instrument on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
  • Proposal of a Draft Text of a Recommendation on Open Educational Resource
  • Fourth Consolidated Report on the Implementation by Member States of the 2003 Recommendation Concerning the Promotion and Use of Multilingualism and Universal Access to Cyberspace

We look forward to reporting on outcomes from these agenda points as they are discussed.

You can see the full agenda and get more information about the General Conference online: UNESCO 40th Session of the General Conference  

Access to information, Advocacy, Conferences, Cultural heritage, Education, Libraries for development, Networking

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