8 September 2015

Call to Action: International Literacy Day

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”
Kofi Annan

IFLA together with the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Authors Forum (IAF) and the Reading & Writing Foundation (RWF) has put together a joint statement on literacy and reading which calls on United Nations Member States to support the Sustainable Development Goals by implementing coherent and appropriately resourced national comprehensive literacy strategies.

Read: Joint Statement on Literacy and Reading

On International Literacy Day, 8 September 2015,we would like to ask the United Nations Member States to go further in their ambitions to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all as stated in the Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Goal 4.

In 2011, the adult illiterate population was estimated at 773.5 million. This poses a challenge for the success of all the Sustainable Development Goals, therefore is vital that libraries, authors and publishers are made central to improving literacy across the board and ensuring that no one is left behind.

For this reason we call on the United Nations Member States to:

  • Support coherent and appropriately resourced national comprehensive literacy strategies;
  • Recognize libraries as  central in supporting literacy activities for everyone at any level of education;
  • Ensure every human being has access to books and literacy programmes by 2030 by making libraries, publishers and authors central to these strategies and ensuring no one is left behind;
  • Support, defend and promote intellectual freedom as defined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

For more information on these issues please visit our IFLA, Libraries and Development.

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