Libraries, Development and the United Nations 2030 Agenda

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a framework of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a total of 169 Targets spanning economic, environmental and social development. They lay out a plan for all countries to engage actively in making our world better for its people, with no-one left behind.

Libraries are key institutions for achieving the Goals. Over the last few years, IFLA has been actively involved with the creation of the UN 2030 Agenda, advocating for the inclusion of access to information, safeguarding of cultural heritage, universal literacy, and access to information and communication technologies (ICT) in the framework.

In August 2015, after more than three years of negotiations and intense involvement from many stakeholders, including IFLA, the Member States of the United Nations agreed to a final version of the post-2015 Development Agenda – now known as the 2030 Agenda. This Agenda was adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN Summit.

In the UN 2030 Agenda, access to information has been recognised as a target under Sustainable Development Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels:

"Target 16.10: Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements." (Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)

Culture (target 11.4) and ICT (targets 5b, 9c, 17.8) have also been included in the SDGs.

"Half of the world’s population lacks access to information online. In our knowledge society, libraries provide access and opportunity for all." (Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development)

And, universal literacy is recognised in the vision for the UN 2030 Agenda.

"We envision…a world with universal literacy." (Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)

The International Advocacy Programme (IAP)

Libraries, Development and the United Nations 2030 Agenda

IFLA’s consistent position is that access to information is essential in achieving the SDGs, and that libraries are not only key partners for governments but are already contributing to progress towards the achievement of the 17 Goals.

For this reason, IFLA launched the International Advocacy Programme (IAP) in 2016, a new capacity-building programme designed to promote and support the role libraries can play in the planning and implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

The objectives of the IAP are to:

  • Raise the level of awareness on the SDGs of library workers at community, national and regional levels, and to promote the important role libraries can play in development by contributing to the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs;
  • Increase the participation of library associations and public library representatives in advocacy work at national and regional levels to secure sustainable public access to information through library services and programmes.

Learn more about the IAP

Access to information, Advocacy, Development, IAP, UN 2030 Agenda, UN SDGs

Last update: 9 August 2017

Latest News

Supporting Quality Information: IFLA, Publishers' Organisations Issue Joint Press Release

Production of, and access to ideas, information and knowledge are essential to scientific progress and broader well-being. With publishers and libraries both involved in delivering this, it is important to ensure dialogue and coordinated action on shared concerns. A shared press release highlights common priorities and actions.

15 March 2018 | CLM (Committee on Copyright and other Legal Matters), Access to information, Access to knowledge, WIPO, Preservation

Women and Libraries: Marking International Women's Day

Women are central to the well-being of any society. In turn, meaningful access to information and the defence of cultural rights is central to the empowerment of women. Meeting these needs is a major contribution of the library field.

9 March 2018 | Women, Information and Libraries, Access to information, women, Gender equality, cultural rights

The Road to New York: Preparations Begin for the 2018 High Level Political Forum

The Road to New York: Preparations Begin for the 2018 High Level Political Forum In the first of five regional forums on the Sustainable Development Goals, the importance of access to information as a driver of progress was clear. Delegates from Europe and North America, meeting in Geneva on 1-2 March, heard about the contribution of libraries to building sustainable cities and communities, and met with library representatives.

6 March 2018 | FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Development, Disadvantaged people, Switzerland, Sustainable Development Agenda