IFLA statement at the 8th meeting of the Open Working Group (OWG) on sustainable development goals
by Stuart Hamilton
“Conflict prevention, post-conflict peacebuilding and promotion of durable peace, rule of law and governance”.
Thank you Mr. Co-Chair for giving the floor to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions – or IFLA – the global voice of libraries and their users.
IFLA would like to thank the Co-Chairs for their report on the 6th meeting of the Open Working Group where they expressly recognised the fact that access to information is a pre-requisite for development. IFLA could not agree more: access to information is a fundamental human right that can break the cycle of poverty and support sustainable development. The library is often the only place in many communities where people can access information that will help improve their education, develop new skills, find jobs, build businesses, make informed agricultural and health decisions, or gain insights into environmental issues.
In December IFLA launched a joint statement with other CSOs1 that called for access to information to be made central to all aspects of the post-2015 development agenda. In this statement we recognised the role that access to information plays in transforming individuals’ relationships with governance and the rule of law. A clear focus on the right to information in the post-2015 agenda would: promote participatory development; make all governments more accountable for meeting their commitments; and provide a means to promote progress on accountability, transparency, good governance, participation and empowerment.
Furthermore, we believe this progress can be measured. Our statement, which will be available on the Sustainable Development web platform, sets out targets that can be used to assess the relationship between access to information and governance. Existing UN metrics, such as the ITU and UNESCO’s indicators on the World Summit on the Information Society, can be used alongside emerging indices such as the CIVICUS Civil Society Enabling Index, or indices relating to open government and open data policies. We are hopeful that the Open Working Group will consider including targets on access to information and governance, and ask that libraries be recognised as a strong partner for supporting and implementing all of the SDGs at a community level.
Last update: 7 July 2017