Statement on Libraries and Sustainable Development (August 2002)

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Meeting in Glasgow on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of its formation, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions

  • Declares that all human beings have the fundamental right to an environment adequate for their health and well-being.
  • Acknowledges the importance of a commitment to sustainable development to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future.
  • Asserts that library and information services promote sustainable development by ensuring freedom of access to information.

IFLA further affirms that:

  • The international library and information community forms a network that connects developing and developed countries, supports the development of library and information services worldwide, and ensures these services respect equity, the general quality of life for all people and the natural environment.
  • Library and information professionals acknowledge the importance of education in various forms for all. Library and information services act as gateways to knowledge and culture. They provide access to information, ideas and works of imagination in various formats, supporting personal development of all age groups and active participation in society and decision-making processes.
  • Library and information services provide essential support for lifelong learning, independent decision-making and cultural development for all. Through their vast collections and variety of media, they offer guidance and learning opportunities. Library and information services help people improve educational and social skills, indispensable in an information society and for sustained participation in democracy. Libraries further reading habits, information literacy and promote education, public awareness and training.
  • Library and information services contribute to the development and maintenance of intellectual freedom and help safeguard basic democratic values and universal civil rights. They respect the identity, independent choice, decision-making and privacy of their users without discrimination.
  • To this end, library and information services acquire, preserve and make available to all users without discrimination the widest variety of materials, reflecting the plurality and cultural diversity of society and the richness of our environments.
  • Library and information services are helping to tackle information inequality demonstrated in the growing information gap and the digital divide. Through their network of services, information on research and innovation is made available to advance sustainable development and the welfare of peoples worldwide.

IFLA therefore calls upon library and information services and their staff to uphold and promote the principles of sustainable development.

This Declaration was approved by the Governing Board of IFLA meeting on 24 August 2002 in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Statements, FAIFE (Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression), Access to information, Advocacy, Sustainability, Sustainable development, Libraries, Development and the United Nations 2030 Agenda

Last update: 30 January 2017