11 July 2018
Libraries Leading the Transformation to Sustainable, Resilient Societies: IFLA returns to the United Nations High Level Political Forum
The UN High Level Political Forum takes place on 9-18 July 2018 in New York, discussing global challenges and defining a path to sustainable development. IFLA is there, raising awareness among ministers, officials, experts and civil society of how libraries are leading in this effort as essential partners for development.
The 2018 edition of the United Nations (UN) High Level Political Forum (HLPF) opened in New York on 9 July with a welcome from UN Economic and Social Council Chair Marie Chatardová. She underlined the importance of the forum as a hub for assembling and sharing best practice, and for taking stock.
Importantly, in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it provides a space to look back at progress made over the past year, to look forward to the work still needing to be done, and look out at the processes taking place at the regional and national levels. A key moment will be the voluntary national reviews, which will be discussed by ministers on 16-18 July.
For IFLA, it is a key moment to raise awareness among decision-makers and influencers about the work of our members – libraries around the world – and form new partnerships. It provides a further opportunity, after the successful Global Convening of the IFLA International Advocacy Programme, to put libraries on the map at the highest level.
We are therefore once again present, advocating for libraries’ role in the UN 2030 Agenda. The focus on SDGs 6 (water and sanitation), 7 (energy), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (sustainable consumption), 15 (life on land) and 17 (partnerships for the goals) offers many opportunities to do this.
SDG 11 – “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” – is particularly relevant. IFLA is bringing the “Smart cities need smart citizens” message to New York by taking part in official meetings and the numerous side events offered, taking the floor whenever possible, and connecting with key stakeholders and potential partners.
We will also be working across civil society in order to maintain the pressure for progress in New York and around the world. Inequalities – not least in terms of access to information – remain serious. Governments will need to maintain their commitment if we are to achieve success. To this end, IFLA has signed onto a joint letter underlining these points.
In preparation for this key annual event for governments, development practitioners, private sector and civil society, IFLA has ensured active participation of librarians at all regional preparatory meetings in 2018: Europe (1-2 March, Geneva, ECE), Asia-Pacific (28-30 March, Bangkok, ESCAP), Latin America and the Caribbean (18-20 April, Santiago, ECLAC), Western Asia (24-26 April, Lebanon, ESCWA) and Africa (2-4 May, Dakar, ECAECA).
We will be producing regular blogs from the event, reporting on key reflections and announcements for libraries throughout the week and a half.