19 November 2020

Securing SDG Success in Africa through Youth

IFLA was present at the 3rd African Youth SDGs Summit in Accra, Ghana, on 4-5 November. IFLA’s representative, Damilare Oyedele, shared the below report.

Damilare Oyedele, IFLA Representative and Library Aid Africa CEO, at the 3rd African Youth SDGs Summit

Damilare Oyedele, IFLA Representative and Library Aid Africa CEO, at the 3rd African Youth SDGs Summit

​Young people across Africa joined the 3rd African Youth SDGs Summit in Accra, Ghana on 4-5 November 2020 to deliberate and proffer feasible solutions around the theme of this year’s summit, Securing the Sustainable Development Agenda beyond the COVID-19 era. 

Achieving this will need a pragmatic approach from all stakeholders. In this context, equitable access to information can play a transformative role, enabling better decision-making, innovation, and resilience at all levels in the wake of COVID-19. 

During various physical sessions at the summit, Damilare Oyedele, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Library Aid Africa represented the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) where he explored opportunities that will strengthen contacts with stakeholders and build understanding of the importance of supporting libraries, and incorporating libraries into policy planning and implementation— most especially exploring libraries’ unique mandate to provide equitable access to information for all beyond the COVID-19 era. 

In order to facilitate inclusive responses and define strategies to harness the power of libraries in providing equitable access to information to build back better during and after the COVID-19 era, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and Library Aid Africa hosted a side event titled: Leveraging Information to secure the sustainable development agenda beyond the COVID-19 era. 

The session explored the role of information - including access to it and the skills to use it - in delivering the Sustainable Development Agenda beyond the COVID-19 era, the different ways in which libraries support governments’ work, and what more can be done to ensure equitable access to information to building back better and to drive progress towards securing the sustainable development agenda in Africa beyond the COVID-19 era. 

Opportunities to make these points also came through speaking engagements and interactive sessions led by young speakers; Elizabeth Matheus, Senior Librarian Outapi Community Library Namibia, Daniel Nwaeze, Global Youth Coordinator Global Alliance for Partnerships on Media and Information Literacy (GAPMIL) and Alice Musonda Mwape, Assistant Library Officer Zambia Library Service HQ. 

Major points from discussions, charting a course towards an inclusive approach to drive progress towards the realisation of the Sustainable Development Agenda beyond the COVID-19 era, included:

  • Encourage decision-makers to invest in libraries as ‘one-stop-shops’ for different services, given that an investment in libraries is a major step in driving progress on most of the SDGs.
  • Promote capacity development and outreach services on identifying and curbing the spread of fake news. 
  • Librarians should engage more with youth so they are more effective at translating national development plans to youth to further drive progress. 
  • Facilitate strategic stakeholder engagement between libraries and government, UN Agencies, community leaders, youth groups, and other parties, drawing on each partner’s unique strengths.
  • Provide internet access to connect vulnerable groups and people with disabilities to legitimate information. 

With emerging plans by various UN agencies, government, private sectors, and CSOs for securing the Sustainable Development Agenda beyond the COVID-19 era, it is apparent that libraries’ role in providing equitable access to information for all is important more than ever. To this end, the major points from the session have identified a more strategic and inclusive approach to drive progress on the continent. 

Access to information, Development, Africa, SDGs, sustainable development goals

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