24 March 2017
72 countries are now part of IFLA's International Advocacy Programme (IAP)
“If a country wants to achieve the United Nations 2030 Agenda, this will not be possible without libraries. We need to bring this to the attention of policy makers and the United Nations. IFLA will support you to achieve this.” – IFLA Secretary General, Gerald Leitner.
Two more IFLA IAP Regional Workshops were held in February and March 2017, bringing together participants from a further 20 countries to join the International Advocacy Programme (IAP). This capacity building initiative was launched by IFLA in the last quarter of 2016 and has now seen six regional workshops organised, with almost 150 participants in total.
Caribbean Regional Workshop, 16-18 February 2017
The Caribbean Regional Workshop took place in Montego Bay, Jamaica and was hosted by the Library and Information Association of Jamaica (LIAJA). The event drew in participants from 10 Caribbean countries ensuring a wider representation of the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Region. The first workshop in this region took place in Montevideo, Uruguay in November 2016.
The selection of Jamaica as host was particularly motivated by the great advances made by the library community in the country, who successfully argued for libraries to be included in their National Development Plan “Vision 2030”.
Middle East and North Africa Regional Workshop, 13-15 March 2017
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) workshop was hosted by the Qatar National Library (QNL), and took place in the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) in Doha, Qatar. This workshop gathered participants from 10 countries in the MENA region, complementing the two IAP regional workshops organised by IFLA in Asia-Oceania and in Africa in 2016.
From Training to Action: Securing Libraries’ Place in National Development Plans
The objective of these regional workshops was to raise the awareness among representatives from library associations and the public library sector about the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the essential role libraries play in development, and to help participants to develop an advocacy plan for their country. The IAP participants have committed to IFLA to undertake awareness-raising and advocacy activities around the SDGs in order to ensure libraries are included in National Development Plans.
After 6 regional workshops, IFLA Secretary General underlined: “72 countries have signed agreements with IFLA to start doing activities about libraries and the SDGs. No other organizations have done this before. This is really exceptional.”
IFLA has been strongly advocating for libraries at the United Nations in recent years, with great results. However, it is crucial that the library community takes action at a national and regional level as well, and that they get involved in the planning and implementation processes that are happening now around the world.
An impressive number of awareness-raising and advocacy activities are being carried out by participants in Africa, Asia Oceania, Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean. The dedication and creativity showed by participants has really exceeded expectations: workshops, conferences, meetings with policy makers, blog posts, social media posts, journal articles, and promotional materials like colourful t-shirts, to name just a few examples. A first compilation of these was featured in the IAP Update — February 2017. A new edition of this update will be published by May 2017 with follow up actions taken by almost 150 IAP participants since the last update.
In this regard, Mr. Leitner highlighted: “I believe that a success story for a global organization like IFLA is only possible with a mix of activities on a global level and on a national level. This partnership is what makes it powerful”.