“Information and communications technologies have the potential to provide new solutions to development challenges, particularly in the context of globalization, and can foster economic growth, competitiveness, access to information and knowledge, poverty eradication and social inclusion.” — UN General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/65/141)
Over 40 years ago, the United Nations General Assembly mandated World Information Development Day to bring attention to development problems and encourage international cooperative to improve them. Our Development and Access to Information focuses on the importance of access to information in order to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In a recent report, TASCHA and IFLA demonstrated how access to information enables social, economic, and political development in numerous ways. The report examines multiple facets of access – infrastructure, social contexts, capabilities, and policy and law – and explores how libraries act as equal agents of information access.
Access to information can help lift people out of poverty, promote gender equality, and create opportunities for youth. However, its transformative potential is bounded by local, social, political, and economic forces. While ICT infrastructure is key to achieving the SDGs, the physical tools that provide access to information are not enough. To help create more just and equal societies, the access must be meaningful.
Meaningful access to information requires four key elements:
- Information and communications access infrastructure
- A positive social context for use
- Sufficient capabilities in communities and their members
- A favorable legal and policy landscape
Our research indicates that an information-empowered society is better placed to create and share data which can further drive improvements in agriculture, health, economic empowerment, efficient infrastructure and innovation. However, delivering meaningful access itself will need to be a team effort. Laws, regulations, investments, and infrastructure will need to align, and global, national and local efforts will need to be coordinated. A well-supported library sector will play a major part in delivering success.
Read the report, executive summary, and fact sheet for more analysis, findings, and recommendations. Stay tuned for more materials (infographics, visualizations, datasets, etc.) from Development and Access to Information. Learn more at da2i.ifla.org.
- Full Report (PDF)
- Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Executive Summary – English (PDF) (also available in Chinese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish)