Access to Information as a 2015 UN ‘Sustainable Development Goal’

Library of Congress Literacy Awards

Most of us take for granted our ability to easily access information, almost wherever and whenever we want. Books, computers, and cell phones are standard tools in our homes, schools and offices.

Now, imagine that for one day, you couldn’t use the Internet or read books. You couldn’t check your email, scan the news online, or log into Facebook. If you had a question about something, you couldn’t simply Google it. You couldn’t even visit a library to find the answer in a book.


For millions of people around the globe, that’s not just an imaginary situation. Three-quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas, often without access to the most basic information in the form of books or the Internet.


In 2000, the United Nations (UN) set forth eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – shared goals for ending extreme poverty in all forms. When the MDG framework expires in 2015, the UN will adopt a new development agenda: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


At READ Global, we believe that access to information should be a central component of that post-2015 UN agenda.


As a member of Beyond Access, a global initiative focused on public libraries as key to social and economic development, we are proud to partner with IREX, IFLA, and other groups that are leading the call for the UN to include access to information and technology in the SDGs.


“We believe that access to information is vital to every development outcome — everything from health to agriculture to supporting open government, ensuring that communities and individuals can pursue opportunities after programs and grant funding end.” – Beyond Access


So how can you help?

  • Sign the Lyon Declaration to show your support for including access to information in the new UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Read this blog post by Beyond Access to learn more about why access to information is so important to the post-2015 development framework – and about the role that libraries play in this effort.
  • For libraries and other civil society organizations: Check out IFLA’s advocacy Toolkit to find background on the issues and practical advice on how to set up meetings with government representatives.

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