What Makes Libraries Unique in Achieving… SDG17

DA2I means building and scaling up partnerships to transform knowledge into sustainable developmentThe final Sustainable Development Goal being reviewed in 2019 – and indeed every year at the High Level Political Forum is SDG17 – Partnerships for the Global Goals.

This is another broad goal, but makes the crucial point that cooperation and collaboration will be necessary for success. In more detail, it calls for a drive to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.

The topics covered by different targets are diverse – trade, tax, development assistance, and statistics, technology, skills, policy-making – and there is a lot in there for libraries. On a more general level, libraries are well placed to participate in partnerships.

But how to explain this to decision-makers? This final blog in the series sets out three arguments around how libraries are unique in achieving SDG17:

  • Because technology transfer should be based on knowledge transfer: there is a major risk of a knowledge divide in the world, with richer countries better able to create and apply innovations. The SDGs stress that these good ideas should also spread across borders, in order not to leave whole countries or regions behind. Information is the basis of innovation, and by ensuring everyone, everywhere can find and use it, libraries not only help good ideas spread, but also support the creation of locally specific solutions.
  • Because places are necessary for partnership: when working to help people on the ground, we cannot only trust in apps and other technology. Building collaborative solutions, especially in order to include more vulnerable groups, requires spaces where actions can be discussed, adapted and owned by communities. Libraries, often the only public space in a community, can provide this, enabling other players to come together and deliver progress.
  • Because capacity building requires access to information: development cannot only be about donations or loans from rich to poor countries. In the long run, every country must have the capacity to take the best possible decisions and follow the best possible path. Information has to be a starting point and a foundation for improving the ability of governments at all levels to improve their effectiveness.

For more information about libraries’ potential in delivering partnerships for development, please see the 2019 Development and Access to Information (DA2I) Report.

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