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The Santiago Declaration: Access to Information to Achieve Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Santiago Declaration is a statement of libraries’ commitment to sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and a call on governments to provide the support necessary to realise this potential. It is a tool for librarians, libraries, library associations and friends of libraries in advocating to governments, the UN and others. 

The more associations, institutions and other organisations sign up to this Declaration, the more powerful it is, and the stronger the message it sends in support of libraries and access to information. 

We therefore invite you to sign your association, institution or organisation up to the Santiago Declaration below:

Read the Declaration


Recognising that:

  • Public access to information and knowledge is a universal human right and an essential tool for achieving sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • Public access to information and knowledge allows people to exercise other fundamental rights, and to gain knowledge, learn and take conscious decisions that can improve their lives,
  • Communities that have access to relevant and timely information can be better placed to eradicate poverty and inequality, to optimise agriculture and economic activities, provide quality education, and promote health, participation in cultural life, research and innovation;
  • Communities need spaces which support life-long learning, in particular for people with low levels of literacy, in situations of vulnerability or who have disabilities;

Acknowledging that:

  • Libraries around the world offer the physical and virtual infrastructure to guarantee trusted and tailored public access to information and knowledge, co-creation and innovation to all citizens, reducing the digital divide through inclusive and innovative information services.
  • There are more than a billion registered library users in the World, and for many of them, libraries represent a unique space enabling access to the Internet, social networks, e-Government services, publications, data, and other publicly accessible information resources;
  • Libraries are perfectly suited places to empower people through media and information literacy as a pre-requisite for equitable and critical access to information and knowledge, allowing for full engagement in democratic and civic life;
  • Libraries play a vital social role in their communities, promoting values such as equity, solidarity and trust;
  • There is already a clear position by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) concerning the post-2015 sustainable development agenda, which engages and mobilises libraries to work in support of the SDGs.

We therefore commit to:

  • Reaffirm the importance of libraries as strategic allies in the fulfillment of the SDGs, with a particular focus on public access to information and knowledge for all citizens and all communities;
  • Raise awareness among governments of the need to develop strategies and mechanisms, at the national and local levels, which will facilitate and reinforce the work of libraries in order to maintain and reinforce the work of libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and in particular which allow them to provide decent, egalitarian and trusted public spaces;
  • Reinforce the role of libraries in the promotion and dissemination of information resources produced in Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • Encourage governments to enter into agreements and pass laws, including on copyright, which facilitate public access to information and knowledge without barriers for all citizens of the region;
  • Support the development and provision of the resources necessary for the involvement of libraries in Latin America and the Caribbean in national and regional projects which aim to implement one or more of the SDGs;
  • Facilitate collaboration and exchange of knowledge, experience and good practices through inclusive national and regional initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • Facilitate discussion around library policies for access to information as part of a universal approach to human rights, as well as the right to knowledge.
  • Call on the Member States of the United Nations, in the context of discussions on SDG 16 at the 2019 High Level Political Forum, to include discussion on SDG 16.10 and the relevance of public access to information and knowledge for all of the 2030 Agenda

To sign up your association, institution or organisation, please complete the four questions below:
Write the name in the main working language used by your association, institution or organisation. The names of all signatories will be listed in the Santiago Declaration page within the IFLA website.
If you have global operations, please indicate the headquarters location. You can select more than one country.
We will use this e-mail address to be in touch about the Declaration and IFLA's broader work on development, and to seek any clarifications regarding your submission.

You can read IFLA's Data Protection Policy here or contact us at if you have any questions or concerns.
This question requires a valid email address.
Please share the website of your association, institution or organisation as it appears in the browser. We will include a link alongside your organisation's name on our site, so that visitors can find out more.