International Policy Dialogue on IFAP Priority Areas focused on BRICS

The African Centre of Excellence for Information Ethics (ACEIE) and the University of Pretoria, in collaboration with BRICS representatives, UNESCO and IFAP, hosted last week an international conference on IFAP Policy Dialogue in Cape Town, South Africa.  Delegates from 18 countries, representing academia, government, business and civil society attended it and presented on research matters relating to the six IFAP priority areas, including information for development, information literacy, information preservation, information ethics, information accessibility and multilingualism.

The objectives of the Conference were to create a platform for the IFAP policy dialogue and to support the development of sustainable partnerships in BRICS, African countries and the Asia/Pacific Region. It facilitated strengthening the collaboration in the framework of IFAP to create and revitalize the existing IFAP structures in the BRICS and African countries.  The achievements and the next challenges in the work undertaken by IFAP on fighting radicalization leading to violent extremism were also addressed.

“The UNESCO structures, the BRICS countries and key African countries participated in this event towards bringing together academics and practitioners from all over the globe towards building a global network for Information Ethics in the world beyond the 4th industrial revolution” said Coetzee Bester, Director of the ACEIE and the Chairperson of the South African National Committee for IFAP.

The importance of the issues related to the preservation of diversity were also debated by the Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Former President F.W de Klerk, who addressed the delegates about the significance of promoting and safeguarding cultural, religious and ethnic diversity.  “The preservation of cultural diversity is also one of the central issues in the debate on where globalization is leading us” stated Mr de Klerk.

The current IFAP activities and the next steps in its expansion were outlined by Dr. Boyan Radoykov from UNESCO. He ended his key-note speech by stating: “Knowledge is essential. It gives to all women and men in the world the capacity to own their destinies, to make competent social choices. This is what IFAP is ultimately about. It is about empowering people, it is about transforming lives. The right of accessing and applying knowledge must become a fundamental human right that is to be upheld with greater efficiency and imagination in a spirit of equity and mutual respect”.

Highlights of the week included the opportunity for delegates to visit the Table Mountain, as well as a poignant trip to Robben Island, where the late President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. 

The Intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001. It provides a platform for international policy discussions, cooperation and the development of guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge. The Programme supports Member States to develop and implement national information policy and strategy frameworks in the areas of information accessibility, information for development, information ethics, information literacy, information preservation and multilingualism.