Building Knowledge Societies

Knowledge and information have significant impact on people’s lives. The sharing of knowledge and information, particularly through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has the power to transform economies and societies. UNESCO works to create inclusive knowledge societies and empower local communities by increasing access to and preservation and sharing of information and knowledge in all of UNESCO’s domains. Knowledge societies must build on four pillars: freedom of expression; universal access to information and knowledge; respect for cultural and linguistic diversity; and quality education for all.

The Organization’s thrust to create knowledge societies is premised on the conviction that universal access to information is key to building peace, sustainable economic development, and intercultural dialogue. UNESCO promotes ‘Openness’ in content, technology, and processes through awareness raising, policy formulation and capacity building. These solutions include Open Access to Scientific Information, Open Educational Resources, Free and Open Source Software, an Open Training Platform and Open and Distance Learning. Such resources allow researchers and innovators to more easily share and use data. They also provide students and educators from around the world with unprecedented access to knowledge and information.

Central to its mandate of promoting peace and intercultural dialogue, UNESCO supports the preservation of documentary heritage by strengthening existing preservation frameworks, and emphasizes long-term preservation of digitized and digitally-born information. UNESCO equally encourages multilingualism and respect for cultural diversity in cyberspace. It promotes local content production in different languages and contributes to international debates on internet governance, through participation in the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

In order to succeed in this constantly changing environment, and to resolve problems effectively in every facet of life, individuals, communities and nations should obtain a critical set of competencies to be able to seek information, critically evaluate it and create new information and knowledge. Information Literacy creates new opportunities to improve the quality of our lives. Information Literacy is also closely linked to other types of literacies such as ICT literacy, Digital Literacy and Media and Information Literacy.