Books took center stage in the SDG Media Zone ahead of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, in a session titled “Books as a tool for action” held on 18 September 2023.
IPA President Karine Pansa and Vice President Gvantsa Jobava, were joined by London Book Fair Director Gareth Rapley for the session, which was moderated by Felix Zeltner, founder & CEO of Remote Daily but better known to many in publishing as the host of Frankfurt Bookfair’s The Hof.
The session aimed to “look at how the book sector globally is working to raise awareness of the SDGs.” were the key speakers in attendance at the session.
IPA President Karine Pansa illustrated the influence of books in driving action. “We need to think about books in a broader perspective,” she stated, addressing the importance of diverse texts and the power they possess to inspire individuals to “gather vital research that supports decision-making.”
Pansa also highlighted the initiatives that IPA has worked on with the UN and other book sector organisations including the SDG Book Club and its reading lists for children aged 6-12 in all six UN languages covering all the SDGs. In addition, the SDG Publishers Compact has brought together over 300 publishers who have committed to integrating the SDGs into their business operations.
Gareth Rapley, Director of the London Book Fair, affirmed the important role that book fairs play in industry and society, stating that book fairs “bring people together to have meaningful meetings, discussions, and [..] driving conversations.” He expressed the successes of this year’s London Book Fair and celebrated the launch of the Sustainability Hub at the fair. Rapley urged book fairs around the world to leverage their platforms to their limits, in both their content and their delivery, as a means to engage “both industry and the wider public to the SDGs.”
IPA Vice President Gvantsa Jobava reflected on the importance of books in the context of her home country. She stated, “in my own small country with our own language,” books are a driving force for “sharing our culture to others.” She affirmed that “books are ambassadors for various nations” which “bring sympathy among people.”
Jobava emphasized that in order to effectively employ books as a tool for action, we must “keep working on strengthening the rates of literacy” and promoting “reading for pleasure in society.” She expressed the importance of education, through literacy, as an essential tool for maintaining and building democratic systems and working towards development. Jobava concluded by highlighting the positive developments of publishing in Georgia, including the launch of the SDG Book Club in Georgian, and the responsibility of publishing houses to act in the interest of society. She encouraged all countries to establish their own SDG book clubs, based on the unique needs of their societies, as a vehicle for progress.
Watch the full event here!
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