The Colombo Statement: IDUAI 2018

“Having attended “The Asian Digital Revolution: Transforming the Digital Divide into a Digital Dividend through Universal Access”, a commemorative event held to celebrate the International Day for Universal Acces to Information (IDUAI) in Colombo on 28-29 September 2018:…

Considering the 2011 Strategy on UNESCO’s contribution to the promotion of Open Access (OA) to scientific information and research and taking into account specific needs in the countries of the South;…

The participants: …

Reaffirm the importance of empowering all citizens, especially young women and men and persons with disabilities, to develop a culture of openness and to become creators of content and innovation, including through access to information and quality education.

Reiterate the understanding of the Dakar Declaration on Open Access for the Global South, and state the necessity for establishing polycentric governance mechanisms for OA research and recommend that institutions and governments urgently collaborate to pilot and develop policies and enabling mechanisms to promote and publicize Open Scholarship and Open Science.

Call upon the governments to take firm steps and develop policies to mandate all the publicly funded research are available under Open Access; and also to earmark enough funding for necessary infrastructural and capacity enhancement.

Appreciate the Ljubljana Ministerial Statement and Open Educational Resources [OER] Action Plan 2017 which recognizes OER as a strategic opportunity to increase knowledge sharing and universal access to quality learning and teaching resources and call upon Governments and all relevant educational stakeholders, including civil society, to mainstream OER making them more broadly accessible including to persons with disabilities in support of achieving the Education 2030 Agenda.

Note the need to ensure institution-wide multi-sectoral training, attuned to people’s divergent and discrete needs, in particular those of disadvantaged groups and individuals, and designed to accustom and familiarize the community towards a more inclusive environment which can integrate the latest available technology (ODL, OER, FOSS, OA, etc.) into learning, teaching and training routines, applying the tenets of universal design for learning including UNESCO’s just published Competency Framework…

Recommend that OER be made accessible across media, including smart mobile devices and offline, in flexible and inclusive formats that support their effective and widest possible use, including by persons with disadvantages or disabilities, to learning, teaching and training, again in accordance with the tenets of relevant best practice….”