On 19 May 2014, the 8th session of the Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme (IFAP) began its work by electing a new Bureau. Ms Chafica Haddad (Grenada) was elected by acclamation as Chairperson of the IFAP Council. The representatives of Israel, Oman and the Russian Federation were elected as Vice-Chairpersons of the Bureau. The other members elected to the Bureau are Botswana, Indonesia, Peru and Austria as Rapporteur.
Ms Haddad has been a fervent advocate of IFAP’s priorities since 2007 and in particular has supported the Programme’s realizations in Latin America and the Caribbean. These achievements include contributing to the organization of the first IFAP regional conference for Dutch and English speaking countries held in June 2011 in St George’s, Grenada, under the theme “Building Caribbean Knowledge Societies”, as a well as a range of subsequent activities covering all the IFAP priorities that have benefitted more than 30 Latin American and Caribbean countries. These activities and the subsequent best practices are continuing to provide case studies and programme orientations that are also informing IFAP’s actions in all regions and in particular in Africa and Asia-Pacific.
In accepting her new role, Ms Haddad committed herself to “maintaining IFAP’s upward trajectory of growing impact and relevance internationally, regionally and nationally and to working with all Member States and partners to ensure that IFAP plays a meaningful role in the post-2015 WSIS and international development agendas”. Ms Haddad is the Deputy Permanent Delegate of Grenada to UNESCO and since 2000 has played key roles in UNESCO’s international standard setting activities, chairing or serving in various intergovernmental commissions in the fields of communication and information, culture and sports. Prior to her diplomatic career she was the Director of the Centre for “Action and Information for Development and International Understanding” and the Vice-Chair of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA). Ms Haddad is the first representative from a small island developing state (SIDS) to hold this position.
Under the guidance of the new Chairperson, the Council identified actions for enhancing its impact and effectiveness, debated emerging trends and social transformation, and examined how IFAP could further support policy-makers in developing appropriate responses to the current challenges faced in the process of building knowledge societies. In its capacity as an advisory body to UNESCO, the Council also provided technical inputs to the comprehensive study on Internet related issues and participated in discussions with the External Auditor on the Organization’s ongoing governance reforms. The Council summarized its decisions for directing IFAP’s work over the coming two-year period in a set of recommendations that will be implemented by the IFAP Bureau in close cooperation with the Secretariat.
The IFAP Bureau is the executive body of the Council and ensures the Programme's visibility and implementation, appraises, selects and approves projects, holds thematic debates on issues of importance for the Programme. The new Bureau held its first session on 21 May, immediately after the Council meeting.
The Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international cooperation in the area of access to information and knowledge for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. IFAP focuses on ensuring that all people have access to information and knowledge they can use to improve their lives.