With a long list of innovative media development projects to approve and key issues to discuss, the 62nd Bureau Meeting of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) gets underway this week in Accra, Ghana.
The meeting, taking place from 30 April to 1 May 2018, is of eight representatives of UNESCO Member States, who form the IPDC’s executive that in turn reports to the Intergovernmental Council of 39 Member States.
Among this year’s key issues is support for media development projects. In 2017, a total of 63 projects worth US$1,515,607 received grants from the Bureau. This year there are 108 new proposals up for consideration.
“Allow me here to thank all of our donors, whose long-standing support has enabled us to continue sparking changes in over 40 countries through media development interventions,” said Guy Berger, UNESCO’s Director of Freedom of Expression and Media Development Division, who also sits as IPDC Secretary, in his opening remarks.
In 2017, the IPDC was entrusted with contributions from Andorra; Denmark; Finland; Latvia; Lithuania; Malaysia; Mongolia; Netherlands; Norway; Spain; and Sweden, totalling more than US$2 million for both the Special Account and FIT projects. In 2018, the Programme has been able to collect US$3 million – three times higher than in recent years.
In his remarks, Berger said that IPDC’s special initiatives had allowed the IPDC to build an important knowledge base to strengthen the programmatic fields of safety of journalists, media and Internet, journalism education, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He also signalled IPDC’s Global Initiative for Excellence in Journalism Education which has produced a collection of journalism curricula that is now recognised and followed by universities worldwide. In 2017, the IPDC has successfully developed new reference materials for specialised journalism courses, including the development of a new guidebook, “Getting the Message Across: A Guidebook for Journalist Reporting on Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Asia Pacific”, and a syllabus on ‘fake news’ is in the pipeline.
Championing UNESCO’s Internet Universality concept, Berger highlighted the ‘Defining Internet Universality Indicators’ project that was launched under IPDC auspices in 2017. The project has completed its two phases of multi-stakeholders consultations, and its eventual outcome will be presented to the 31st IPDC Council for possible endorsement later this year.
Regarding IPDC and SDGs, Berger said: “UNESCO’s role as the custodian agency of SDG indicator 16.10.2 on access to information and as contributing agency for SDG indicator 16.10.1 on the safety of journalists has been enhanced through IPDC’s global monitoring and reporting mandate, which is currently focusing on seeking more buy-in by stakeholders at national level, as well as increased use by them of the findings related to the monitoring.”
Another key issue for discussion by the Bureau members is an external evaluation of the IPDC, which identifies a number of challenges that need to be addressed, as well as a set of strategic recommendations that could strengthen the Programme. The Bureau will provide its view on these for the meeting of the IPDC Council this November.
This year’s IPDC Bureau Meeting takes place on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, of which the main celebration will also take place in Ghana on 2-3 May 2018. Holding the Bureau meeting in Africa also presented the opportunity to conduct an IPDC project site visit, helping Bureau members to get a glimpse of the impact of IPDC support on the ground.
Read the full opening remarks of the IPDC Secretary here.