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Interest in IPDC media project support surges

UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) has evoked a strong increase in the number of applicants seeking its support for their media development projects in Africa and in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Over 180 applicants have submitted proposals, representing an increase of over 90 on last year’s submissions which stood at only 88 project proposals.

The requested support for these proposals is estimated at over US$6,651,000, in contrast to last year’s US$3,000,000. The average cost of each project proposal is US$37,000, although IPDC currently can contribute only between US$10,000 and US$35,000 of the total project cost of projects approved for support.

The IPDC encourages applicants to seek counterpart funding as a way of broadening the sustainability base and building strategic partnerships for effective project implementation.

Of all the proposals submitted, over 70 are from Africa, reinforcing UNESCO’s Global Priority Africa. A key feature of several of the projects submitted is a focus on Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. These range from how to build capacity for effective climate change journalism in Oman and Sudan, countering ethnocentric and religious extremism in Ethiopia and Myanmar, to enhancing the sustainability of community broadcasting in Uganda and Zambia.

Several other proposals call for greater protection of the safety of journalists, such as in Afghanistan, Yemen, Vietnam, and other countries in transition.

The IPDC Bureau, which approves grants to such proposals, will sit in March 2017.

IPDC Chair, Albana Shala, has pointed to this surge in media project support interest as a unique feature of the IPDC in responding to bottom-up media development solutions which complement the Programme’s normative work on media development and safety of journalists.

The IPDC is the cradle of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and the origination of the UNESCO Media Development Indicators which promote free, pluralistic and independent media.

Ms Shala said the increased applications show confidence and interest in IPDC as a delivery mechanism for media development, and urged UNESCO’s Member States to increase their contributions to the Programme as a response to this opportunity to make impact on the role of media in advancing the 2030 Development Agenda.