The Intergovernmental Council of the IPDC is the standard-setting and policy-making body of the Programme. In line with this role, the Council has in recent years launched three special initiatives that have reinforced its programmatic approach to media development.
- The Council has developed and endorsed in 2008 a comprehensive set of Media Development Indicators, which are currently being applied in various countries to assess their media landscapes, identify the gaps, and propose evidence-based recommendations on how to address them.
- The Council has also taken on a central role in promoting the safety of journalists and, in particular, in monitoring the judicial follow-up of the killings of media professionals condemned each year by the UNESCO Director-General.
- Having recognized Journalism Education as a major issue to be addressed in Africa, UNESCO identified twelve African institutions with the potential to become centres of excellence in journalism education. IPDC provided support to a number of these institutions to help them reach a defined level of excellence. The 57th meeting of IPDC Bureau in March 2013 resolved to conclude the Special Initiative with the Centres. A new Global Initiative for Excellence in Journalism Education is now being explored.
- IPDC has a clear role to play in 2014-21 in regard to knowledge development and circulation. It is significant that UNESCO has diagnosed the current historical period as one entailing the construction of knowledge societies. As such, it becomes increasingly relevant for IPDC to promote knowledge-driven media development (KDMD). In light of this, the IPDC Bureau, at its 57th meeting held in March 2013, approved the concept of KDMD as a new Special Initiative of the IPDC.
In addition to these Special Initiatives, the IPDC Council has since its creation acted as a forum for policy debate on emerging media development issues. The thematic debates organized during its biennial sessions provide an opportunity for Member States, experts and professional organizations to discuss specific media questions and priorities.