12th UN Inter-Agency Round Table on C4D started in New Delhi
The 12th UN Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development welcomed around 100 participants engaged in designing and implementing communication for development projects through UN agencies, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations. Bilateral and private sector donors and representatives of the Government of India were also present.
The biennial meeting is guided by the overall theme, The Role of Communication for Development in Empowering Adolescent Girls. Several background papers have been produced to guide six parallel sessions aiming to frame the context of adolescent girls and engage their participation in good practice, and discuss how to tackle outstanding challenges.
The UN Resident Coordinator, Patrice Coeur-Bizot, emphasized that communication for development has acquired new significance and meaning during the preparations of the current United Nations Development Framework in which the UN India Country Team has been closely engaged.
“The role of Communication for Development is not only, or even mostly, about the production of materials to disseminate information,” said Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Representative in India, in an opening statement. “It is about understanding social norms that guide individual behaviours, analysing this, engaging stakeholders and developing strategies.”
“Our joint efforts to integrate communication for development in UN development assistance planning frameworks have shown encouraging signs in the Philippines, Tanzania and Uruguay,” said Iskra Panevska, Director a.i. of UNESCO’s New Delhi Office. “Academic institutions in countries as far apart as Ecuador and Uganda have demonstrated their ability to facilitate consultations and engage civil society in a dialogue that may increase communication for development capacity. It is our hope that such UN inter-agency efforts will multiply and subsequently come to scale,” she added.
UNICEF’s senior representative Rina Gill underlined that communication for development accommodates a variety of methods, approaches, tools and communication channels that create new opportunities. “As the communications landscape gets denser, more complex and more participatory, the networked population is gaining greater access to information, more opportunities to engage in public speech and an enhanced ability to undertake collective action,” she quoted.
The round table is the only gathering of its kind to facilitate UN Inter-Agency collaboration on communication for development. In the days to come, the round table will share experience, promote good practice and exchange knowledge from diverse perspectives and partners. UN internal discussions and debates on 16 and 17 November will culminate with a review of proposed recommendations and next steps for follow up action.