UN agencies round table on communication for development opens in Addis Ababa today
Today opens the 10th UN Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. The biennial event that this year is hosted by UNESCO aims at strengthening collaboration between UN agencies regarding the implementation of communication for development programmes and projects.
This year, the three day Round Table will tackle challenges and issues under the theme « Developing a UN system-wide common approach to communication for development in view of achieving the Millennium Development Goals ».
Three main objectives have been established: to increase inter-agency collaboration by introducing and promoting possibilities at national and international levels and showcasing good practices; to strengthen awareness among UN agencies on ways in which the impact of communication for development can be measured; and to introduce mechanisms to harmonize communication for development programming approaches within the UN system.
Unlike the previous round table hosted by FAO in 2004, the discussions of the 10th round table will be mainly between UN agencies and collaborating experts and intend to revisit the need for a common approach on communication for development. A forward-looking plan of action and official declaration will ensure the recommitment and continued participation of UN agencies in communication for development.
The discussion and debate will be driven by some of the issues presented in two background papers, commissioned by UNESCO and UNDP. These provide an open and transparent view of the practice of communication for development within the UN system backed by examples that outline levels of collaboration. Both papers acknowledge new challenges and opportunities particularly related to advances in information technology as well as media legislation worldwide.
The possibility of integrating communication for development as a planning and assessment tool at the country level will therefore mark prominence on the agenda of the 3-day meeting, in which 12 UN agencies and funds will be represented.
The outcome and declaration of the 10th round table will feed into the biennial report of the UN Secretary General at the next meeting of the UN General Assembly and may guide the implementation of proposed actions and recommendations within the UN system.
A Special Panel discussion, co-organized by the BBC World Service Trust and UNESCO, will be held on 14 February on the topic 'Voice and Accountability - Media and Opening of the Political Space'. This last event will be an open discussion, in which experts, representatives of UN agencies and a number of Ethiopian government officials and parliamentarians are expected to take part.