03.05.2002 -

UNESCO's IPDC Reforms Its Working Methods

The Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) of UNESCO held its twenty-second session from 10 to 12 April 2002 at the Organization's headquarters in Paris. The session focused essentially on a set of reforms to the Programme's working methods.

At the opening of the session, the Council renewed its Bureau and elected as its Chairperson Torben Krogh, a 56-year-old Danish professional, former President of the General Conference of UNESCO (1998-1999), who had previously headed the IPDC from 1992 to 1998. The office of Vice-Chairpersons went to Malaysia, Uruguay and Yemen. Three other countries—the Russian Federation, the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and Malawi—are members of the Bureau. Nacer Mehal (Algeria) was elected Rapporteur.


The work of thesession focused essentially on a set of reforms to the Programme's working methods. Prior to submission, all projects must be prepared in collaboration with the Communication and Information Advisers deployed by UNESCO in various regions of the world or with the Programme Specialists of the Organization's Communication and Information sector and presented to the Council without formality. In order to guarantee the technical and financial feasibility of projects in the field, the opinion of UNESCO National Commissions and of professional organizations will be taken into account.


Preliminary approval by the Council will henceforth be required for all projects before financing by the Bureau. The role of the Council in the selection of projects has thus been strengthened and furthermore implementation after approval will be speeded up. A new form has been designed to improve the overall approach and presentation.


In response to the marked drop in the IPDC's financial resources—which consist of voluntary contributions—the Council has decided to focus on innovative projects that are prepared in a professional manner and fall within the framework of a limited set of priorities, namely, a clear commitment to freedom of expression and pluralism, community media development and capacity building through basic and continuous training and transfer of know-how. Other provisions complete the new approach. They include, transparency in implementation, the promotion of results obtained, establishment of a working group in charge of contacts with private and public donors, targeted fund raising missions by the Chairperson of the Council and greater encouragement of long-term agreements with donor countries and funding agencies.


The moratorium on the submission of projects, imposed since the twenty-first session, has been lifted. The deadline for presentation of new projects for the twenty-third session of the IPDC Council has been set at 20 November 2002.


Further, the Council has decided that instead of everyyear as is currently the case, one working session will now be devoted to thematic debate every other year in the year following the UNESCO General Conference. Thus, providing an opportunity for new members to be informed about essential issues related to the development of communication.


To lead the thematic debate (on the following theme: Do we still need the IPDC? And if so, why? Media Development: what orientations and what role for the IPDC?) the Programme called upon seven experts: Jörg Becker, Director General of KomTech, the communication and technology research institute of Solingen (Germany), Babacar Fall, Director General of the Pan-African News Agency (PANA, Senegal), Diana Frau-Meigs, Secretary General of the International Association forMedia and Communication Research (IAMCR, France), Barbara Gloudon, from the Communication Committee of the Jamaican National Commission for UNESCO, former Rapporteur of the IPDC Bureau, Ronald Koven, European representative on the Coordination Committee of Press Freedom Defence Organizations (USA) and Ridha Najar, Director of the African Training Centre for Journalists and Communicators (CAPJC) of Tunis, Owais Aslam Ali, Secretary-General of the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), Karachi.

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