Representatives of UNESCO delegations were briefed on new developments in the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) on 29 September 2017.
Ms Albana Shala, IPDC Chairperson, opened the meeting by highlighting the success of the IPDCTalks in Paris on 28 September 2017. She noted that there were similar events to celebrate UNESCO’s International Day for Universal Access to Information in other centres as well.
“The IPDCtalks also took place in Montevideo, Uruguay; Ramallah, Palestine, Kinshasa, DRC; Sana’a, Yemen; Apia, Samoa; Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia; Amman, Jordan; Johannesburg, South Africa;, Khartoum, Sudan and Islamabad, Pakistan,” she said. Further IPDCtalks would soon take place in Beirut, Lebanon and Kabul, Afghanistan.
IPDC Council members then heard from a representative of UNESCO’s Internal Oversight Services, Mr Geoff Geurts, who explained the evolving progress in the evaluation of IPDC which had been commissioned by the Council under supervision of IOS.
Mr Sean O’Siochru, the IPDC’s external evaluator recalled that his mandate was to study the costs and benefits of IPDC governance; to assess relevance, efficiency and results during the period 2001 - 2017; and to generate recommendations.
Noting that his findings were still in draft form, Mr O’Siochru reported that he had posed questions such as “What are IPDC’s unique strengths?” and “What does IPDC achieve that other means or intervention types do not, or cannot?”.
He found that the IPDC acts as an Intergovernmental ‘think-tank’, and sets standards of high technical quality. IPDC’s support for media development projects was impartial and neutral. Another positive was the IPDC computerized system for project rollout for UNESCO Field Offices.
Within the IPDC’s priority areas, Mr O. Siochru noted that journalists’ safety projects had significant potential for positive outcomes on safety and impunity. He assessed that it was too early for the SDGs to have impact, but that the IPDC was on the right track to assist achieving SDG targets and strengthening media in the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks and inter-regional fora.
Summarising his draft recommendations, Mr O’Siochru said that it would be beneficial for the IPDC to:
- Debate and develop a strategic framework
- Build a communication platform for IPDC innovation
- Produce a package of strategically focused interventions annually, including a focus on 2 regions per year
- Reinforce fundraising with more effort by IPDC Council Member States
- Reinforce Gender transformation across IPDC activities
- Review and refine project selection process
- Ensure periodic outcome and learning evaluation of IPDC and
- Enhance IPDC secretariat position within the Communication and Information sector.
The draft Evaluation will be finalized before the end of the year and submitted to the IPDC governing structures and the Executive Board.
Consultant Mr David Souter then gave the meeting an update on the development of IPDC’s Internet Universality Indicators (IUIs).
He noted that the project is rooted in UNESCO decisions and its Internet Universality concept which built around the ‘ROAM principles’ that advocate for the Internet to:
- be built around human Rights;
- be based on Open technology and opportunities;
- be Accessible to all;
- involve Multistakeholder engagement.
The meeting heard that, like the IPDC’s Media Development Indicators, the aim of the Internet Universality Indicators was to support governments and other stakeholders to assess progress in their country. Delegates could contribute in the current phase until the end of November, through the open call for framework comments, and again in the subsequent phase where more detail would be provided.
The consortium that is working on UNESCO’s behalf to develop the indicators includes the Association for Progressive Communications, ICT Development Associates, Research ICT Africa, LIRNEasia and the Latin American consortium, DIRSI.
A final report will be completed in 2018 and the associated indicators presented to the November Council meeting.
Closing the meeting, the Chair said the IPDC is now preparing to accept projects for the 2018 year, and encouraged Member States to help mobilize resources for allocation at the Bureau meeting next March.