Pledging support to those most in need

    UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP) elects new leadership for 2020-2021.

    In a world where information and communication processes are increasingly influenced by new and emerging technologies, the Information for All Programme (IFAP), established by UNESCO in 2001, provides a high-level platform for policy discussion and cooperation among Member States to strengthen universal access to information and knowledge.

    Leading this work is the Intergovernmental Council for IFAP.

    On 2 March 2020, at an Extraordinary Session of the Council held at UNESCO Headquarters, its 22 Member States met at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to elect six Bureau Members to spearhead the Council for the upcoming biennium (2020-2021). In line with the principle of equitable geographical distribution, each Bureau Member represents one of UNESCO’s six electoral groups.

    The spirit of consensus, which has inspired the IFAP Council since its inception, manifested once again in the unanimous re-election of Ms. Dorothy Gordon of Ghana as Chairperson of the Bureau. Belgium, Jamaica, Malaysia, and the Russian Federation were elected as Vice-Chairpersons, and Oman as Rapporteur.

    Ms Gordon emphasized the need to work together to attain the common goals set out by the IFAP Strategic priorities. Recalling the Programme’s commitment to engage in emergent issues at the frontier of knowledge societies, Ms. Gordon underscored the continued relevance of IFAP’s areas of work for tackling some of today’s major contemporary challenges and opportunities.

    “We must focus at the country level”, she said, “and strive to improve policies that make a difference at the ground, ultimately improving the lives of those who really need IFAP’s support.”

    Mr Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, addressed the session on behalf of UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. Congratulating the new IFAP Bureau Members on their election, he went on to assure the Secretariat’s full support to enhance the Programme’s reach and impact, highlighting the current Council’s timeliness and importance: “We believe strongly in the added value of working through IFAP as an intergovernmental fast-track to achieve policy consensus”. Mr. Chakchouk also noted that the Council will continue implementing the remaining two years of IFAP’s current Strategic Plan, while in parallel paving the way forward towards the Intergovernmental Programme’s next medium-term strategy and priorities.

    Adding to this future oriented outlook, Council Members were informed by the UNESCO Bureau of Strategic Planning (BSP) on how Intergovernmental and International Bodies of UNESCO can contribute to the Director-General’s reflection on the forthcoming draft Medium-Term Strategy 41 C/4 and draft Programme and Budget 41 C/5.

    This was the first meeting featuring the current composition of the IFAP Council since its election at the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in November 2019. This General Conference also revised the Statutes of the IFAP Intergovernmental Council, reducing the number of IFAP Bureau Members from 8 to 6. The revision was aligned with the effort to harmonize governing structures across UNESCO and the UN.