UNESCO’s International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) launches 49 new local media development projects

IPDC Chair, Ambassador Anna Brandt of Sweden, opened the 64th IPDC Bureau meeting, attended by IPDC Bureau members representing El Salvador, Libya, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Sweden, Thailand and Zambia, as well as more than 70 observers and members of the UNESCO Secretariat.

“We must recognize that the pandemic has brought about not only a global health crisis, but also a global media crisis, fundamentally reshaping and endangering communication as we know it,” said the Chair in her opening remarks.

“The outbreak of disinformation around the pandemic, the decreasing levels of free access to information, the collapse of media financial models and the worsening working and safety conditions for journalists and media professionals, and the overall impact of all of this on the free flow of information, are just some of many urgent matters that IPDC is already and must continue addressing in all of its actions.”

Prior to the meeting, the Bureau had approved, through its rapid response mechanism, four media development projects responding to the Covid-19 crisis in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. The projects are all under implementation and contributing to fight disinformation, empower community media and to strengthen access to information via specialized, gender-transformative media hubs.

“Our work and duty in the time of this global media crisis is just beginning, as we expect this situation to bring about further challenges and curved-balls. The results of this Bureau meeting, with a new set of media development projects approved, will contribute significantly to this response,” said Mr. Moez Chakchouk, Assistant-Director General for Communication and Information and representative of the UNESCO’s Director-General at the meeting.

During the meeting, the Bureau:

  • examined 85 new project proposals submitted by media institutions around the world, out of which it approved 41.
  • approved 8 projects in the field of capacity building on SDG 16.10.1 and SDG 16.10.2 financed with earmarked funds, as well as a contribution to support this year’s observance of the International Day on Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) on 28 September.
  • approved four Special Allocations to support indicator-based country assessments; the development of new syllabi and curricula for journalism education; media sustainability responses to post COVID-19 crisis and other emergencies; and the Open Talks 2020.

In total, 49 projects were approved in 33 countries: 18 in Africa, 17 in Asia and the Pacific, 3 in the Arab States, 10 in Latin America and the Caribbean and one of an international scope.

In terms of areas covered, 16 % are in the field of fostering media sector analysis and reform, including media assessments based on UNESCO’s media and internet-related indicators (output 1), 39 % in the field of monitoring and reporting on SDG Target 16.10, focusing on access to information and/or safety of journalists (output 2), 14 % in the field of improving journalism education (output 3) and 31 % in the field of strengthening media institutions in developing countries (output 4).

All IPDC projects are gender-sensitive and 30% of projects approved are gender transformative.

In total, the Bureau allocated an amount of $ 1,394,155 to 33 countries.

Participants highlighted the effectiveness of the Programme’s rapid response mechanism, which was activated in March this year as a response to the Covid-19 outbreak, and called for the programme to further promote innovation in media development projects as well as media resilience to overcome the current crisis.

In addition to the approval of new projects, the Bureau also discussed other important issues such as a new fundraising strategy with the private sector; the IPDC Council’s contribution to UNESCO Medium-Term Strategy for 2022-2029 (41 C/4) and Programme and Budget for 2022-2025 (41 C/5); the governance of the Programme; as well as the preparation of the 32nd session of the IPDC Council and the celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the IPDC.

The International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) runs an annual call for project proposals in the field of media development. Project proposals are submitted by local media organizations seeking to expand opportunities for free, independent and pluralistic media. This year, the International Programme for Development of Communication will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. Overall, the IPDC has supported over 2,000 media development projects in 140 countries, particularly in developing countries, SIDS (Small Island and Developing States) and in conflict and post-conflict areas.