The 10th UN Inter-Agency Round Table calls for a common strategy in Communication for Development

20 February 2007

Around forty representatives from sixteen UN agencies, the World Bank, OECD/DAC as well as a dozen selected communication experts and practitioners took part in the 10th UN Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development hosted by UNESCO in Addis Ababa from 12-14 February 2007.

Participants from UN agencies agreed on the actions necessary for the implementation of a common UN Communication for Development approach and strategy.

The theme of the round table was "Towards a Common UN System Approach for Harnessing Communication for Development to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals". The participants agreed that the commitments encompassed in the eight Millennium Development Goals require communication systems and processes that enable dialogue and allow communities to speak out, express their aspirations and concerns, and participate in the decisions that relate to their development.

The key outcome of the meeting is a resolution which is to be transmitted to the UN System Chief Executives Board for discussions and decisions. The resolution requests, among others, the establishment of an Inter-Agency Working Group for promoting and enhancing Communication for Development within the United Nations System; the integration of Communication for Development principles and methodologies into programme planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation, and their incorporation into CCA/UNDAF guidelines; and the engagement of greater coherence and coordination of Communication for Development at the country level.

Opening the round table, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Mr. Abdul Waheed Khan said that "we need to establish a common strategy to assist Member States to integrate communication for development as a key component of development planning". Previous round tables have consistently observed that there is an inadequate focus on communication for development in development planning. If there was any, it was usually limited to mere publicity for the plans and failed to recognize the importance of sharing knowledge with the purpose of reaching consensus on development planning, implementation and evaluation.

During the Round Table, participants had the opportunity to showcase best practices of inter-agency collaboration, exchange views on the challenges and opportunities existing at both country and headquarters level, and listen to suggestions from invited experts on the kinds of strategies they might develop to fast track the development process.

A UNESCO-BBC World Service Trust Special Panel on Voice and Accountability Media and Opening of the Political Space was organized on the last day of the meeting and was attended by media professionals, round table participants and representatives of from Ethiopian parliamentarians. The meeting was inaugurated by Ethiopias State Minister in charge of Education Mr Faud Ibrahim.

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