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October 2006

World Congress on Communication for Development

Regional perspectives on Communication for development

25-27 October 2006
Rome, Italy


Communication for Sustainable Development

FAO will be responsible for the organization of the stream on “Communication for Sustainable Development”.

Since 1987 Sustainable Development has emerged as one of the most prominent development paradigms, but it was first after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, that Sustainable Development was universally accepted as a steering paradigm integrating economic growth, social development and environmental protection as interdependent and mutually supportive elements of long-term development. Furthermore, in September 2000, The United Nations declared Environmental Sustainability as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to be reached by the year 2015 and established to integrate the principles of Sustainable Development into country policies and programmes and to reverse the loss of environmental resources as one of the three targets to be achieved under this goal.

Sustainable Development differs from society to society, community to community, context to context and is an integral, multidimensional, and dialectic process. Therefore the Sustainable Development implies a participatory, multi-stakeholder approach to policy making and implementation, mobilizing public and private resources for development and making use of the knowledge, skills and empowerment of all social groups concerned with the future of the planet and its people.

Within this framework Communication plays a fundamental and strategic role.

Key Events

The stream will be structured around three main topics:

1. Communication for Food Security, Rural Development and Livelihoods Strategies; 2. Communication for Natural Resources Management and the Environment, and 3. Communication for Poverty Reduction and Equity Issues.

  1. Communication for Food Security, Rural Development and Livelihoods strategies

    Food security and rural development policies have been revised in recent years placing more emphasis on holistic approaches to rural livelihoods focusing on the sustainable use of natural resources, multi-sectoral collaboration and stakeholder participation in accessing rural assets. Inherent in these approaches is the recognition of the importance of an individual’s balanced portfolio of assets in which knowledge, access to information and a means to communicate play a strategic role.

    Special attention should be given in assisting governments and rural institutions in developing policies and programmes to foster Communication for Development Services in support of food security, rural development and rural livelihood.

    Key Facts

    Key events

  2. Communication for Natural Resources Management and the Environment

    For many years communication initiatives in support of environmental and natural resources management have mainly focused on the dissemination and adoption of technical packages. These efforts have only yielded limited impacts. Communication for Development offers an alternative. Its participatory approaches can facilitate the dialogue and exchange of knowledge and information on Natural Resources Management, increase the community knowledge-base, promote agricultural practices which are compatible with the environment, and develop awareness in policy makers, authorities and service providers.

    Key Facts

    Key events

  3. Communication for Poverty reduction and Equity Issues

    People’s participation in directing the course of their own development is basic to poverty reduction strategies. The issue of equal access to knowledge and information is becoming one of the key aspects of sustainable development.

    To narrow the gap between the information rich and information poor, to provide a framework for international co-operation in developing common strategies, and to broaden the access to information and to communication technologies at the community level, it is important to have a focus on the needs of communities and the benefits of the new technologies rather then the quantity of technologies available. Poverty cannot be divorced from uneven power structures, and communication cannot substitute for structural change, but Communication for Development approaches emphasizes horizontal people-to-people processes. These processes will contribute to the effective reduction of poverty as well as the empowerment of women.

    Key Facts

    Key events

A “Background paper on Communication for Sustainable Development” has been prepared to serve as basis for discussions. Furthermore, a session on “Regional perspectives” will be held under the first topic. The session will be based on the results of a series of regional studies and consultations, which have been jointly implemented by FAO and the World Bank, in order to obtain views and proposals of local practitioners and institutions for mainstreaming Communication for Development into sustainable development policies. The studies and consultations are carried out in the following regions: South East Asia, Near East, Sahel, Southern and East Africa, Latin and Central America.

The results of these consultations will be synthesized in a compendium of “Regional perspectives in Communication for Development”, which will be presented at the Congress.

Special Events

A wide range of Special Events will be presented during the WCCD. The Special Events are 75-minute slots intended for non-typical presentations and innovative ways to engage all participants. Below are those in which FAO as a special involvement.

Indigenous People (IP)

SE5 Indigenous Peoples, Thursday, 26 October, 4:30pm-6:00pm, Green

The focus on this side event is the mainstreaming of ad-hoc communication for development policies, programmes and services to foster the sustainable development of IP communities and to enhance IP capacity to appropriate Communication for Development.

The event will be organized by FAO, WB, IFAD, ILO, UNESCO, IDB, UN - Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, CIDOB and COICA.

Avian Influenza (AI):

SE12, Re-framing the Avian Influenza Communication Discourse, Friday 27 October, 12.00pm-1.30pm, Red

This event will be jointly organized by FAO, WHO, PAHO, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Communication Initiative and US AID. The focus will be on the potential impact of avian influenza on livelihoods, food security and nutrition, generational relations and the division of labour between children, adults and grandparents, and animal and human health, especially the health of children.


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