Published: Sunday 15 October 2006

The first World Congress on Communication for Development (WCCD) will take place from October 25-27, 2006, in Rome, Italy. Organised by the World Bank, the Food and Agricultural Organization and the Communication Initiative Network, the congress will bring together communication professionals engaged in development initiatives, policy- and decision-makers, practitioners, donors and NGO representatives from around the world. The site under review lists the objectives of the congress.

One of the key objectives is "Giving voice to those most affected by the development issue(s) at stake, allowing them to participate directly in defining and implementing solutions and identifying development directions."The statement's significance, however, transcends its immediate context. It indicates that the lingo of participatory democracy has found its way into notings of the World Bank and other multilateral institutions. We are perhaps none too worse for it. But how exactly the WCCD translates this ideal into practice remains to be seen. One expects the congress to come up with some answers.

That apart, the site also invites opinions that will feed into the WCCD. The organisers of the congress had also organised e-conference on Communication and Sustainable Tourism from May 29-June 9, this year. The site contains links to the proceedings. Papers presented at the Rome meet will also be uploaded here.

So, keep clicking on www.devcomm. org/worldbank/public.asp

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