Hosted by IrishAid, the 2009 Annual Meeting of the DevCom Network took place on 8-10 November in Dublin, Ireland. The key theme this year was "Communicating Development in an Economic Downturn". A wide range of current issues was tackled during this year's DevCom Annual Meeting:
- implications for communication specialists arising from the economic crisis;
- recent research projects on public attitudes towards development;
- monitoring the impact of communicatons;
- various approaches in engaging the public;
- use of new technologies and social media in development communication;
- communicating for and about development results.
I. Key Note Speeches: Communicating Development Messages
This session highlights key development issues and debates that communication specialists need to engage with and take into account in their work. The latest annual report of the Africa Progress Panel deals with a number of pertinent issues and calls for strong action on the part of African governments and development partners. The two speakers address the report’s findings and recommendations and also share their ideas on the needs and challenges of communicating development issues to stakeholders in OECD and African countries.
II. Panel Discussion: "Implications of the Economic Crisis for Development Communication"
This panel discussion explores implications for communication specialists arising from the economic crisis: What kind of messages do we need to communicate to our publics? What are the trends in public opinion? How can we effectively make the case internally for maintaining spending on development - given broader budget pressuses? What are implications for communications of the focus on managing for development results?
III. Plenary: Public attitudes to Development
This plenary focuses on recent examples of research which gauge public opinion towards development. It also aims to address the question of how communicators can monitor the impact of their activities and how they can use market research data to shape their future communications messages.
IV. Parallel Sessions: Sharing Good Practice in Development Communication
In three sessions (1. New Technologies and Social Media in Development Communication; 2. Engaging the Public; 3. Adapting Our Communication Strategies and Ways of Working), participants share good practice and lesson learning around one of the thematic areas, which have been identified on the basis of feedback and interest by members. These sessions should also provide an opportunity to discuss presentations heard earlier in the day. Brief presentations by a small number of presenters are followed by discussion in each of the sessions. All sessions touch on the use of new technologies as a cross cutting theme. DevCom members are encouraged to share examples of similar initiatives that they have been involved with.
V. Plenary: Communicating For and About Development Results
This session gives participants an overview on the implications of the Paris Declaration and the Accra Agenda for Action for communications and informs them on the preparations for the coming and last High Level Forum (HLF-4), which will take place in Seoul, South Korea in 2011. It offers also an opportunity for communicators to help shape the HLF-4 with their input and ideas on format and side events, to make it more interesting and useful to them from a communication perspective.
- Communicating For Development Results: Integrating Communication into the Programme Cycle
- Communicating About Development Results: A Template for Gathering Stories on Development Effectiveness - What do we have to say?
VI. Plenary: Status of DevCom - What Have We Accomplished? Where Are We Headed?
Conference Wrap Up and Concluding Remarks