AMARC11: New management, new challenges

The 11th International Assembly of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) held in Accra, Ghana, from August 10-14, 2015, was attended by 260 participants from 50 countries worldwide. The international organization has profoundly renewed its Board of administrators and elected to the presidency Emmanuel Boutterin, who wished to "make AMARC into a great organization of the 21st century, stronger, meaningful and able to carry the voices of youth, women, indigenous peoples and indigenous cultures through community radio stations worldwide."

Alongside Mr. Bukar Tijani, Deputy Managing Director and Director of the Africa Region of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the new president Boutterin said that community radio and local media are necessary tools for cultural diversity and freedom of expression. But they are also an essential support for the economic and social development of communities, particularly in rural and deprived urban areas: "These are the only communication networks able to inform communities for free, whether one can read or not. These are participatory support tools of change, of behavioral change, and to the exercise of democracy, as part of United Nations Millennium Development Goals. These are also the only media able to inform people in case of emergencies, natural disasters and conflict."

Emmanuel Boutterin paid a moving tribute to the former president Maria Pía Matta, a "tireless advocate of change." He asked her to direct the new "Global Program of Legislation", aimed at changing national legislations in favor of community radio stations and ensuring the security of their staff. He dedicated his victory to the activist Sony Estéus, former head of AMARC in Haiti, who died prematurely: "in our hearts, he will forever guide our actions", he said to applause, in the presence of the authorities.

For her part, Maria Pía Matta said the necessary changes within AMARC began under her presidency and that a new step is needed to make AMARC more effective and closer to its members and to the challenges of today.

Francesco Diasio, Secretary General, presented the three pillars of the Strategic Plan of the organization for 2015-2019; access to the airwaves with the program of legislation, radios sustainability by strengthening their capacities and strengthening the impact through information and tools AMARC has adopted: a news agency in Latin America which has the ambition to become global, three communication for development platforms (Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin America) and a Global Fund for radio campaigns. The Plan was adopted unanimously by the World Assembly.

Associate member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Assembly of AMARC launched a solemn appeal for the agency to strengthen the means and actions dedicated to community radio.

In its task, Emmanuel Boutterin (France) is supported by a new International Board of AMARC of experts and leaders of powerful radio federations: Min Shahi (Nepal) Executive Vice President, Palmira Velasco (Mozambique) Treasurer, Vice Presidents of Regions; for Africa Karamoko Bamba (Côte d'Ivoire); for Latin America and the Caribbean: Carlos Aparicio (Mexico); for Asia-Pacific: Maica Lagman (Philippines); for Europe: Soledad Galiana, the Vice-President of the "Women's International Network of AMARC" Adeline Nsimire Balika (Democratic Republic of Congo), and the following Vice Presidents: Marie-Guyrlène Justin (Haiti), Yengwayo Kutta (South African Republic), Damian Loreti (Argentina), and Sophie Toupin (Canada).

 

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FAO, Accra hosts the 11th World Assembly of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, August 2015.