Since 2001, UNESCO has established more than 87 CMCs in over 22 developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.
Community multimedia centres combine traditional local media, like radio, TV and newspapers, with new technologies, such as computers, internet and digital devices like cameras and audio players. CMCs are a unique way for poor communities, often in remote rural areas, to overcome common obstacles to their full and profitable use of ICTs. By integrating traditional and new media, community multimedia centres link local and global networks and bring digital tools and new opportunities within the reach of millions, opening new gateways to information, communication and knowledge.
CMCs are also recognized as critical tools for local communities to mediate changes brought on by globalization and the advent of new technologies: It is also stated that: "The CMC role in fostering cultural resilience – the capacity of a community to retain critical knowledge and at the same time adapt to external influences and pressures - is particularly remarkable". Moreover, it is emphasized that enabling national policy environments are very important for the development and sustainability of CMCs, , and it is recognized that the extent of success achieved over the years and the uniqueness of UNESCO’s CMC concept as a potential solution to mitigate the digital divide in marginalized communities.
Within this perspective, UNESCO is beginning a process of broad consultation with its partners and other stakeholders to formulate strategies for the future of the CMC initiatives, such the UNESCO review meeting of its Community Multimedia Centre scale-up initiative in Africa concluded on 20 May in Bamako, Mali.