More on gender and ICTs

Why Gender Matters: from access to empowerment

Unequal access to ICTs mirror actual socio-economic and political inequalities in society. The gender digital divide is thus a reflection of complex issues permeating the world in which we live. Not surprisingly, the gender digital divide is vast in low-income countries where ICT penetration levels are also low.

While ICTs and the Internet can offer new solutions to traditional development gaps, access to the latest technologies alone cannot adequately address overall gender inequalities. In fact, it is entirely possible that the gender digital divide can be closed in the foreseeable future while gender equality is not achieved across all critical development areas.

But ICTs and the Internet can empower women and foster gender equality

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ICTs and post2015 Broadband Comission Session

The Administrator has been asked to chair the first session of the upcoming Broadband Commission meeting which will take place in New York on 21 September. The session will focus on ICTs in the post215 development agenda. It seems some of the Commissioners are unhappy about the recent OWG report in which ICTs are essentially seen as “means of implementation”. The draft remarks highlight the importance of this approach as it in fact highlights the relevance of ICTs for the achievement of most SDG targets. The remarks are below.

There are now less than 500 days left for the achievement of the MDGs, the first set of comprehensive UN development goals agreed by close 200 countries back in 2000. Although progress all round has been impressive we now know that not all countries will be reaching

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Knowlege Management and Innovation in UNDP: Looking Ahead

Knowledge to master innovation, innovation to augment our stock of development knowledge

1. Earlier this year UNDP approved a new KM strategy which has 6 pillars: Organizational Learning and Knowledge Capture; Knowledge networking; Openness and public engagement; South-South Cooperation and External Client-Services; Measurement and incentives; and Talent management. Note the last three items which seem to crossover to other areas or work of UNDP and HR management. This is fine as long as those areas have similar components in their own strategies -although they seem to be a bit out of place here.

2. A fresh reading of the document suggests that one of the pillars for the new KM strategy was Teamworks. Seems that nowadays corporate thinking has evolved and TWs will most probably become

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Draft think piece on Gender and Participation

How can the new technologies empower women in politics and political situations and help them be active participants in policy and decision-making processes that directly affect their lives?

Latest ITU data inform us that while global Internet penetration is close to 40% of the world’s population, mobile subscriptions are already reaching 100%. In turn, mobile broadband Internet access has grown to cover 2.3 billion people (or 77% of all Internet users), 55% of them located in developing countries. At the household level we note that 44% of the global total have Internet access, although only 31% are in developing countries.

These numbers are indeed impressive, in spite of glaring gaps in poor countries and in access data access disaggregated by gender. Forecasts for the next few years

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UNDP and Open/Big data

Got an unexpected request from BDP to quickly provide one sentence on the role of UNDP on the above. Here is what I drafted in a rush. Forgot to ask though what was this for…

As big data continues its grow path, UNDP should be fully aware of it implications, especially when it comes to public data. While big data can be used by the the public sector to design policies and assess their impact, issues related to privacy, confidentially and security need to be properly addressed at the policy level. Where is the data stored, who owns the data, who has access to it, who decides who has access to it and what are the governance mechanisms  in place are key aspects that need to be seriously considered.

When it comes to public sector, open data can be a tool for fostering engagement with citizens,

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Panama and Open Government

We  received an unexpected and urgent email from UNDP Panamá requesting advice and help on Open Government. Apparently, the Ministry of Government of the newly elected government was asking UNDP to help in setting up ICT platforms that foster transparency and accountability, as well as lead to a possible crowdsourcing of a planned constitutional reform in the near future.

Soon after, I spoke to the office and informed them about UNDP’s role in OGP, as well as the areas where we could provide support. The country office was unaware that Panamá had joined OGP in the past and that a detailed action plan was already in place ( see for details).

I shared all OGP materials with the office who were supposed to make a pitch to the Minister of Government

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BPPS Staff Data Analysis Report

A recent report indicates that we are now creating 2.5 quintillion (1 followed by 18 zeros) everyday thanks to the explosion of new technologies and mobile devices. This is what now is known as big data.  The big issue with big data is the fact that almost 90% of such data is unstructured and thus difficult to handle and understand without proper handling.

Not surprisingly, the post-2015 HLP has called for a “data revolution” which, in essence, is a call to harness data for development purposes. The core idea here is to use data, big and small, to improve decision and policy making processes, while fostering transparency and accountability across the board. UNDP has also joined the data revolution and the calls for more transparency by opening some of its data to the public, and promoting

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More on UN's Cybersecurity paper

Late last week I got a short notice request from both BoM and ITU to join an impromptu e conference call to discuss UNDP’s contribution to the inter-agency paper we are drafting. As I was unavailable in such notice, we all agree to  rescheduled the call for early this week. The day of the call BoM was unavailable due to corporate requirements so I took the call and had a chat with 4 ITU colleges.

Essentially, ITU was demanding that we removed all references to UNDP in the text and instead use language that refers to the UN system and its agencies in general. The argument here was two-fold: 1. We should avoid lead agencies that are leading each of the 5 areas of work to self-promote themselves as, afterall this is a UN report and we are indeed speaking as the UN as ONE. 2. The report should

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Concept note for BBComm Gender Working Group (GWG) Report

Unlike last year, the GWG has set more modest goals for the annual Broadband Commission NY which usually precedes the opening of the UN General Assembly. This is probably the result of two things: 1. The upcoming change of the USG that heads the ITU and the resulting uncertainty as to the future of the Commission; and 2) Declining interest on the part of GWG members who so far have been much less enthusiastic in supporting the elaboration of yet another report  – do we really need one?

The first issue above is having both  staffing and financial implications as ITU has told us,  in no uncertain terms, that they have no new resources to support the work. In addition, ITU is suggesting that staff allocated to support the Commission might not be available after September. The enthusiasm issue

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Case Studies Outline for ICTs and Gender

The Broadband Commission Working Group on Gender has agreed to produce a short digital report for the upcoming meeting in New York on 21 September. Below is the draft outline I shared with the thematic cluster leaders who are supposed to complete 2 or 3 case studies.

Case studies are a powerful way of sharing on the ground experiences with other development peers and practitioners who might keen interest in replicating particular projects or learning from activities that might be beneficial for their own work.

The elaboration of concise and structured case studies is thus key to accomplish these goals. The outline below highlights the topics that case studies should cover.

I. Project objectives and short description

1. Potential beneficiaries: who is being directly targeted?

2. Development

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