The main objective of this two-day CO funded mission was to present to CCSS’s Board of Directors (BoD) the findings and recommendations of the diagnostic report that we completed and delivered to the Agency in early December 2012 ( a copy of the version submitted is here: http://undpegov.org/~raul/egov/country/costarica/CCSS-reporte-final-2012-12-06.docx, in Spanish). The mission also took the opportunity to meet with UNA (Universidad Nacional) counterpart to discuss the completion of the report on FOSS, SMEs and public administration. The latest draft of this report is here: 2013-01-17- estudio_SL_administracion_publica.
As expected, there is some internal resistance from CCSS staff to both some of the findings and recommendations of the diagnostic report, particularly from the IT division (DTIC). An early draft was shared with DTIC who provided over 60 very detailed comments. The final draft includes those that UNDP found relevant -but not all. The resistance persists.
With this in mind, we prepared a presentation (CCSS-presentacion-JD-2013-01-31) that focused on the big issues and took a rather positive spin on the not so good internal CCSS situation. The objective here was to get the BoD to endorse both the findings and recommendations of the report. We also planned to make a short presentation with clear non-technical messages to avoid losing the attention of the members.
CSSC’s BoD is composed of 9 members, 3 each from government, the private sector and civil society. While government representatives are appointed by the Executive, the other two sectors independently run their own processes to get their representatives elected. The President of CCSS who also chairs the BoD is appointed by the President of the country. In this context, there is indeed a wide range of political and economic interests that need to be taken into account get the board to agree on key decisions, etc.
The presentation was a complete success and in a way exceed our own expectations. BoD members provided very positive feedback on the quality and professionalism of the work done by UNDP and strongly endorsed our key recommendations. In a nutshell, we are recommending that CCSS creates a temporary “innovation” unti which will have a multi-disciplinary character and focus on issues that go beyond FOSS or ICTs. The issues that CCSS are facing today are not related to software only, as the Recommendation 50 seems to suggest, but has to do the internal structure of the agency which is ageing and is thus not able to effectively respond to its own national mandate. The “innovation” team will focus on these issues and provide a way forward with UNDP supporting the process as needed.
UNDP made it clear it will not commit any additional resources if CCSS does not allocate its own (in terms of people and cash) to move ahead. And when this happens, UNDP will provide a small grant complemented by larger policy and technical support, as needed.
- CCSS’s BoD is expected to make a final decision within the next couple of weeks. Once we get the green light, UNDP needs to provide support to draft ToRs and other technical documents for the various instances we have suggested be created to support the process. UNDP CR needs to step in here big time. We will support from DGG/e-gov
- UNDP CR is also exploring ways to start working on cost-sharing projects. It is expected that CCSS allocates between 20 to 100k to support this initiative. This could be a good way for UNDP to pilot cost-sharing projects in the country and build its own reputation in this regard
- Discussions with the UNA team were also productive. The report is getting sharper, albeit longer too. The final version will be ready by February. More inputs from our side are required to make this happen.
- UNDP CR has an ongoing project on Human Development promotion in counties and municipalities (see http://tinyurl.com/anjnn8y) which aims at promoting democratic culture and participation at the local level. Dialogue between local government and stakeholders is promoted and inputs from the people are factored in as part of key decision making processes and the elaboration of local policies. To date, no use of ICTs has been made to support these efforts. In a meeting between UNDP and the Major of one of the poorest counties of the country the issue of information access and dissemination came up. The idea is to explore the potential of ICTs, specially mobiles and crowdsourcing to support these efforts. We will send a concept note to the CO for follow-up but limit ourselves to a pilot in the above mentioned county for the time being
Senior Policy Advisor