ICTs and Sustainable Development: Tacking Stock

Background

The idea of SDNP ( http://www.undpegov.org/sdnp/) emerged during preparations for the 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit with the perception that many countries, especially poorer ones, lacked a reliasdnpheadble information base to make effective decisions and promote sustainable development issues. The question was: how could countries take responsibility and be accountable implementing UNCED agreements in the absence of up to date information required to comprehend current situations and oversee developments in the future?

SDNP found its formal basis in Chapters 27, 37 and 40 of Agenda 21, respectively calling for a stronger role of NGO as partners, for participative forms of capacity building, and for the development of user-friendly information resources and services to encourage greater

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Meeting with MOFA on Non-Core Funding

This morning BDP and BRSP met with Mr. Nobuaki Ito, Director of Multilateral Cooperation Division, Economic Cooperation Bureau, MOFA at the Japan Mission to the UN. Minutes of the meeting were prepared by MOFA and are available.

The big idea here is the “unification” of all non-core contributions to a single source of funding. It seems that the drive for this push is coming from a purely accounting and reporting need within MOFA, i.e., simplification of procedures. Under the proposed arrangement, all current proggrammes funded by non-core contributions will still receive support. JWID will be converted into a dedicated trust fund and most probably be a special subset of the existing gender TTF.

Under this scheme, Japan will allocate an amount for all non-core contributions and then distribute

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Bridge-IT Global Support Team meeting in DC

Nokia, IYF, Pearson and UNDP held its quarterly meeting on 4 April.

The meeting concentrated on 3 central isssues: International launching for Philippines pilot in May; discussion on the guidelines for visual representation of the partnership including use of logos; set up of conditions for pilot scalability and replicability at the country level.

The launch of the pilot will take place on 16 May. UNDP RR in Manila will be representing us and will make a short presentation at the launching. The preeidnet of the Philippines will also be attending as well as the Minister of Education. Most of the discussion on the subject were logistical but some of it dealt with the specifics of the agenda proposed by the local partners.

Nokia has hired a private PR firm to develop a logo for the partnership

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Visit to Microsoft

Bruce Jenks, Stephen Browne, Sarah McCue and I travelled to Seattle to discuss with MS potential partnership on e-learning and related initiatives. The meeting took place on Friday 21 March 2003. Here are my notes.

MS key ideas and issues

– MS has rallied three parts of the company to work along the lines of the CTCs which is essentially a concept emerging from the community affairs division. It seems that the other divisions are helping to develop the concept by bringing content and training expertise to the table

– MS has apparently done quite a bit on research in trying to identify real needs at the community level and learning. Their initial target is the “disadvantaged youth and adults”. They have a great deal of concern in exactly knowing “who” there groups are at the local level

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Bridge-IT/Nokia Partnership meeting

The Global Support Team (GST) of the Bridge-IT partnership (Nokia, IYF, Pearson and UNDP) held its 5th formal meeting at the offices of Pearson in New York City. The core of the meeting dealt with issues related to the ongoing pilot and the upcoming formal launching of the initiative that will take place in Manila on 16 May (still tentative but looking solid).

Discussions centered mostly around the PR issues surrounding the launching as well as a communications strategy for the global partnership. Also on the table were proposals for a Bridge-IT logo and use of the logos of each of the partners. UNDP once again clarified the rules and regulations issues around the use of its logo.

UNDP has recruited a national consultant working under the supervision of the RR who will be essentially documenting

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Irish Aid Meeting

Today, Stephen, Sarah and myself met with an Irish Aid delegation which included Mr. Tom Hanney- Director, Multilateral UN Policy, Ms. Dympna Hayes Deputy Director, Multilateral UN Policy, and Ms. Joana Betson, First Secretary. Mission of Ireland to the UN.

The delegation had great interest in hearing from UNDP about the relevance of ICT into the other key areas of work as well as concrete examples at the country level where this has been successful. They specifically mentioned ICT and health as apparently a pilot in taking place there under thier auspices.

UNDP provided them with copies of the DOI, pointing to the various examples presented there on ICT and the MDGs. Other examples were provided verbally such as the Mozambique case and the ICT and entrepreneurship programme which is ongoing

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Private Sector RM Strategy

Yesterday, Sarah and I met with Casper Sonneson from BRSP to discuss the above.

BRSP has some resources and consultants that can work full time on this. They are planning to do a pilot on two practice ares, ICTD and Energy. The consultants are former McKinsey staff that left the company to create their own outfit. Part of the staff is currently engaged in the ERP/PeopleSoft deployment at UNDP in OIST and related.

The idea is to have, in the end, better materials, products and services that can be presented in a strategic fashion to potential private sector partners. The target here is not only multi-nationals but also local developing country companies as well as developing country companies that can operate internationally (S2S cooperation), etc.. This is actually mentioned in the draft

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NetAid

Yesterday afternoon I met with Bea Bezmalinovic, NetAid Online Volunteer Programme Manager.

For the last 18 months or so, we have had several discussions with NetAid reps on how to bring their initiatives closer to developing countries using some of the successful SDNP networks. The latest proposal is to have a two country pilot where we can test the idea of having international volunteers support ongoing local efforts. The critical element here is to get the supply of volunteers (which NetAid says is large) with specific local demands that could be catered through this mechanism. An initial pitch will be made to SDNPs in Honduras and Pakistan follow by a quick needs assessment for each of them to identify 2-3 activities that could be supported by the volunteer network. NetAid has offered

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Wireless Internet Institute (W2I)

Yesterday I had a rather longish lunch with Daniel Aghion, Executive Director of W2i.

Wi-Fi is exploding all over the place given both its low costs and easy access to the networks. It has a lot of potential in developing contries also for this reasons, potential that fits within the context of a sound last mile solution (and not backbone as some are promoting). The technology is currently evolving and future versions are expected to support bandwidths of over 50 Mbps (from 11 Mbps today).

W2i is a for profit think tank that seeks to promote wireless technologies by creating a policy and implementation framework based on consensus to deploy the technologies. From our point of view, they also have an interest on a) Wi-Fi and Spectrum Policy/regulation; b) Wi-Fi and economic development; and

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HP MD Finance Follow-up

Spoke to Janine earlier today. She is excited after the summit last week in NY. They found out that a) they need to be more proactive in developing “the solutiton” instead of waiting for the industry to come up with one; and b) they are glad to report that Mckinsey will become a full partner soon as they committed two full staff to the previous week and hired a web designer to work on the web site which they will probably end up hosting.

They are planning a meeting in DC in early December with a small group of experts to work on “the solution”. She was also interested in discussing the best way to reach stakeholders in developing countries for getting feedback on their work. I suggested email lists (of course!) instead of web-based solutions that are totally inaccesible and even unaffordable

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