The first meeting of the Advisory Board for the WB’s Digital Engagement Framework took place yesterday morning. Participants included WB staff from various sectors as well as external partners (and remote participants) such as UNDP, OECD and the EU among others. We have been supporting this work for the last 10 months or so (see http://blog.raulza.me/?p=2320 for latest update on our contribution).
The WB prepared this presentation that was shared with participants before the actual meeting/call. The board discussion where a bit all over the place as many of the board members are not experts on ICT – but rather governance and development experts- and thus raised questions that needed to be asked from their perspective. This is part of the plan as the central idea is to get development practitioners to embrace ICTs more effectively without them having to become ICT experts.
A great deal of the discussion was focused on slide 10 of the presentation and the meaning of “development outcomes”. I found this discussion very unproductive and misguided as apparently the WB has a specific (and unclear to me) idea on this. One could either use here MDG, IADG or national development outcomes that countries have established before or are in the process of creating.
Along these lines, I made the point that the one of the issues to measure and assess is not the use of ICT in governance and participation but rather the ways in which ICT can change or not the way current governance and institutional mechanisms and structures work and make them more (or less) inclusive and participatory. Governance and institutional innovation thus are central to any claims we aim at making about ICTs as catalysts for change in the governance spheres.