Dominican Republic BTOR

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Mission to Dominican Republic
21-25 April 2003

Garry Garriott, SURF Panam�, and I visited the country at the request of the CO who recently signed an MoU with INDOTEL, the Dominican telecom regulator. The main purpose of the mission was to kick start the process for the elaboration and finalisation of a national ICT for development strategy.

The mission main findings were:

� INDOTEL is the leading institution on ICTD and has a long term vision and a pragmatical approach focused on the implementation of projects and initiatives

� INDOTEL has a young and dynamic staff which is highly qualified and has made efforts in bringing other sectors to the tables

� The creation of the National Commission for the Information Society (CNSI) is a sep forward. However, the CNSI is still not fully operational and has not met on a consistent basis. The same can be said of the existing sub-commissions (access and connectivity, e-gov and e-com).

� In general, civil society has had little participation in the overall discussions and the consultation processes are still in the works

� The discussion around ICTD are strongly biased towards access and connectivity and has almost no focus on overall development issues

� INFOTEL�s leadership has given the institution a key role which however is beyond its own mandate

� There is an apparent lack of coordination among the different actors on the ICTD field to the point that many of them are not aware of the work others are doing in similar areas.

The main recommendations are:

� UNDP has an important niche to fill by providing policy advice to INDOTEL on related ICTD issues and facilitating the process of completion of the national strategy. The �holistic� approach of the DOI has been well received by the government and other key stakeholders and will be developed within the national context
� UNDP will support the creation of a technical advisory group (TAG) that will be the main focal point for the elaboration of the national ICTD strategy and directly support the work of the CNSI
� Representatives from all sectors will comprise TAG. The consultants have identified potential candidates for this task. UNDP DR will get approval from the Government to launch this group
� UNDP is also in an excellent position to carry out the broader consultation process, specially by strengthening links with CSOs and provincial organizations and institutions
� UNDP can also support the creation of a �knowledge base� of ICTD projects and initiatives in the country and provide this as one of the inputs to the ongoing discussions

Next steps include:

� First meeting of TAG on 7 May
� Knowledge base operation within 10 days
� National consultant to undertake work plan left by international consultants
� Follow-up mission on the week of May 26

Ra�l