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 in Ecuador. UNDP point was tha there are plenty of successful examples but what is lacking is scaling them to a national and regional scope and focusing in replicability for other countries. Copies of the TTf document and statistics and samples of the existing demand for ICTD support were also provided. They were very interested in the integration of ICT into the PRS and PRSP processes.
The delegation was also keen in addressing the issue of having ICTD as a separate practice area. They expressed some doubts about this but acknowledged, at the same time, that they have little expertise on ICTD. They sugegsted that perhaps UNDP could help them with this and hinted that a formal visit to Dublin could be feasible along these lines.
Private sector Irish companies are now interested in donating hardware, software and even services to developing countries and this can also be used to build an Irish ICTD support programme.
Reference was also made to the Global ICT center to be based in Dublin. The delegation asserted that the Media Lab Ireland was involved in this process and lookinf for support from other donors. The TORs for the feasibility study are being drafted. This process is not driven to irish Aid and they actually see it as “nebulous” and donor driven. A decision on the center will be made in 2003.