Weekly Update: 17 June

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Yet another mission got a no go signal at the last moment. But this time the mission was postponed not canceled.

Ashes from Chile’s Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano created air traffic havoc in the Southern Cone, forcing the cancellation of innumerable flights and stranding thousands of passengers in many airports across the globe. The free traveling ash cloud also affected air travel in Australia and New Zealand once it reached the region a couple of days after the first ashes erupted from the volcano.

The cancellation notice was shared with all IPS meeting participants on Tuesday afternoon, just a few hours before I was supposed to take off to the airport to board the plane to Buenos Aires. Later in the week I learned that the meeting had been postponed until July due to the fact that the Sub-secretary of State who was supposed to open our meeting was stranded in Asunción and was unsure he will be back in Argentina in time for the meeting.

Had a great Skype call with colleagues in Accra running the Africa e-governance Academy (AfegA)project. We are finally ready to kick-start the process once again, almost a year after AfegA was formally launched. In partnership with the African Institute for Development Informatics and Policy (AIDIP, http://aidipinstitute.org/), UNDP and AfegA are supporting the Africa Digital Week event (http://www.africadigitalweek.com/) which will take place in Accra the last week of July. Part of the meeting includes a one day event on Afega which will be preceded the previous day by the AfegA board meeting.

Board membership confirmation is still fluid as many of the player that were involved in the inception of the programme have not been engaged at all in the last few months. Following its own rules and regulations, UNDP will not be a board member but will perhaps be part of the Advisory Committee that AfegA is proposing to support its work from a substantive point of view. The AfegA board will have to approved this proposal as well as the draft areas of work tha tthe AfegA coordinator has already shared. Finally, the AfegA web site is alsmost ready for launching (it is here: http://afega-aafge.org/).

Also had a call with the BDP subregional policy specialist sitting in Port of Spain. We have agreed to co-organize and co-finance a sub-regional meeting on e-governance in September with governance focal points in the Caribbean. The aim of the meeting will be to raise awareness on e-governance and ICT for Development, identify synergies with ongoing programmes to promote service delivery,  and launch a sub-regional network to exchange information and knowledge. A draft concept note will be finalized by me next week and share with Trinidad and Tobago. I have also bee supporting the e-governance DG TTF project in Suriname and exchanging information and knowledge with the national programme officer to get the programme started on the fast track. Suriname will be part of the planned sub-regional gatherings.

On Thursday I received a message from our e-governance/A2I colleague in Bangkok who informed me that he is leaving UNDP and going back to Europe to work on media issues. Apparently, his post has been abolished due to lack of funding and all his functions will be mainstreamed into the portfolios of other programme offiers in the RSC. Not sure this is great news…

Cheers, Raúl

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