Weekly Update: 18 February

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We finally hooked again with the Danish organization, Danish Management who has interest in working with UNDP and developed e-governance policies and programmes in St. Kitts and Nevis. A 5 day mission has been tentatively scheduled for the week of 7 March. ToRs and Agenda are being prepared by the Danish organization and government officials. The Barbados UNDP office, who cover these islands, is in the loop as well as the DG advisor located in Trinidad and Tobago. The Danes will be defraying all the costs of the mission.

Over th weekend, we exchanged several emails between Geneva, PB and myself in connection with the upcoming Internet Governance Forum (IGF) meetings that will be held in Geneva next week. The issue at stake was UNDP’s representation as such meetings. the UN CSTD, run by UNCTAD, has started a review process of IGC and held a meeting at UN HQ last December which gave little voice to civil society stakeholders. CSTD then proceeded to invite 5 multi-lateral organizations to join IGF/MAG (Multi-stakeholder Advisory Group) and received 29 expressions of interest – UNDP included.

UNDP’s interest on IFG is centered in the role that global Internet Governance issues, openly discussed and promoted on a global fora, can then be implemented within programme countries. The example of Egypt, Bahrain and others where governments can practically shutdown access to the networks denote that current national policies need to be revised to allow for a more open and competitive access. This in turn will allow both government and citizens to interact more effectively. UNDP Geneva has agreed to send a representative to the IGF meetings. I have briefed the staff member on the critical issues that we need to keep an eye on.

DGG’s work on the LDCs is continuing. I finally got to read the current draft of the revised action plan. The draft included many many comments from the donor side and almost none from the developing countries or LDCs. UN OHRLLS has requested UNDP to assist in preparing a revised draft. There are several issues here, one being that UNDP cannot and should not be seen as writing official documents. Instead, our role should be to facilitate such a process and assist in editing the document in close consultations with OHRLLS and a few LDCs. The other large issue for us that the document touches on all areas of our work and thus we should in theory involve other parts of the house. On the other hand, original the document is very weak on the DG side, a point made over and over by the donors in their inputs, so there is room for us to contribute.

Reading the comments provided in donors et. al., there seems to be a couple of critical issues: 1) Traditional ODA’s role has changed in the last 10 years and now there is need to also include in the picture emerging countries and more national resources; 2) Aid coordination and management are essential for the LDCs is they are to move forward; 3) South-South cooperation is fine but there is also need for triangulation: North, South and south (poorer countries).

I was also reminded while doing all this that in 1971 there were only 21 LDCs. Today we have 48 (used to be 50 a few years ago). What happened?

Cheers, Raúl

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