Weekly Update – 22 June

Now that Rio+20 is over, I expect the work on post0-2015 will accelerate in the coming  weeks, specially after senior managers return to NY after their holidays. While Rio in the did come up with some sort of agreement (very long indeed, see http://www.uncsd2012.org/thefuturewewant.html), we managed to meet with the Germans who are contributing 1 million Euros to the post-2015 process and have expressed keen interest in funding the Global Thematic meeting on Governance and Accountability.

The issues at stake where essentially logistical and relate to both the location of and date for the meeting. Germany had submitted to us a proposal to have the meeting in October, piggybacking on the Pan Africa Parliamentary meeting that will take place in South Africa. Since DGG want to have a bottom-up approach and include as many of the national consultations processes as possible, the date seemed a bit early. Germany seemed to agreed on this but also indicated that the resources might have to be spent in 2012 for budgetary reasons. In the end, we did not really agree to much and as far as I understand we did not really move forward as much as expected. Follow-up consultations will take place soon…

This week I was in contact with the following country offices and countries: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Myanmar,  Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Swaziland, South Sudan, and Ukraine.

I spent most of Friday on a BCPR/USAID meeting who are co-financing the production of several case studies on the impact of new “technologies” in the prevention of violent conflict.The study has been commissioned to the International Peace Institute (IPI,  http://www.ipacademy.org/). An advisory board comprised of 25 people (mostly US) has been created by the partners. And this was the first and only meeting the board will be having. The discussions focused on the draft paper that IPI had produced for the occasion (documents are here: http://undpegov.org/~raul/egov/bcpr). Patrick Meier who is now with the Qatar foundation was connected via Skype and shared this blog (http://irevolution.net/2012/06/17/innovative-technology-and-conflict-prevention/) with the group.

The discussions where divided in three broad sections, the first one being the more general one. And it was indeed. The other two sessions focuses more on the methodology and the actual selection of case studies. While all of us provided many inputs, it was clear after the first 90 minutes that there was no agreement on the specifics. I was in fact surprised that IPI had not bee able to furnish the group with a solid analytical framework and some criteria for the selection of country case studies (check the draft methodology to see what I mean). This led to an impasse which then forced the organizers to create working groups of 4 to discuss the issues. But even that did not quite work as time essentially run out and IPI was left scrambling.

I am not 100 % sure what the issue is but as I see it IPI does not have the required ICT expertise to be able to plug in the new technologies into the relative old field of conflict prevention and early warning systems.But this alone does not explain in its totality the apparent lack of academic rigor that the current draft evidences. I heard BCPR/USAID share some of these concerns and will be taking some action the week of 2 July.

Cheers, Raúl

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