Weekly Update: 4 February

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Interesting CAP meeting to discuss he new Individual Contracting (IC) modality. The really new thing here is that ICs can only be granted for 12 months. Any extension beyond this requires the approval of the Director of the Division. The 100k limits still operates but now it seems the calendar year check is out and instead it applies to the previous year. In any event, the meeting ended with a heated discussion as to the role of Operational Specialists in making decisions on IC contracts of up to 100k without having to go to CAP. Resistance to this idea was notable. The meeting ended with no resolution.

Participated in my first UNGIS (United Nations Group on the Information Society) conference call. UNGIS is chaired by UNESCO this year. Agenda items were various but we concentrated on the upcoming LDC meting in Turkey i nearly May. UNGIS agreed to formally request organizers to set up a side meeting on LDCs and ICT for Development. ITU is organizing a prep meeting in Geneva in early March on WSIS and the the LDCs too. UNGIS will prepare a two page brochure for the LDC meeting and is requesting high-level speakers for the side event.

Got an unexpected call from the Italian Mission to the UN, following up on the Macedonia project. Italy is willing to consider changing the current e-accounting programme if UNDP can provide a report on the status/success of the project and the rationale for not continuing to support it. Italy is implementing an e-customs programme in close cooperation with the government (and without UNDP) so they are leaning towards supporting this programme. Italy also says that the funds must remain in Macedonia. Since UNDP does not really have a lot of expertise on e-customs, we will try to get Italy to support a new e-governance project with a portion of the remaining funds, splitting with e-customs perhaps..

The dreaded DGG retreat is confirmed for next week. It is supposed to be yet another team building exercise. We have done so many of these in the past that one has to assume that we by now must have a super-team in place. Maybe….

We experienced an ice storm on Wednesday. When all was said and done, we got almost an inch of ice. Impossible to do anything outside….

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