Volume 14, No.8 - August 2010

Trends and analysis

Exchanging information on civil registration and vital statistics

Conference of African Ministers Responsible for Civil Registration will be held from 13-14 August in Addis Ababa

The Conference will be preceded by a preparatory meeting of experts from 9-11 August. The theme of the Conference is “Towards Improved Civil Status Information for Efficient Public Administration and Generation of Statistics for National Development and MDG Monitoring in Africa”.

The Conference is expected to achieve: the creation of a high-level regional platform for exchanging information on civil registration and vital statistics; enhanced awareness and commitment of African governments in the development of these systems; and endorsing resolutions and recommendations that would lead and govern African civil registration and vital statistics systems for the coming years.

DESA’s Statistics Division will participate on several levels; the Director will deliver a keynote address at the Conference and resource persons will support the ECA in substantive issues and by delivering key presentations on international standards for developing civil registration and vital statistics systems at both the preparatory meeting and the Conference.

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Designing MDG Electronic Centre

Preparatory meeting for the presentation of the MDG Electronic Center in the context of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly, will be held by GAID on 1-2 September

The principal objective of the preparatory meeting is to finalize, through an interactive discussion and exchange of ideas and suggestions among high-level representatives of all relevant stakeholders, the design and features of the eCenter in preparation for a presentation of a fully operational version to Member States in the context of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on 20-22 September this year.

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Engaging citizens for MDG progress

Workshop on “Citizens’ Engagement in Development Management for Advancing towards the MDGs” took place in Barcelona, Spain from 21 and 22 June

As part of a number of activities co-organized by DPADM and the Government of Catalonia to celebrate this year’s Public Service Day the workshop developed the following concrete outputs: the publication of a report; a publication on guidelines for local and national governments to promote citizens engagement; an on-line training course on engagement of women in development matters; a global knowledge base on practices, legislation and institutions for citizens engagement and a battery of innovative tools based on ICT applications to facilitate the engagement of citizens. Finally, through conversations with participants from different countries, possibilities for future technical cooperation projects to be funded externally were explored.

The workshop gathered an average of 75 participants from 23 countries of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Latin America. Through presentations from experts and practitioners, and group discussions, participants discussed the potential of open government practices to include diverse modalities of participation of citizens in public policies and services for achieving the MDGs.

A large variety of national contexts were referred to, ranging from advanced countries in which the focus is on citizens engagement for its contribution to widening people’s rights and deepening democracy, to developing countries in which citizens engagement can help government design and implement policies and deliver services in ways that are more people-centered, responsive, inclusive, equitable, efficient and sustainable.

Country and sub-national experiences were revisited from Argentina, Catalonia, Jordan, Kenya and Russia. Winners of the 2010 UN Public Service Awards in the category of engaging citizens in public development affairs presented their respective innovations, from Brazil, Italy, Japan and Lebanon. In addition, a number of ICT-tools to facilitate citizens’ engagement were presented by participants from Australia, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.

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Networks for national development

International Conference on Good Governance for National Development was held in Seoul on 17-18 June 2010

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), UNPOG and UNDESA jointly sponsored this two-day workshop on good governance for national development. Mr. Aquaro presented UNDESA’s views on the key linkages between e-government and public governance. The results of the UN e-Government Survey 2010 and the UN Public Administration Knowledge Space were also presented.

In addition, there were several keynote addresses from the former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, the Secretary of the National Economic and Development Authority of the Philippines and various practitioners and specialist on the theme of the conference. All spoke on the importance of leadership and structure as a foundation of good governance for national development.

Two special workshops were part of this conference: (i) ICT Access and e-Government for Achieving the MDGs and (ii) the Development of the e-Cities Network in Asia and the Pacific.

The first workshop discussed the global and regional perspectives of e-government and the MDGs in Asia and the Pacific and identified the challenges that still exist as barriers for achieving the MDGs and how to develop a “Way Forward” for tackling these challenges.

The e-Cities Network workshop looked at ways cities could develop a substantive network that would showcase best practices and lessons learned at the local level and also looked at the possibility of expanding networks within Asia and the Pacific, counting on the support of associations of national cities from various countries.

After the e-Cities workshop, discussions were held to connect e-Cities Network to UN-PAKS. A course of action was agreed to concretely explore the development and utilization of e-cities as a strategic mechanism to disseminate UN-PAKS to citizens and vice-versa. It was agreed that more work needed to be done to materialize these promising possibilities.

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