DESA News Vol. 13, No. 11 November 2009

Capacity development

Women and local institutions in Africa

Seminar on Women in Local Authorities’ Leadership Positions: Approaches to Democracy, Participation, Local Development and Peace will take place on 5 November in Florence, Italy

The seminar aims to focus on the added value provided by the presence of women in local institutions in Africa. It also lays the foundation for creating a platform for exchanging Euro-African experiences of women representatives of local governments.

The debate will focus on three main topics: decentralized governance and participation: an overview of practices with a gender prospective; women’s role in the informal economy and their contribution to the local development; and strengthening women’s networks: north-south and south-south partnerships.

In particular, the seminar will endeavor to:

  • Examine best practices on the participation of women administrators in local assemblies and in local governments and their relationships with the civil society;
  • Assess the impact that women make in local institutions, on the governments agendas and on policies to develop decentralization processes;
  • Analyze good governance strategies in those countries which envisage actions to strengthen the role of women in local government in order to foster development and fight against poverty;
  • Review programs and projects for the enhancement of female micro-enterprise and microfinance for women;
  • Review the strategies adopted within and across countries to enhance the creation of networks of European and African women administrators;
  • Define a shared policy agenda which represent a basis of intents to build a Euro-African network of local women administrators.

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Enhancing capacity for electronic and mobile governments

Workshop on Electronic/Mobile Government in the LAC Region: Building Capacity in Knowledge Management through Partnerships will be held on 17-20 November in San José, Costa Rica

The workshop, co-organized by DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), the Central American Institute for Public Administration (ICAP) and UNDP, will enhance the capacity of officials in Latin America, particularly in Central America, in tackling current issues and challenges of electronic /mobile government development in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) Region.

The workshop will also promote interactions on e-Government between three sub-regions: South America, Central America and the Caribbean, further consolidate the UN Global e/m Knowledge Repository (tentatively called emGKR, or UNPAN portal), develop partnerships for capacity building in the region and identify capacity building needs for e/m-government in the region.

As a by-product of the workshop, modules for online training courses on e-Government for knowledge management and public administration will be adapted and/or developed for upload into the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) and its portal, representing the first tailor-made online courses addressing the needs of the region by DESA through partnerships.

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Public administration challenges

The project cycle of the introduction of public administration themes into the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific development goals has been successfully concluded

The Director of DESA’s Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), Ms. Haiyan Qian, together with the Inter-regional Advisor, Mr. Jonas Rabinovitch, met with Mr. Onofre Rojas, former Secretary of State of Dominican and responsible for negotiating with the European Union an umbrella package worth US $3 billion for ACP countries (Africa/ Caribbean/ Pacific) in the areas of energy, health, infrastructure and public administration. Mr. Rojas reaffirmed to Ms. Qian that he was a personal advocate of introducing public administration themes into the ACP development portfolio and that Dominican Republic had pioneered this initiative.

With the project cycle successfully concluded, Mr. Rojas stated that he is keen to pursue follow-up activities with the European Union as, according to him, "public administration challenges are not going away, but becoming more crucial for Member States to address development goals". Ms. Qian agreed to follow-up with Mr. Rojas by planning a mission of Mr. Jonas Rabinovitch to the European Union headquarters in Brussels.

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Reviewing the deliverables of the Driving License Project

DPADM, represented by the Inter-regional Advisor Mr. Richard Kerby, participated in the Belize Tripartite Meeting for Capacity Building Initiative of ICT for Development from 24-25 September

The objective of the Tripartite Meeting was to review the deliverables of the Driving License Project and ensure its sustainability after the project has been officially closed. The project was implemented by DESA through DPADM and funded by the Italian Trust Fund. With all the added security features, the driving license project will assist to eliminate fraud and duplication. It will also assist law enforcement in the management of fines and traffic violations, since all drivers will be required to obtain a new driving license with the correct addresses and information of the driver.

In addition to reviewing the deliverables, the meeting focused on developing a strategy to effectively roll out the driving license application other to regions, taking into consideration the costs and the ability of the Ministry of Transportation to cover these costs. The Ministry of Transportation has received adequate training in the new application, which has a number of checks and balances that prevent staff from manipulating applications for driving licenses, which reduces the possibility of manipulation and fraud. The meeting concluded that the project was well implemented and had made a positive impact. The Government of Belize expressed appreciation for the valuable assistance provided by DPADM.

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Meeting with the Director General of the Ethiopian ICT Development Agency

At the request of the Government of Ethiopia, Ms. Haiyan Qian and her team from DPADM met with Mr. Debretsion G. Michael, the Director General of the Ethiopian ICT Development Agency (EICTDA).

During the meeting, Ms. Qian briefed Mr. Michael on the methodology and update of the 2010 United Nations E-Government Survey and the type of support that DPADM could provide Member States in the area of e-government. Mr. Michael advised DPADM that the Government of Ethiopia was at the beginning stages of implementing e-government in the country and that it has recently launched its new national portal. He requested that DESA will undertake a mission to assist the Government of Ethiopia to review the content of the portal and assist them in optimizing the use of ICT tools to improve service delivery in their public sector.

In response to a specific request by Mr. Michael, DPADM has completed a technical advisory mission to Ethiopia from 18 to 22 October providing advisory services to senior administrators in charge of the six line ministries on how to improve national and ministerial online services. In addition, DPADM will work with the Government of Ethiopia to develop a UNDP funded project on egovernment development in Ethiopia.

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Enhancing public service through e-government policies for development

DPADM participated in the 33rd annual conference of the ICT Committee for Public Administration of States and Municipalities in Mexico, on 23-25 September

Interregional Advisor Mr. Jonas Rabinovitch, representing DPADM, delivered a keynote speech on the challenges, approaches, criteria and examples for the enhancement of public service through e-government policies for development. He also elaborated on the UN e-Government Survey and the UN Public Service Awards.

The event was attended by state governors, more than 1,000 mayors and other government officials representing the majority of the 2,500 municipalities in Mexico. DPADM and CIAPEM are exploring a possible partnership to formulate methodologies for the development of e-government approaches at the state and local levels so that development needs are more efficiently addressed by public administrations.

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