IFAP’s capacity building efforts bear fruits

The Executive Training on Foundations of Government Information Leadership, designed in the framework of UNESCO’s intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) to benefit East African countries continues to bear fruits in the region.

This specialized capacity-building forum organized in July 2013 in Kampala, in concert with the United Nations University (UNU) and the Government of Uganda was targeted to meet the needs of executive senior civil servants charged with directing current and future national e-governance initiatives in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, as well host country Uganda. The one week-long training event sought to enhance the role of e-governance initiatives in the effectiveness of national policy implementation and the delivery of public services to citizens. In particular, the programme emphasized how the goal of building of knowledge societies could be more effectively integrated into ongoing and future national information and e-governance initiatives. In this regard, officials were introduced and sensitized to the contribution that the IFAP National Information Society Policy Template could provide in the development, review and implementation of national information and knowledge societies policies.

The first South Sudan Information Communication Technology for Development Conference, held in Juba from 25 to 27 February, 2015  provided a launching pad for the practical application of the IFAP National Information Society Policy Template into South Sudan’s national policy planning processes. The IFAP Policy Template provided the framework for structuring this intensive three-day national and international co-operation, policy and partnerships building event which aims to support the creation of inclusive Knowledge Societies in the newly formed nation.  Drawing on the experiences of other nations and regions, but fully focused on South Sudan’s specific context and needs, the IFAP Template provided a methodological framework around which appropriate, comprehensive, forward-looking and sustainable ICT strategies that align with vision of its national development plan and poverty reduction strategy can be developed. Government ministries, institutions and parastatals involved in public service delivery, vocalized keen interest in mainstreaming the IFAP National Information Society Policy Template in national planning processes.

Similar reactions were also observed by Mr Jaco Du Toit, UNESCO’s Advisor for Communication and Information  (ACI) in the Nairobi Regional Office during a recent mission to Djibouti where he presented the IFAP Policy Template to Governmental officials. According to Mr Du Toit, “The government of Djibouti welcomed the IFAP Template as a key tool for developing a national roadmap to implement a Strategic Programme for the development of Information Technology in Djibouti. Not only did they view the IFAP Policy Template as a means to elaborate interventions and attract national and international partners in addressing the challenges of ICTs in Djibouti, but also as a key resource for sensitizing civil servants to the importance of ICT in public administration”.

According to UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General with responsibility for the CI Sector, Mr Getachew Engida, “I’m very pleased to see the growing interest across Africa, Asia-Pacific as well as Latin America and the Caribbean in this important IFAP resource which UNESCO’s General conference at its 36th session mandated as a tool  to support  Member States in  implementing national information policy frameworks for universal access to information and integrating them in their common country programming processes. I call on Member States to provide additional resources to support this tool that clearly responds to their needs. To broaden the reach, use and impact of the IFAP Policy template the Secretariat is exploring the development of an electronic version of this important resource that will incorporate an online case library to which national experiences, statistics and new resources can be readily made available to policy-makers. However, to achieve this goal, tangible demonstrations of solidarity are key”.

The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001. It provides a platform for international policy discussions, cooperation and the development of guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge. The Programme supports Member States to develop and implement national information policy and strategy frameworks.

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