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How UNDP and ITU are strengthening government capacity for digital transformation

Key United Nations agencies have teamed up to help countries maximize the socio-economic benefits of new and emerging technologies.

In May 2021, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched the ITU-UNDP Joint Facility for Global Digital Capacity to strengthen digital capacity of policymakers across the globe.

By combining UNDP’s extensive country presence with ITU’s longstanding expertise in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector, the partnership aims to better coordinate digital capacity building efforts in the UN system and beyond.

Six months in, the partnership is showing its first results.

Moldova: Developing a “Compact on Digital Transformation”

In Moldova, the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the need for rapid digital transformation. Despite good internet infrastructure, over 20,000 pupils had no access to education during the lockdown in March and April 2020 because they lacked necessary equipment (devices, teaching platforms, etc.).

Further, many public sector employees were unable to telecommute due to poor ICT infrastructure, lack of supporting regulations and more. To update Moldova’s digital strategy, UNDP and ITU joined forces in 2021 to develop the Moldova Digital Transformation Compact for the government.

The Compact outlines the main gaps and opportunities of digital transformation in Moldova. Together with the Digital Readiness Assessment, the Compact will serve as a valuable input for the future Vision and Digital Strategy of Moldova.

“The collaborative effort to integrate UNDP’s Digital Readiness Assessment with ITU’s Country profile is a replicable example of how UN entities are making the best use of their capabilities to develop a robust Digital Compact and digital roadmap for the country,” said Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative in Moldova.

Accelerating inclusive digital transformation of Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Digital technologies offer unprecedented opportunities to accelerate sustainable development in SIDS, transforming the way governments, businesses, and society work.

The COVID-19 pandemic is driving a rapid increase in the uptake and deployment of digital technologies and platforms. And governments are turning to the UN for assistance with developing more comprehensive national digital transformation strategies, to bring greater coherence to government digital initiatives, to drive innovation, and to ensure that digital transformation is inclusive of everyone – and that no one is left behind.

To respond to this demand, the new online course Inclusive Digital Transformation for the Achievement of the SDGs and the SAMOA Pathway in SIDS was developed as part of the UNDP SIDS offer: Rising up for SIDS. The course is a collaboration between UNDP, UNCDF (the UN Capital Development Fund) and ITU, hosted on the ITU Academy and UNDP SparkBlue learning platforms.

This course serves as an online introduction to support civil servants and other stakeholders in the digital ecosystem in shaping an inclusive, whole-of-government approach to digital transformation in Small Island Developing States.

It features analytical tools, such as the UNDP Digital Readiness Assessment and UNCDF Inclusive Digital Economy Scorecard and offers links to resources and extensive lists of additional readings from UNCDF, UNDP, ITU, World Bank, GSMA – the mobile operators global network – and others.

In line with the Joint Facility’s ambition to make digital capacity building initiatives more accessible, the course will soon be made available in Portuguese, Spanish, and French.

The English version of the course launched on 31 January 2022 and is now available for registration on ITU Academy and SparkBlue.  

In 2022, the Joint Facility will continue to strengthen the collaboration between ITU and UNDP at the country level, sharing experience and developing new training materials for emerging areas. 

To learn more about the Joint Facility, co-create a training, or request technical assistance, contact digital.capacity@undp.org

This article first appeared on the UNDP blog and has been republished with permission.

Image credit: Pixabay

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