While developing countries continue to make important gains in accessing new ICTs, the impact of such gains on development agendas and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) remain to be addressed. The predominant view is that access to ICTs remains the core challenge for developing countries, a view that is also shared in the MDGs themselves as reflected in the content of Target 18 (Goal 8).
UNDP in Action
UNDP works closely with national partners such as ministries, the judiciary, parliaments and electoral commissions, developing their capacity in making right decisions for sustainable change. To make governments more effective, citizens should have a say in decisions that affect their lives. State institutions such as the judiciary and police, must be able to respond to the needs of the population, and comply with international standards on corruption, human rights and gender equality.
UNDP promotes opportunities for citizens to participate in political decision-making, especially women and the poor. For example, working closely with civil society organizations, UNDP partnered with Mexico’s electoral institute and tribunals in a new online platform called Electoral Observation which enabled citizens and 43 monitoring organizations to check information and send complaints in real time on election-related incidents in 2012. Reports were filed through the online platform, via email or micro blogs like Twitter. The initiative also helped finance and train observers and monitoring organizations to enhance their abilities to diagnose fraud, with the ultimate goal of reinforcing the Mexican electoral system. In preparation for Haiti’s second round of presidential and legislative elections in 2011, UNDP worked with the country’s Provisional Electoral Council to disseminate information to voters using text messages, a special website and a toll-free voter hotline. Since more than 75 percent of Haitians have access to mobile phones, these devices have become crucial tools to access information, confirm voter registration status and obtain information on the location of polling centers.
UNDP works closely with parliaments and parliamentary groups to include citizens’ political participation. For example, in El Salvador UNDP works with the Women’s Parliamentary Group to create a specialized unit to address women’s rights in the El Salvador legislative assembly and help ensure that the national budget’s expenditure reflects different needs and priorities for women and girls.
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