Créditos Photo by Marek Okon on Unsplash
Publicado en Febrero 20, 2024

Steering Digital Transformation in Micronesia

Micronesia – On February 12, 2024, the inaugural Multi-Country Programme Steering Committee (MCPSC) meeting was held at the UNRC Conference Room in Kolonia, Palikir, with other Micronesian governments, development partners, and civil society organizations participating online.

This meeting marks a significant step towards digital transformation in Micronesia—bringing together a pool of stakeholders from United Nations entities, national government bodies, and civil society organizations. The meeting served as a platform to establish a strategic direction for the implementation of the Joint Programme in Micronesia dedicated to leveraging digital technology to accelerate the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and enhance community resilience in the region. This is to ensure that digital transformation strategies are cohesively aligned across vital sectors such as education, agriculture, nutrition, and employment, among others.

Mr. Jaap van Hierden, the UN Resident Coordinator for Micronesia, highlighted the meeting's strategic importance in bringing together diverse stakeholders to foster a unified approach towards digital transformation. 

Regional Director Atsuko Okuda, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), underscored the critical role of Digital Transformation Frameworks being developed for nations like FSM, Kiribati, and Nauru. Okuda emphasized the ITU's commitment to enhancing community resilience through tailored digital strategies, showcasing the UN's support in navigating the complexities of digital transformation.


Discussions at the meeting highlighted several key initiatives including the finalization of Digital Transformation Frameworks with ITU support for nations like FSM, Kiribati, and Nauru; launching the Smart Islands Initiative to model digital innovation across select islands; and promoting sector-specific strategies for addressing unique challenges. 

The meeting also highlighted the position and digital progress, efforts, and strategies of Micronesia governments. Acting Secretary Philip Hardstaff of the Department of ICT of Nauru articulated the country's perspective on the MCPSC as a vital platform for mutual learning and knowledge exchange–emphasizing the opportunity to learn from fellow governments to accelerate digital transformation. Director Conrad Ellechel of the MInistry of FInance of Palau focused on the country's innovative efforts to establish a seamless digital payment platform, aiming to enhance government service delivery. Assistant Secretary Edward Albert of the Department of Transportation, Communication and Infrastructure of FSM brought attention to their strategic advancements in digital transformation, including the creation of the Digital Transformation Committee and the Digital Transformation Office. These serve as central hubs for coordinating digital transformation efforts across FSM. The representative from FSM also outlined various policies being advocated, such as Cybersecurity Policy and Rights to Information/Data Privacy. 

In response to these discussions, development partners and civil society organizations emphasized the importance of inclusive digital transformation effort. Atty. Marstrella Jack, President of PIANGO representing the civil society organizations highlighted the need to cater to all segments of society, including those across different genders, abilities, and socio-economic statuses. The enhancement of digital skills at both community and governmental levels was recognized as crucial for the successful adoption of digital technologies. Mr. Kevin Petrini, the UNDP Deputy Representative further emphasized the need to ensure that digital transformation cuts across various disciplines and should be leveraged to advance socio-economic opportunities and justice, particularly for marginalized groups.

The first MCPSC meeting laid the groundwork for impactful and sustainable digital advancements in Micronesia, setting a collaborative course towards a digitally empowered future. Through strategic alignment and a unified approach, the committee aims to drive forward initiatives that not only meet the region's unique challenges but also leverage digital technology's potential to foster a more resilient and prosperous Micronesia. 

The meeting was concluded by Mr. Christian Viegelahn, the Labor Officer of the International Labour Organization (ILO). He underscored the paramount importance of fostering decent job opportunities through the upskilling and reskilling of both current and future workforce members. Mr. Viegelahn emphasized the necessity for industries and governments to proactively embrace digital transformation by establishing an enabling environment and crafting responsive national employment plans that harness the power of digitalization. He further stressed the imperative of ensuring inclusivity, whereby no individual is left behind in the process of economic advancement and technological integration.

The Joint Programme funded by the UN Joint SDG Fund, "Accelerating SDG achievement through digital transformation to strengthen community resilience in Micronesia", is led by the ITU and managed by UNOPS with the strategic guidance of the UNRCO, and technical expertise of FAO, ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF, and UNODC.

Written by: Rior Santos Ph.D, riors [at] (riors[at]unops[dot]org)Project Manager of JP for Digital Transformation


Note: The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.