The system’s ability to develop greater coherence in ICT policy advice and programme support within the framework of its development agenda depends in many ways on its ability to create, manage and share information and knowledge across the system more efficiently and effectively. Knowledge, information and data are the system’s principal assets and a main source of its comparative advantage. The system, however, has yet to take full advantage of these assets and create a seamless knowledge-based system to effectively capture, manage and disseminate data, information and other relevant assets across organizations and their constituencies. The aim is to leverage the wealth of information currently available within the United Nations system to maximize the impact and results of its programmes and activities.

Under the guidance of CEB, a system-wide ICT strategy is being elaborated as an essential component of the overall effort to enhance the system’s cost-effectiveness and efficiency and strengthen its capacity to manage knowledge in ways that can maximize the support it provides to countries in using ICT for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The strategy represents a major shift in the perception of the role of technology within the United Nations system, away from simply providing a technical infrastructure to exploiting its enabling role. The strategy addresses areas where consolidated operations can result in savings and focuses on ways in which a more effective use of the technology can result in more efficient operations. The strategy thus goes beyond technology implementation. It seeks to articulate the drivers for technology planning so as to ensure that any investment in technology aligns with the knowledge-based needs of the system.

Beyond establishing a framework to guide system-wide ICT coordination, the United Nations system ICT strategy has identified a significant number of concrete initiatives, of which eight have been selected for priority action: the ICT development network, the ICT services sourcing strategy, common application solutions, knowledge-sharing, enterprise resource planning systems, ICT governance and best practices, business case development and costing, and United Nations ICT training.

An ICT Steering Committee, composed of members of the High-Level Committee on Programmes, the High-Level Committee on Management and the ICT Network, provides the overall guidance for further work on the follow-up to the ICT strategy. The CEB secretariat continues to foster and facilitate the exchange of information among ICT strategy groups and organizations through the introduction of best practices in collaborative project management.