766 (XXVIII). Strengthening development information systems for regional cooperation and integration in Africa

The Conference of Ministers,


            Concerned by the ever-widening North-South gap in the flow of vital information as well as in acquisition and utilization of information technology,


            Conscious of the importance of information in fostering African regional cooperation and integration, in particular through strengthening of existing regional groupings and the establishment of the African Economic Community,


            Bearing in mind the need to establish data networks and databases as specified in the Treaty establishing the African Economic Community as well as the emphasis on information technology delineated in the Lomé IV Convention,


            Recalling its resolutions 716 (XXVI) of 12 May 1991, 726 (XXVII) of 22 April 1992 and 732 (XXVII) of 22 April 1992,


            Appreciative of the continuing support given by the International Development Research Centre to the Pan-African Development Information System's activities to strengthen the information capabilities of member States,


            Appreciative also of the support given by eleven member States for the submission of the project "Information Technology for Africa" for further consideration by the European Commission in the framework of the Lomé IV Convention,


            Noting with satisfaction the performance of the Economic Commission for Africa's Development Information System in the delivery of technical assistance to member States,


            Noting with further satisfaction the proposals of the Executive Secretary to incorporate the activities of the System into the programme budget of the Commission,


            Bearing in mind the need to strengthen the Commission's subregional development information centres as information support for subregional economic cooperation and integration,


            Noting with concern the decreasing availability of extrabudgetary resources for implementation and utilization of development information systems and technology,


            Further noting with concern the precarious financial situation of the Pan-African Development Information System and the need to end its reliance on extrabudgetary sources of funding,


            Welcoming the intention of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to provide adequate resources for mandated programmes in Africa, with special attention to those in science and technology for development, in the preparation of his programme budget proposals for the biennium 1994-1995,


            1.         Requests the Pan-African Development Information System to build elements of cost recovery into its delivery of information services and products;


            2.         Urges member States, in order to receive further needed technical assistance in information systems development:


            (a)        To give priority to information systems development in the use of their United Nations Development Programme Country Indicative Planning Figures (IPFs);


            (b)        To consider development information activities in their 1993 pledges to the United Nations Trust Fund for African Development;


            (c)        To use, where appropriate, the financial provision under the Lomé IV Convention for this purpose;


            3.         Urgently Appeals to the donor community to support the Commission's activities to strengthen development information capabilities in the African region;


            4.         Requests the Commission to continue its leadership role in the coordination of development information and technology to respond to Africa's pressing development problems;


            5.         Also requests the Executive Secretary to seek additional resources for the Commission's subregional development information centres in the framework of the subprogramme on statistical and information systems development;


            6.         Requests the General Assembly, through the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, to ensure the provision of four professional and two local level posts as well as resources to permit the delivery of activities to the Commission's subprogramme on information systems development beginning with its 1994-1995 programme budget.


                                                                                                                                          185th meeting,

                                                                                                                                             4 May 1993.