On April 12, 2016 EDSG experts participated in the presentation of 2016 World Development Report on Digital Dividends which took place at the Analytical center of the Government of the Russian Federation. The Report is devoted to the discussion of the digital technologies’ impact on lives of ordinary people, especially those living in the world poorest countries.
According to the report, the world is now facing information and communication revolution. Today more than 40% of the global population have regular access to internet whereas the number of new users is rapidly increasing. Among the poorest households 7 out of 10 have mobile phones. This indicator exceeds the number of households with regular access to toilet or drinking water. However, the countries use the development opportunities of information technologies in different ways.
In the opinion of EDSG experts, the experience of developing countries presented by the WBG, has little relevance to Russia because local IT companies are more interested in commercial aspects of digital revolution. In Russia such technologies, as Yandex, Kaspersky and taxi order services have potential to diversify Russian economy. The increase of information technologies usage in public administration helped Russia to strengthen its positions in Doing Business rating. That said, the WDR 2016 on Digital Dividends remains a useful source of lessons learnt and experience in the digital area.
On March 31, 2016 EDSG experts took part in FINAM online conference, devoted to the current expectations and reality of Russia’s economy. They argued that economic policy in the period of crisis is more like tactics than strategy. Currently, the strategic objectives are corrected according to the changing world. EDSG experts hoped that the Strategy-2030 would take into account lessons learned during the current crisis and the crisis of 2008-2009.
According to EDSG experts, by July 2016 the US dollar will rise and may exceed 72 rubles. “By September, 2016 the US currency is also expected to increase. This will happen against the backdrop of falling oil prices, which will drop in this period to USD 35-37 per barrel”, – experts believe.
On March 8, 2016 EDSG experts participated in the meeting of Gender and Evaluation Network. Participants, representing international think tank and international organizations discussed a new dimension of development evaluation in relation to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was decided to establish a topical interest group (TIG) at the American Evaluation Association (AEA), which would be focused on SDGs. The participants agreed to arrange a session on the SDGs at the relevant VOPE conferences.
Gender and evaluation network is an informal platform for discussion of the issues related to evaluation in development. The platform was established in 2013 and is considered to be a knowledge sharing hub for EvalGender+, the global partnership led by EvalPartners.
On September 25, 2016 the EY business academy (earlier – Ernst&Young) hosted an expert round table “Strategy of the company and your contribution to its success” for top management of SMEs and large companies. EDSG experts took part in the round table discussions along with the management of other companies. During the sessions the following issues were discussed: company’s performance assessment, the general profile of an effective top manager of a modern company, success stories of world largest companies and effective company development strategies.
The main purpose of the round table was to identify and discuss key opportunities for companies’ overall performance improvement, for example through enhancement of business processes and personal effectiveness of the top management. Along with key success factors the participants had the chance to touch base on the modern psychological communication tools. These tools allow to evaluate and apply personal social skills (Soft Skills) and to cooperate with partners in a most efficient way. The participants mentioned behavioral model named DISC and set of indicators named MBTI as key instruments for social skills enhancement.
The experts of the EDSG took part in the Kyrgyz Cross-Sectoral Group meeting, which was held at the Department of water resource management and minerology of the Kyrgyz Republic. The meeting gathered the representatives of the Emergencies Ministry of the Kyrgyz Republic, water management research institutions, HydroMetCenter and the Department of water resource management and minerology of the Kyrgyz Republic. The participants discussed the water management issues caused by climate change and human activity in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The participants underlined the problem of lack of collaboration and coordination in managing water reources issues. For instance, the Emergencies Ministry does not use the recent data and statistics on mudflow waves, landslides and glacial silts. The participants also emphasized the need to create a common methodology for monitoring and forecast of the mudflows and other emergencies.
During the visit to the Kyrgyz Republic the EDSG became a member of Gender and Evaluation international network. The Gender & Evaluation community was launched on 16th Feb 2013 under ‘Engendering Policy through Evaluation’ project which was funded by IDRC & Ford Foundation. The Community is also the knowledge sharing hub for EvalGender+ a global partnership led by EvalPartners.
On February 2, 2016 FINAM Financial Information and Analysis Agency held a conference devoted to discussing Russia’s Anti-crisis plan for 2016. A new plan is to be launched due to collapse in the oil market and depreciation of the Russian currency. There is also a need to adjust the budget of the Russian Federation in 2016, which is assessed with a price of oil at $ 50 a barrel. The 2015 anti-crisis plan anticipated RUB 1.3 trillion to support Russian economy and to reduce by 10% budget expenditures. Extra RUB 1 trillion has been allocated for additional capitalization of the banking system. Now only RUB 750 billion is expected to reanimate Russia’s economy. This time the focus will be shifted from the banking sector to small and medium businesses. Only a point measures are expected to be undertaken to support the financial sector.
EDSG expert Dr. Yury Zaytsev took part in the discussion. In his speech he supported the idea of privatization of the state-owned companies. According to him, the most significant limitation is not the choice of state-owned companies to be privatized, but finding the right investors to meet a number of criteria. The key criteria in this respect are the availability of equity investors, managing the assets in Russia and the availability of development plans. The latter criterion became the most important in the light of the privatization as a tool for the promotion of structural reforms in the Russian economy, which are so often discussed in recent years.
Rossotrudnichestvo has published a presentation on Russian development aid. It includes some information about ODA, its main areas, activities of Russian government and programmes.
In the framework of Russia’s BRICS chair in the 2015 – 2016 in Moscow was held a meeting of senior BRICS officials of international development assistance (IDA).
Participants of the event were representatives of the BRICS countries, as well as representatives of the government of Russia, whose competence includes activities for international development, including deputy director of the Department of International Organizations of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia Dmitry Maksimychev, Deputy Director of Department of European, North American and international organizations Denis Ulin, a spokesman for the Department of International Financial Relations of Ministry of Finance Anastasia Zhilova.
The experts discussed the prospects of cooperation in the field of development, the existing practice of providing aid, experience ofassistance process, as well as the possibility of joint initiatives in the framework of inter-state association.