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Exchange, Consensus at TaiwanICDF Mission Leaders' Conference 2010-11

To boost exchange and forge consensus among Mission Leaders stationed at Taiwan Technical Missions worldwide, the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) recently conducted the TaiwanICDF Mission Leaders’ Conference 2010-11. Running across the new year from December 27 to January 7, the conference gave Mission Leaders the chance to boost their know-how via four training modules: lectures, field trips and observation, case studies, and medium- to long-term project planning.

The overall purpose of each annual TaiwanICDF Mission Leaders' Conference is to bring Mission Leaders together for an international forum on new thinking in technical cooperation. In the wake of major changes to the TaiwanICDF during 2010, this year's conference would also help participants to gain a better understanding of the organization's updated take on project management and performance implementation.

Aiming to revitalize the spirit of the TaiwanICDF, Secretary General Tao Wen-lung has instigated a series of organizational reforms since taking office on November 6, 2009. Operations at the TaiwanICDF have been streamlined to eliminate superfluous tasks, which had formerly represented 20 to 30 percent of the workload at the organization, while more recent developments have focused on an efficiency drive through human resources management.

Taiwan Technical Missions have a long history. The first such mission in the history of the Republic of China (Taiwan) was formed in 1959, when a group of experts provided agricultural technical assistance to Vietnam. Fifty-two years later, the TaiwanICDF is now responsible for operations at 29 technical missions and three permanent medical missions in 28 countries, where Mission Leaders oversee a much-expanded range of development services covering medicine, agribusiness, SME development, technology, ICT and environmental sustainability.

This year, the proceeds of the 12-day Mission Leaders' Conference touched on a number of other development themes, including environmental protection and clean energy, human resources and vocational training, and sustainable agricultural development. Executive officers at the TaiwanICDF believe that interdisciplinary expertise will help to underpin further organizational transformations at the TaiwanICDF throughout the coming year.

In his opening address to the conference, Secretary General Tao noted that the TaiwanICDF and its Mission Leaders will only be able to deal with partners more efficiently when they have acquired a fuller understanding of the development of Taiwan's emerging industries, including its information technology, energy and marketing sectors.

Secretary General Tao also observed that since Taiwan is a democratic country, the TaiwanICDF, under the guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, should commit to performing its administrative duties and business in accordance with the rule of law. The organization should also adjust its strategies, he said, so that the provision of development assistance complements the process of democratization that is currently underway in a number of partner countries.

During the conference, case studies and group discussion broached a broad range of subjects, including project management and the localization of technical cooperation. The event also included lectures on performance management and counseling to provide Mission Leaders with the skills to manage projects and meet associated objectives with greater efficiency.

At the end of the conference, Secretary General Tao concluded by remarking that an increasing emphasis on project planning and localization would bring the TaiwanICDF into line with the concepts of harmonization and ownership espoused by the international development community, and cited recent moves to draft project documentation in local languages as an example of good practice.

Also speaking at the conference, Hsiang Shui-sung, leader of the Taiwan Technical Mission in Haiti, said that he was convinced that this stronger emphasis on project management was the right direction for the TaiwanICDF to take, since the presence of a more substantial leadership will improve supervision and enhance the performance of the organization's project work.

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  • Date:2011/1/19