United Nations Launches E-Learning Initiative in over 160 Developing Countries


A new United Nations (UN) e-Learning initiative, launched in Berlin on December 6, 2008 will offer developing countries opportunities to draw upon a rich array of training and capacity-building resources.

A new United Nations (UN) e-Learning initiative, launched in Berlin on December 6, 2008 will offer developing countries opportunities to draw upon a rich array of training and capacity-building resources.

Conference Impressions Photographs by Peter Himsel. All copyrights by ICWE GmbH.

Sixteen UN agencies meeting at a forum organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) during the 14th International Conference on Technology Supported Learning and Training in Berlin, agreed to establish UNeLearn -- a UN-wide network on technology supported learning to share information and expertise, and to collaborate on the sustained deployment of e-Learning.

The UNeLearn network will provide targeted training and outreach to help UN country teams implement common programmes of work in over 160 developing countries.  

The initiative, inspired by the UN "Delivering as One" concept, aims to maximize coherence and effectiveness among UN projects at the country-level as parts of efforts to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner welcomed the initiative by saying:  “Technology-supported learning offers tremendous potential to address the capacity development needs of a wide range of beneficiaries in developing countries.”  He added that “the work of the UN country teams will ultimately be strengthened through this collaboration and Member States will be better served.”

As a first step towards the implementation of the project, a comprehensive stock-taking exercise is planned to commence early in 2009 to identify and integrate quality-assured training resources from across the UN system.  The UN Staff College will host a number of online communities of practice that will bring together capacity development and training expertise in sectoral areas, such as agriculture, development, education, environment, food security, health, and human rights.  

By agreeing to pool and share their collective training resources and shift towards technology supported learning, the initiative will help UN agencies eliminate duplicative activities, reduce costs, and reach a wider client base.  


The "Delivering as One" initiative builds on the existing reform agenda set by UN Member States, which asks the UN development system to accelerate its efforts to increase coherence and effectiveness of its operations in countries.  The UN family – with its many and diverse agencies – must act in a more coordinated way at country level. The objective is to ensure faster and more effective development operations and accelerate progress to achieve the Millennium Development Goals – in short, a UN development system that delivers more and better for the poorest and most disadvantaged.

The 16 United Nations agencies taking part in the technology-supported learning initiative are:



The Berlin meeting of UN agencies and programmes was convened by UNEP and was held 3-5 December as part of Online Educa 2008, Europe’s largest (and the world’s second largest) conference on technology supported learning. It is held annually in Berlin.


Online Educa ( ), the second largest E-learning forum worldwide, brings together specialists in capacity development, knowledge management, training and e-Learning from around the world.


Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson/Head of Media,


Shereen Zorba, UNEP News Desk

The information for this article was provided by UNEP.

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