Presentations and Related URLs from Y2K Panel Programs and Conferences


Item # 1: Video, April 12, 2000, Panel program: "Y2K: What Happened and What Has Been Happening Since January 1?" For texts of panel presentations by Olivia Bosch, see and Stuart Rodman, see For a summary of Paula Gordon's slide presentation, see

Item # 2: Prepared Remarks by Dr. Mark Frautschi, March 15, 2000 panel program:

Item # 3: Prepared Remarks by Dr. Mark Frautschi, December 16, 1999 panel presentation, "Remaining Y2K Issues with Embedded Systems: The Irreducible Ellipse of Risk"

Item # 4 Presentation by Robert Wright, September 28, 1999, "Assessment Of Likely Year 2000 Global Impacts"
                     Power Point Presentation  (ppt file)
                             By Bob Wright

Item # 5 Presentation by Herbert M'Cleod, September 28, 1999, "Current Assessments of the Likely Global Impact of Y2K"
Item # 6 
 Presentation by Dennis Grabow, September 28, 1999, "National and Global Economic Impacts of Y2K"
Item # 7: Prepared Remarks by Dr. Mark Frautschi, July 27, 1999 conference presentation, "The Year-2000 Problem & Rail Transportation: One Observer's Impression"

  Item # 1 Video, April 12, Panel program: "Y2K: What Happened and What Has Been Happening Since January 1?"

Participants: Stuart Umpleby, Professor, Department of Management Science and Director of Research Program in Social and Organizational Learning, George Washington University; Paula Gordon, Independent Consultant (See for a summary of her slide presentation.) Olivia Bosch, Senior Research Associate, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and International Institute for Strategic Studies, London (See for panel presentation.) Stuart Rodman, Director of Communications, Ecological Life Systems Institute "Technology, Knowledge, and Power: Mapping a Course Towards a Sustainable Future" (See for copy of prepared remarks.)


Item # 2 Dr. Mark Frautschi, March 15, 2000 panel presentation, GW University, "The Year-2000 Problem & Embedded Systems: Non-Common-Mode Failures"

Item # 3, Dr. Mark Frautschi, December 16, 1999 panel presentation, GW University sponsored program hosted by The Washington Post Company, "Remaining Y2K Issues with Embedded Systems: The Irreducible Ellipse of Risk"

Item # 4 Robert Wright, September 28, 1999, "Assessment Of Likely Year 2000 Global Impacts" Power Point Presentation (ppt file)

Item # 5







Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen,


I am very pleased to represent the United Nations Development Programme at
this gathering and to join such a distinguished panel.

We must yet again thank the George Washington University for sponsoring the
discussion, the Washington Post for hosting it, and Professor Paula Gordon
for inviting me to join this panel.

The problems of Y2K are not, as generally perceived, largely a matter for
technologically advanced countries only. In developing countries, while the
number of embedded systems may be expected to be lower, the financial and
human capacity of these countries to take remedial measures is significantly
less. Even dealing with the direct information/communication technology
problems of the computers controlling energy system, traffic lights, payroll,
etc. impose a heavy burden on their already precarious finances. The
potential problems are therefore as real in these countries as they are
pervasive here. In addition, one should expect that in the last 20 years or
so, suppliers of equipment to these countries with older technology if they
are still around, will be less likely to provide Y2K compliant update or even
information required for necessary remedial measures. In a pessimistic
scenario, foreign investments in local companies could well be threatened if
these old machines ground to a halt even if temporary. Hence, Y2K is as much
a problem here as it is in these countries.

My contribution this evening will be confined to a description of UNDP’s
mission and the modest role we are playing in addressing Y2K issues in
partner programme countries. In addition, I will share with you our
perception of what further steps are needed to mitigate the difficulties that
could arise in those countries and offer some suggestions on what the
international community could do to avert global and national crises.

We all know that globalization of the world economies has become so
encompassing that disruptions in one region create almost simultaneous
repercussions upon others and isolation is now virtually impossible, even if

We should, therefore, expect that potentially, the Y2K problem will have
global, national, and local impact on economic stability, social order,
political systems, and even the physical environment.

As the problem is not time-bound and likely to roll-over and linger beyond
year 2000, the resilience and coping capacity, in economic terms of
different countries are of major importance.

But even more worrying is that we may begin to experience it before 31
December as some may start the mass hysteria and panic to take preventive but
narrowly focused measures. We must, therefore, exercise extreme caution but
move speedily.

All of these argue for a global approach even though action must take place
at the national level.

What is UNDP doing?

UNDP’s mission is to provide grant based technical assistance to over 130
developing countries around the world. The goal is to help build their
national capacities in:

~ Promoting human development

~ Reducing poverty

~ Maintaining sustainable environment

~ Ensuring gender, social and economic equality

~ Promoting human rights

~ Supporting post-conflict recovery.

We do all these in partnership with recipient and donor countries as well as
other donor organizations, like the World Bank, Regional Development Banks
and other UN Agencies.

In the five regions in which we operate we have taken the following action
programmes as a contribution to address the Y2K problem.

In Africa, we launched a programme at the regional level called National
Planning for Africa for the Year 2000. The aim of the programme is to have
the majority of African countries prepare their respective national plans to
ensure the provision of basic services, in case of Y2K related disruptions
and failures. More specifically, this programme is helping to:

~ Raise awareness of the key decision-makers to the potential consequences
of Y2K and the need for Y2K national plans.

~ Build capacity of Y2K national coordinators to design and implement
national plans of action to mitigate the effects of Y2K.

~ Prioritize national sectors, such as energy, and communications, to help
countries focus on specific remedial measures that must be applied quickly
and in a strategic manner to have the most effective and beneficial impact in
the shortest possible time; and

~ Increase cooperation among UNDP, World Bank, and ITU, in coordinating and
supporting Africa’s Y2K national planning and implementation efforts.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, UNDP has helped set up a

A.) Foro Y2K America del Sur: comprising 10 countries: Argentina, Brazil,
Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile to

1. Develop a Web site for the Foro

2. Organize the first meeting of experts in Energy in Buenos Aires.

3. Organize the first conference of the Foro in Lima, Peru

4. Develop the second meeting of the “Group de Energ?a” in Washington D.C.

5. Develop the second Conferencia del Foro 2000 for South America.

6. Develop an Auditing Y2K Workshop in Santiago, Chile (26-27 May)

7. Support National Coordinators in reference to technical and managerial

8. Hold weekly telephone conferences with all countries in South America

9. Coordinate with the sectoral global organizations such as IATA, Global
2000, International Telecommunications Union.

10. Support the coordination of the International Y2K Cooperation Center
with South America

11. Manage and implement the Y2K related development agendas.

12. Present the work done by Group of Energy of the Foro at the United

UNDP has also set up another forum called:

B.) Foro Y2K Mexico & America Central:
The type of support that UNDP provides to Central America and Mexico consists
in the funding of key regional meetings. Some Caribbean countries also
participate in these regional meetings.

In Asia and the Pacific region, UNDP is assisting requesting governments with
advisory services for risk assessment and contingency planning. In one case
the report has become the benchmark for all sectors of the economy.

In the Arab States region, UNDP is committed to provide advisory services
relating to Y2K matters to requesting governments in the region.

In Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, UNDP has helped to set
up a Y2K cooperation center in Sofia, Bulgaria to address Y2K related issues
for the region.

In close collaboration with the United Nations Secretariat, we have just
completed a survey of the level of preparedness in the countries we operate.
Although this exercise was meant primarily for United Nations internal office
planning purposes, its results would be useful in mapping the extent of
preparation for each critical sector in each of the 130 countries. This
will add to the information available and upon which further work and actions
can be envisaged. At the minimum it should help in focusing donor support to
high-risk areas.

UNDP has prepared a UNDP Year 2000 Readiness Kit for internal use to assist
our Country Offices throughout the world prepare their computers for the year
2000. This is complemented by a one-stop Web site on INFO21 that was
established very early on to provide through hyperlinks, instant access to
analysis, as well as experiences, studies and solutions relevant for
conversion, remediation and contingency. We have also asked our
representatives to promote contingency planning in those countries at highest

Ladies and Gentlemen, we recognize that this is not enough. Unfortunately
our meager resources do not allow us to go much farther.

What can we do jointly?

There are over 5000 Web sites on Y2K. All countries have set up Y2K
committee. Nevertheless our analysis, as well as the analyses of the leading
industrialized countries still place a third of the world’s countries at
being inadequately prepared. We need to concentrate efforts on these
countries to ensure that critical public services continue to funtion.

With only three months to go we must proceed rapidly but cautiously. We
should be wary of starting a stampede. Furthermore, in these countries it is
essential to reinforce the work of the national committees rather than launch
parallel activities.

Within these broad parameters we must support these committees to launch a
vigorous campaign at national and local levels. The thrust of such campaigns
ought to be to educate responsible authorities and the major stakeholders on
the inter-connectivity of the Y2K problem, its likely impact, and measures
that must be taken to address the problem. There is still a lot of cynicism
that the Y2K challenges have been blown out of proportion.

Second, we must support and encourage efforts by the national governments to
prepare national contingency plans backed by resources to implement measures
in all priority areas of concern for preventing and minimizing Y2K related
events. The areas include weapons systems, biological and chemical
laboratories, nuclear power plants, and electric power grid among others. At
the same time we must help them identify a minimum list of critical functions
per country and ensure there are resources to cover the cost of maintaining
such functions.

Third, generate national partnerships with civil society, private sector and
action groups to launch vigorous drives to address the issue.

Fourth, we need to continue and reinforce collaboration at the global level
through pooling and exchanging information.

Fifth, encourage governments to allocate appropriate financial resources. At
the same time, we must mobilize donor resources to support those who cannot
afford the resources required.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the UNDP with its network of offices in almost all of
the developing world, and its experience in dealing with countries in crises
is prepared to make available this network for any coherent and coordinated

Post Event Recovery:

It is now becoming evident that at least for those countries where
preparation is weak, the Y2K is a rolling problem and that system
malfunctions caused by it will have to be dealt with well beyond year 2000.
Depending on the magnitude of disruptions and malfunctions, serious effort
would need to be taken to restore/replace the affected computer based systems
to bring back normalcy to the society. For this, governments/private
businesses and other affected parties will require access to expert groups,
consulting firms and the computer industry to help them rectify the
problems. They may also need substantial funding from donors to implement
practical remedial measures and solutions. UNDP, World Bank, United Nations,
United Nations Agencies and other major donors have significant roles to play
in this and should prepare for such post event activities.


At the beginning of this year and based on anecdotal evidence many feared the
worst. In nine months we have come a long way. But this has not been by
accident. In advanced industrialized countries where public accountability
through the media, combined with opportunities for exposure of topical issues
to the public are a matter of course, the potential dangers of Y2K were
relatively easy to disseminate. This is not so in the developing countries.
The task of raising awareness without creating panic is much more difficult
in the third world. And yet this is only part of the first set of measures
to take. The next phase is identifying the specific problem areas. The most
challenging step is taking appropriate measures to deal with the problems.
Here funding and expertise can be insurmountable for many least developed
countries; most of which are in the high-risk category.

With only three months left the matter is now urgent. We need to organize a
more structured alliance to deal with the capacity problems and in parallel
mobilize resources for funding remedial measures required.

As groups in the advanced countries advocate for Y2K readiness here in the US
they should equally draw attention to the potential plight of the third

Prevention is better than cure.

Thank you.


NOTE: The UNDP's INFO21 Site for IT-Related Issues

INFO21 serves as UNDP's knowledge broker site for IT-related issues. It is
designed as a one-stop shop for telecentre users and UNDP's development
partners. Through structured hyperlinks, the site offers access to a
plethora of sustainable human development-relevant content material,
curricula and best practices as well as to topical issues such as electronic
commerce, the Y2K problem, internet governance and human rights and the

Item #6




Material from Dennis Grabow's excellent and broadranging panel presentation
on the economic impacts of Y2K was drawn from writings of his that are
available at the following URLs:

"Chips, Ships, & Slips"

"The Economic Imperative: Year 2000"

"Trade Off: Technology Facilitates International Trade, but with
Serious Year 2000 Risk"

A video conference on foreign trade conducted in Illinois

A Y2K Chemical Reaction

Remarks before the New York Society of Security Analyst....Ambassador
Ahmad Kamal of Pakistan who was head of the UN's Informatic
Working Group at the time, was also present.

Dennis Grabow
The Millennium Investment Corporation
350 North Clark Street
Chicago, Il 60610

312-595-6526 Fax 312-922-8593


Item #7, Dr. Mark Frautschi, July 27, 1999 presentation, GW University Y2K Conference "The Year-2000 Problem & Rail Transportation: One Observer's Impression"


Return to Paula Gordon's Y2K page