EGOV Center Contributes to the WSIS 2013 Forum

The Center for Electronic Governance at UNU-IIST contributed to the WSIS (World Summit on Information Society) Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, 13-17 May 2013 by: 1) organizing a thematic workshop "Technology-Enabled Governance Post-2015" in partnership with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and 2) presenting at the session on "Measuring the WSIS Targets" organized by the UN-wide Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.

The workshop on "Technology-Enabled Governance Post-2015" explored how technology-enabled governance (EGOV) can support post-2015 development and help overcome the limitations of the MDG framework. For instance, how it can contribute to: advancing the four dimensions of post-2015 development – inclusive social development, inclusive economic development, environmental sustainability, and peace and security; ensuring high level of policy coherence within and between dimensions; improving the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of governance processes; and many others. The workshop was co-organized by Tomasz Janowski - head of the Center for Electronic Governance at UNU-IIST and Seema Hafeez - Senior Economic Affairs Officer at UNDESA; and comprised contributions by: Khédija Ghariani - Secretary General of the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization; Oliver Bell - Chief Technology Officer, Public Sector, International Organizations, Microsoft Corporation; Gary Fowlie - chief of the ITU Media Liaison at the United Nations.

In her contribution, Seema Hafeez postulated that "the deployment of new technologies in government can be a catalyst towards achievement of development goals by increasing efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and inclusiveness in public administration and public service delivery" and towards "establishing effective institutional linkages necessary for sustainable development". In her contribution, Khédija Ghariani recommended that "Further efforts are required to ensure that ICTs are actually serving development and are user oriented within an environment characterized by transparency and enabling good governance". In his contribution, Oliver Bell asserted that technology-enabled governance post-2015 requires capabilities to evaluate, direct and monitor, and technologies like e.g. big data analysis, cloud computing, internet of things and many others exist to support such capabilities. In his contribution, Tomasz Janowski described the evolution of public sector ICT into the new phase of Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (EGOV), showed how Policy-Driven EGOV supports some key premises of the post-2015 agenda, provided an example Policy-Driven EGOV - EGOV for Sustainable Development, and outlined the challenges of moving towards this new phase.

The session on "Measuring the WSIS Targets" aimed at present the efforts, challenges and achievements, particularly by the UN Regional Commissions, in measuring the WSIS outcomes and tracking the targets identified by the WSIS Geneva Plan of Action, and discussing the role of ICT and ICT measurement in the post-2015 UN development process. The speakers were: Vanessa Gray from ITU, Tomasz Janowski from UNU, Jorge Patino from UNECLAC and Makane Faye from UNECA.

In his presentation "Measuring ICT for Development Post 2015", Tomasz Janowski addressed four questions: 1) where is the current post-2015 development discussion, 2) what is the place of ICT in the post-2015 development discussion, 3) what is the role of measurement in the post-2015 development discussion, and 4) what is the status and way forward for measuring ICT for post-2015 development? The presentation pointed out that ICT is mentioned among other technologies and in combination with knowledge and innovation, but not introduced systematically in the post-2015 agenda. At the same time, ICT is directly mentioned among three out of four development dimensions, technology and knowledge are regarded as development enablers, and the agenda and the process leading toward it both heavily rely on the capabilities that require ICT support. In summary, Tomasz Janowski recommended systematic introduction of ICT into the post-2015 agenda either as a standalone development enabler or in combination with other enablers (such as governance). He also recommended disseminating ICT across the agenda to support different dimensions of development, to support cross-dimensional (sustainable) development, and to enhance and facilitate other development enablers.

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