ICEGOV2013 Concludes in Seoul

The 7th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance, ICEGOV2013, was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea from 22 to 25 October 2013. The conference was co-organized under the patronage of the Ministry of Security and Public Administration, Republic of Korea (MOSPA) by the Center for Electronic Governance at UNU-IIST and the National Information Society Agency, Republic of Korea (NIA). It was co-located during the first two days and shared plenary sessions with the Global e-Government Forum (GEF2013), organized by MOSPA, NIA and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). 

The joint opening session of ICEGOV2013 and GEF2013 included a welcome message by Mr. Yu Jong Bu, Minister of Security and Public Administration of the Republic of Korea, followed by a welcome message by Mr. Wu Hongbo, United Nations Undersecretary General and the head of UNDESA, and a welcome message by Dr. David Malone, United Nations Undersecretary General and Rector of UNU. On behalf of Mr. Wu, the message was conveyed by Mr. Vincenzo Aquaro, the head of UNDESA’s EGOV unit. On behalf of Dr. Malone, the message was conveyed by Dr. Tomasz Janowski, the head of the Center for Electronic Governance at UNU-IIST.

ICEGOV2013 was the 7th edition in ICEGOV conferences series founded and coordinated by the Center for Electronic Governance at UNU-IIST. The earlier editions took place in: Macao (ICEGOV2007), Cairo (ICEGOV2008), Bogota (ICEGOV2009), Beijing (ICEGOV2010), Tallinn (ICEGOV2011) and Albany (ICEGOV2012). Like its predecessors, ICEGOV2013 focused on connecting research, policy and practice of Electronic Governance (EGOV) – applying technology to transform the working of government organizations and their relationships with citizens, businesses and one another to pursue public policy and sustainable development. The theme of ICEGOV2013 was “Beyond 2015 – Smart Governance, Smart Development” – how EGOV can contribute to the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda.

To this end, ICEGOV2013 invited submissions of completed or ongoing research papers, completed or ongoing experience papers, and posters in six tracks: 

  1. Building Smart Government – How can government organizations, supported by ICT, work together across different sectors and levels of public administration to ensure high degree of policy coherence at the global, regional, national and sub-national levels?
  2. Governing through Networks – Facing lack of capacity and confidence in the ability of a centralized state to address public needs, how can governments, supported by ICT, work with citizens, businesses and other non-state actors to pursue rights-based, equitable and sustainable development?
  3. Policy and Governance Innovations – Recognizing the diversity of contexts and challenges existing within and among countries and guided by the principles of human rights, equality and sustainability, how can ICT-enabled innovations in policy and governance be transferred and adapted to local settings?
  4. Smart Governance for Smart Industries – How can Smart Governance establish the foundations for Smart Industries in health, education, economy, finances, environment and other sectors to promote inclusive socio-economic development, environmental sustainability, and peace and security?
  5. Smart Governance for Smart Societies – How can Smart Governance establish the foundations for Smart Societies that actively work to reduce situations of conflict, hunger, insecurity and violence, and pursue better lives for all members with sustainable patterns of production and consumption?
  6. Ethics, Transparency and Accountability – How can ICT enable citizens to demand and receive high standards of ethics, transparency and accountability from their government to bolster responsive public policy, ensure high levels of public sector performance and prevent corruption? 

In response to the call, the conference received 133 submissions written by 248 authors from 54 countries from all continents. The submissions were reviewed by 118 members of the Program Committee from 51 countries that conducted 379 reviews. The committee accepted 25 completed papers, 45 ongoing papers and 26 posters.

In addition to 6 pre-defined tracks, 11 thematic sessions were defined to capture new topics emerging from the submissions, each chaired by an organization active in the relevant area: 1) “EGOV for Development”, chaired by the United Nations Asia Pacific Center for ICT for Development; 2) “National Data Policies”, chaired by the Government of Kazakhstan; 3) “Governing Ageing Society “, chaired by Waseda University, Japan; 4) “Governing Smart Cities”, chaired by IBM; 5) “Open Government Data Impact”, chaired by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); 6) “Interoperability Governance”, chaired by Microsoft Corporation; 7) “Government on Social Media”, chaired by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C); 8) “Innovative EGOV Applications”, chaired by the World Bank; 9) “Participatory Government“, chaired by GTZ; 10) “Mobile Governance”, chaired by the Government of Colombia and 11) “Open Data Ecosystem”, chaired by DATA.GOV.

All accepted papers presented as part of tracks or thematic sessions will be included in the conference proceedings to be published by ACM Press. Track chairs were also invited to submit short papers to introduce their tracks, and authors of selected papers were invited to submit extended versions of their submissions to appear in a special issue of Government Information Quarterly, published by Elsevier and dedicated to the conference theme.

The program of the conference comprised 33 sessions: opening and closing sessions, 6 keynote lectures, 3 plenary panel discussions, 3 plenary town hall debates, 6 paper tracks, 11 thematic sessions, a doctoral colloquium and poster exhibition. 

In particular, plenary panel discussions and town hall debates aimed at exploring important questions for post-2015 EGOV development: 1) "Are international EGOV rankings having a mobilizing or distracting influence on development?" - organized by UNU; 2) "Who should drive smart conversations for sustainable development – experts, citizens or politicians?" - organized by the Delft University of Technology; 3) "Is a common set of e-government principles, applicable to all countries and contexts, possible?" - organized by OECD; 4) "Catalyzing Smart Transformation: What Makes Governments Smarter?" - organized by the World Bank; 5) "Is good governance a pre-condition or a consequence of the development of knowledge societies?" - organized by UNESCO; and 6) "Striking the balance of security, privacy and openness: To open or not to open?" - organized by the Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany.

Over 1200 participants were registered to attend for both GEF2013 and ICEGOV2013 conferences, mainly from Korea. ICEGOV2013 included 164 registered international participants from 52 countries and economies from all continents; the largest number came from India (12), followed by China (9), Nigeria (9), Colombia (8) and the United States (8). The distribution of international participants was as follows: gender – 30% female and 70% male; affiliation – 44% from academia, 33% from government, 12% from international organizations and 11% from industry; titles – 20% professors, 6% lecturers, 12% researchers, 11% students, 5% ministers and directors general, 27% directors, chiefs and executives, 13% officers, consultant and advisors and 6% analysts and specialists. 

Here are some impressions about ICEGOV2013 from selected participants:

  • “Listening to so many perspectives from all continents and different stakeholders, we once again realized how good-governance and ‘smart governance’ go hands in hands with the development of ‘knowledge societies’, based on universal access to information, freedom of expression, quality education for all, and respect for cultural and linguistic diversity.”, Andrea Cairola, Adviser for Communication and Information at UNESCO Beijing Office.
  • “The Seoul conference was my first ICEGOV meeting, and I was struck by the way it brought together perspectives from all levels of government, civil society, academia and international institutions. I enjoyed very much this rich mix of theory and practice, and think that everyone left with some new contacts, information and insights – the mark of a successful conference! The discussion in the final plenary session on the applicability of OECD principles on digital government for non-OECD countries was particularly useful for us, in order to understand both the pressing challenges for individual countries as well as their expectations from international organizations such as the OECD. Thank you for the very well organized and thoughtful program.”, Edwin Lau, Head of Division, Reform of the Public Sector, Public Governance and Territorial Development  Directorate, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  • “I found ICEGOV 2013 to be a great opportunity to reconnect with many e-government colleagues and partners and to meet many interesting people. As usual, ICEGOV served as a great platform to incubate new initiatives and identify partners”, Oleg Petrov, Senior Program Officer for Information and Communication Technologies at the World Bank.

ICEGOV2013 was co-organized by UNU through the UNU-IIST Centre for Electronic Governance. Specific contributions by UNU staff and students to ICEGOV2013 included: 1) Tomasz Janowski held the overall responsibility for the design and implementation of the program in his role as ICEGOV Coordinator and ICEGOV2013 Program Co-Chair, and chaired the closing session and one of plenary discussion panels; 2) Elsa Estevez coordinated the selection of nominees and winners in best research paper and best experience paper categories in her role as ICEGOV2013 Awards Chair, and organized the Doctoral Colloquium; 3) Zamira Dzhusupova in coordination with the local partner held the responsibility for organization and logistics in her role as ICEGOV2013 Organization Co-Chair; 4) Saleem Zoughbi held the responsibility for communication, fund-raising and community-building in his role as ICEGOV2013 Development Chair; and 5) Guillermina Cledou developed and maintained the new portal for ICEGOV. In addition, Zamira Dzhusupova, Sara Fernandes and Florian Henning each coordinated one of three parallel streams of the conference; and Elsa Estevez, Sara Fernandes and Florian Henning presented three accepted papers and posters. A continuing effort is the preparation of the conference proceedings and the journal special issue, jointly edited by Tomasz Janowski, Jeanne Holm and Elsa Estevez as ICEGOV2013 Program and Awards Chair.

As announced during the closing session of ICEGOV2013, ICEGOV2014 will take place from 27 to 30 October 2014 in Guimaraes, Portugal, hosted by the University of Minho. For more information about ICEGOV2013 and the whole ICEGOV series please visit www.icegov.org.