E-Governance: Towards digital inclusion in Iraq

05 Dec 2012

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Under the auspices of the Prime Minister, UNDP and the National e-governance Steering Committee organized a two day international conference entitled “Together towards Digital Inclusion”.

It brought together senior officials from central and local government, local and international experts and members of the international community with the aim of promoting policies supporting further digital inclusion of all Iraqis and a future road map for implementing e-governance at the central and local levels.

“UNDP has stood by us these last few years and been an integral part of all that we have managed to achieve in this critical area of reform” stated Mr. Abdul Kareem Al-Samarai’, the Minister of Science and Technology during his opening remarks at the conference.

UNDP has been working closely with the Government of Iraq since 2009 with several tangible results such as the formulation and launching of the Iraqi e-Governance strategy and Action Plan 2012-2015, the launch of the Iraqi e-Governance Iraq portal containing informational and interactive online services (www.egov.gov.iq), the implementation of the Government Interoperability Framework and Iraqi National Enterprise Architecture, addressing information access and recommended semantic, technical and organizational standards in addition to cconducting an extensive Training-of-Trainers programme on e-governance which strengthened the capacity of e-governance throughout Iraq with 6,000 professionals trained.

“ At this conference we aim to review the achievements of the Iraqi e-Governance programme to date, discuss implementation challenges, and assess the impact of e-Governance as a tool to achieve public sector reform and digital integration and inclusion, in support of national and international development goals” said Jacquleine Badcock, the UN Resident Coordinator in Iraq in her opening speech.

Iraqi and international experts presented to the 150 participants lessons learned and technological options from different countries around the world. 

The conference covered e-Governance and public sector reform, challenges of e-Governance Implementation, citizen inclusion into the digital society, the role of local governments in

e-Governance programme framework, challenges of government interoperability framework implementation, standards and information and building e-services to be service oriented.

By the end of the conference, no less than 30 action points had been identified by the Deputy Minister and his team.

“These action points will need to be prioritized into a phased and concrete plan that will guide our work in the coming months and years and hopefully in three years’ time we will have a third conference that will discuss our achievements”  said Deputy Minister, Dr Samir Rauff.

Of particular interest were discussions on technological options such as the use of mobile phones for e-services where internet connection was not available. Iraq has less than 10% internet penetration while 80% of households in Iraq have access to mobile phones.