International e-governance cooperation can spread benefits of accountability and better services

12 Dec 2011

imageUN Photo/Rick Bajornas

At the Global e-governance forum held in Seoul’s Lotte Hotel today, participants discussed bridging the global digital divide through international e-governance cooperation. Participants also shared success stories in the Korean e-governance experience and the future of e-governance.

The Forum was opened by Mr. Kwang-Su Jang, Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. The congratulatory address was given by Professor Moon-Sok Ahn, Emeritus Professor of Korea University, one of the key policy architects of Korea’s e-governance framework. ‘The information rich are getting rich are getting richer and the information poor are getting poorer. Digital gap means information gap and it is related to poverty of education, job opportunity and income. It’s now the time to share our ideas and experiences for repositioning the status of a new IT future with more innovative and visible goals, strategies and solutions for the mutual prosperity’ he said.

In his keynote speech, Mr. Raul Zambrano, UNDP Senior Advisor on Information and Communication Technology and Governance, demonstrated how the penetration of ICT helps promote development outcomes and discussed the potential of e-governance in addressing current global development challenges. Touching on the rapid development of Information and Communication Technology, including social media, he stated that the ‘digital divide’ reflects socio-economic divides. He made the point that an effective e-governance framework builds up effective democratic governance through transparency and e-participation. He also highlighted Korea’s potential role, which includes sharing knowledge and experience and assisting in developing capacities overseas.

Ms. Anne-Isabelle Degryse-Blateau, Director of the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre, spoke on International Organisations and Intergovernmental Cooperation for e-governance. She outlined UNDP four main areas of focus in democratic governance: expanding people’s participation in political decision making, access to information, making democratic institutions more accountable and responsive to citizens and promoting principles of democratic governance. She also highlighted how e-governance promotes e-administration, e-service delivery and e-participation in a people centered and pro-poor approach.

The event was organized by the Korean Association for Public Administration and the Institute for Administrative Sciences. It was attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, the Korean Customs Service, the International Institute for Administrative Science, the e-governance Research Forum in the Korean Association for Public Administration, the National Information Agency, the UN Project Office on Governance and the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre.

Participants also shared and discussed insights into Korean e-governance initiatives and international cooperation. Participants called to scale up efforts in sharing knowledge on e-governance, highlighting its potential to improve service delivery and create more transparent and accountable governments in developing countries. They also acknowledged that the e-governance path for each country needs to take into account technology , human resources and financing capacities and that the success and effectiveness of e-governance needs to go hand in hand with process reforms.