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E-Government, Policy

E-govt is low on UN Development Agenda

While countries such as Singapore and Canada are recognised leaders in e-government, other United Nations (UN) member countries are still backward in their embrace of e-government practices, a UN representative has told FutureGov.

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“Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and e-government fail to make it on UN’s development agenda year after year,” Haiyan Qian, Director, Division for Public Administration and Development Management, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs has said.

Qian cited past and upcoming key events where e-government should have been a key topic but was not so, such as the World Summit on the Information Society, the UN Summit on Economic and Financial Crisis to be held next week, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change at the end of this year.

Most governments today are facing two core challenges in e-government development – understanding and implementation, she said.

“Many fail to understand what exactly e-government is and why they should embrace it. E-government is sometimes seen as mere internet accessibility for citizens and a competitive face-off between countries. E-government is not a luxury and all countries need to embrace it as an opportunity to transform public governance,” commented Qian.

E-government projects fail because they are used as standalone tools among rather than as part of a long-term plan to improve governance, Qian added. She called this “veneer e-government”.

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