Learner’s Submission: Fundamentals of the UN E-Government Survey

“The goal of E-Government is to integrate all information systems and subsystems for state administrations to become transparent, accessable and efficient. The main purpose for the introduction of E-Government is to provide a new basis for economic competitiveness, to carry out a rapid transformation of government and administration, and transformation them into a citizens’ service. Also, reduced prices of public services, incentives to a knowledge based economy and integration facilitated by 24/7 online platforms improves and accelerates the decision-making process and helps to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of government at all levels.

The development of information technology, its complexity, challenges and innovations haven’t missed their mark on the government sector. Governments had to start putting increasing emphasis on e-government and e-government, because such programs are becoming the basis of state operations and expected by its citizens.

Many countries have managed to adapt their systems to the public sector in line with the changing environment, introduce and implement  IT applications. However, some countries, both for financial reasons and from underdeveloped technological capacities and human resources have failed to develop e-governance and e-government solutions. The consequence is a growing „digital divide“.

The UN E-Government Survey is the only report in the world that assesses the e-government development status of the 193 UN Member States. The Survey is produced by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). The Survey began in earnest in 2003 with a pilot in 2001.

The motto of the United Nations E-Government Survey for 2014 is “E-Government for the Future We Want”. By reading the E-Government Survey reports we can assess how the potential of information and communication technologies is used in transforming  the public sector. Also, it provides an estimate of how much of this transformation leads to greater transparency, efficiency, accountability and how citizens participate in and have access to public services.

The UN E-Government Survey serves as a tool by which decision makers can identify their strengths and areas of challenge in e-government and how they can manage e-government policy and strategy. The UN E-Government Survey measures of e-government development in all 193 UN Member States through the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) consist of three components weighted in equal manner):

1) The Online Service Index (OSI) measures the online presence of governments and services provided to citizens online

2) The Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII) measures through several indicators the infrastructure through which citizens can have access to government online services

3) The Human Capital Index (HCI) measures the educational base of citizens allowing them to access government services online

The users of the Survey are: governments, international and regional organizations, intergovernmental institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, academia, research centers and schools of public administration as well as citizens.

The goal of the Survey is to provide guidance how and in what way to utilize ICTs in order to transform governments and to enable sustainable development. The benefits of e-government are numerous: new employment, better health and education systems, the effective management of natural resources, promoting economic development and social inclusion of citizens.  Governments using e-government becomes  more transparent and accountable. ICT platforms are also often used as a templates on a best-practice basis for innovative e-government solutions and providing for sustainable development of countries.

The United Nations E-Government Survey’s conceptual framework is based on four guiding principles:

1) Development for all – If applied effectively, it can significantly contribute to the eradication of extreme poverty, protecting the environment as well as the promotion of social inclusion and economic opportunity for all.

2) Using surveys to obtain information on the assessment of online presence of governments, their infrastructure and human resources.

3) The Survey is about provisions of socio-economic and environmental services to the population through the use of e-government as a programmatic tool, as well as about participation and social inclusion.

4) The Survey assesses e-government readiness worldwide, taking the view that the ultimate objective remains the “inclusion of all” in development.

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The United Nations E-Government Survey is particularly important for providing a critical review of e-governance, the e-Government Development Index and the e-Participation Index as well as other e-government aspects within UN member states. The findings show huge disparities in the access and use of information technologies, which are not likely to be overcome in the near future, unless there are concerted efforts taken at the national, regional and international efforts taken to levelthe playing field for all involved.” – Lejla Tabak Siljak – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

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