Archive for the ‘eGovernment’ Category

ICT and accountable governments

14 July 2010

Mobile phone

I wanted to share with you the latest issue of the ANSA-Africa Newsletter looking at “the ability of Information and Communication Technology to empower civil society and force governments to be accountable.” The edition was the outcome of a workshop held in October 2009 in Johannesburg.

It includes a nice feature by Samantha Flemming looking at “Local government, social media and responsibility”. It will be useful to monitor the example of the South African Cabinet who has initiated a Local Government Turnaround Strategy aiming at involving citizens in local governance.

Carmen Alpina introduces a tool to promote local government budget accountability online in Kenya, a platform developed by the Social Development Network (SODNET). The online budget tracking tool allows communities to monitor the performance of central government, parliamentarians and local authorities in budget expenditure and disbursements, mainly by covering various funds, the Constituency Development Fund, the Local Authority Transfer Fund, the Youth Enterprise & Development Fund and the Economic Stimulus Package. Unfortunately, the platform at www.opengovernance.info is currently unavailable.

You can download the newsletter here.

(Thx @Katrinskaya for the link)

eGovernment means citizen engagement

7 June 2010

I just came across Tiago’s tweet that linked me to the announcement of how the UN eGovernment Survey 2010 will be modified to stay up-to-date with the ongoing development in ICT. eGovernment and thus the relation of citizens with their governments is a becoming more and more important in fighting corruption.

One of the trends is of course Open Data, a very exciting discussion on governments opening up their data for common use, with some governments such as Norway and the UK having recently announced to go ahead.

This way. The other one is how citizens are being engaged and motivated to participate in these processes. This trend and opportunity is maybe even more important, with it being the only way governments and how services are provided can be held to account outside of elections.

In the words of Haiyan Qian, Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management at the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA):

“We want to see governments engaging citizens actively, not passively. Gathering citizen feedback is not enough. Citizens need to be drawn into decision-making and monitoring to help governments boost transparency and accountability, and reduce corruption.”

A great example for social media enhancing dialogue between public works and citizens can be found on SeeClickFix in fixing a dangerous pedestrian crossing. Some call this citizen engagement even the next internet boom of Government 2.0, as it redistributes “governance to the hands of citizens”.

So far, I haven’t paid much attention to the survey. If the UN finds a way of integrating citizen engagement into the measurement of effective and successful eGovernment, I maybe should.