E-government Key to Implementing Sustainable Development Goals: UN Survey
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – E-government refers to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve effectiveness of the government and public sector organizations. Three primary domains of e-government include e-administration to improve government processes, e-citizens to connect with the people, and e-society to build external interactions.
A new United Nations report has brought e-government into focus by calling it an effective tool to help support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report 2016 UN E-Government Survey, produced bi-annually by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, is the only global report that assesses the e-government development status of all 193 Member States of the UN.
E-government can work to facilitate integrated policies and public services by promoting accountable and transparent institutions, such as through open data and participatory decision-making. According to Wu Hongbo, the top UN official on economic and social matters, efficiency in service delivery must be combined with social equity and accessibility to quality services for all. Only then the ICTs can truly transform the public sector into an instrument of sustainable development.
The report found that countries around the world are increasingly utilizing new ICTs to deliver services and engage people in decision-making processes. However, regional disparities and a growing divide continue to persist. Poverty and inequality prevent people from taking full advantage of the potential of e-government for sustainable development.
The survey revealed that the United Kingdom, Australia and Republic of Korea occupied the top three positions in providing government services and information through the Internet. The United States ranked twelfth overall. On the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) African countries averaged 0.2882, while European countries, averaged almost 2.5 times higher, at 0.7241.
The report also found that e-government has grown at a rapid pace over the past 15 years. In the 2016 Survey, 29 countries scored ‘very-high,’ with EGDI values in the range of 0.75 to 1.00, as compared to only 10 countries in 2003. Since 2014, all 193 UN Member States have delivered some form of online presence.
The report concluded that it is essential to ensure that the overarching objective of poverty eradication and “Leaving No One Behind,” a key principle of the 2030 Agenda, are at the core of efforts to mobilize ICTs to realize the transformation that the 2030 Agenda demands.