Regional cooperation for the advancement of electronic government

20 Dec 2017 09:00h - 10:00h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the 12th Internet Governance Forum]

This session was moderated by Mr Victor Lagunes, Chief Information Officer of the Office of the President of Mexico. It aimed at strengthening citizen confidence in public and democratic institutions through actions that enable more open governments and greater transparency, accountability, participation, collaboration, and the delivery of quality services to citizens. These improvements are delivered through innovation, the use of digital technologies, allowing the state institutions to publish procedures on the Internet that can be carried out by the citizen, and exchanging experts to assist other regions with insights and opinions on how to improve multistakeholder participation.

Mr Miguel Porrúa, e-Government Lead Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank, congratulated Ms Yolanda Martínez Mancilla, Chief of Mexico’s Digital Government Unit and President of the Network of e-Government Leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean (Red GEALC), the United Nations, and the government of Mexico for participation in the IGF. Porrúa further emphasised that most of the e-government initiatives have some challenges and still half of the countries in Latin America do not have a digital government strategy. Only 17 out of 32 have a strategy, according to a recently completed OECD survey, and they have limited financial resources. There is also a scarcity of human resources in technology which affects the capacity of the digital government initiatives to assemble qualified teams. The Inter-American Development Bank is helping to address some of the challenges, for example by supporting Red GEALC for the past 12 years, financially, through funding from the government of Korea, and through technical support, bringing connectivity throughout the region. The Bank has approved seven loan operations in the region this year.

Porrúa further reflected that the bank has a strong initiative to support countries both technically and financially in their efforts to bring connectivity throughout the region, for example through investment in competiveness of technology and through supporting entrepreneurs in the technology field to try to incentivise the generation of technology in the region.

A representative of the Electronic Government and Information Society Agency (AGESIC) of Uruguay suggested that Red GEALC, instead of including only governments in the network, should also invite other stakeholders to join the conversation, in order to promote the maturity of the network.

Mr Belisario Contreras, Cyber Security Program Manager at the Secretariat of the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organization of American States (OAS), reflected on the positive effect of collaboration, cooperation, and interoperability that can help with reaching consensus at the political level in organisations such as the OAS, and promoting the stability of the economic system and sister organisations. Contreras also emphasised that e-government services should promote a secure cyber space.

Mr Oscar Robles, CEO of the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Addresses Registry (LACNIC), argued that e-government initiatives are very important for competitiveness and sometimes drive the growth of the network. The Internet is supposed to be a tool for delivering better services to society, a tool to help governments do their job, and also a tool to promote digitisation and further the open data concept.

The meeting ended with closing remarks from Lagunes, who emphasised the importance of using Internet technological tools to provide better services and to be closer to the people.  

By Robert Kikonyogo