[Read more session reports and live updates from the 2nd Western Balkan Digital Summit]
Moderated by Mr Vladimir Nikolic (Programme Assistant at Regional School of Public Administration - ReSPA)., the panel started by Nikolic introducing the purpose of the panel as addressing the important question of eGovernment and digitalisation of public administration, and brainstorming on the ways to tackle challenges.
The first speaker to take the floor was Mr Slaven Bukarica (Programme Assistant at Regional School of Public Administration - ReSPA) who presented some of the conclusions from a comparative study conducted by ReSPA on the issue of public service delivery. The study focused on the intersectoral and intrasectoral online solutions. Bukarica noted that the WB6 have a lot of obstacles, in particular, in relation to policy implementation, connection, and monitoring. There is no standardised approach in evaluating the cost of public administration services and consequently the financial aspect should be taken as a topic for future discussions.
Ms Gordana Gapikj Dimitrovska (State Advisor for Administration in the Ministry of Information Society and Administration, North Macedonia) highlighted that the government of North Macedonia tries to learn from international initiatives on issues such as access to justice, open data, etc. They have sought to build mutual trust between civil society, public administration, and politicians.
Dimitrovska also pointed out that the government of North Macedonia realises the importance of data and data analysis and is trying to combine the use of data for the implementations and monitoring of different agendas (e.g. EU integration with the UN 2030 Agenda).
Mr Slobodan Markovic (Technical Adviser at UNDP) spoke about the digital transformation project that the UNDP is leading in Serbia. He emphasised that the project is financially supported by the government of the UK and Serbia and that it is focusing on a lot more than just e-government. However, digital transformation is not an easy task and a number of challenges have been encountered along the way such as working with a young institution, product management capabilities given than the government product is a portal, as well as the complexity of the existing system. Nevertheless, Markovic highlighted that the project has received strong political support. Another project that the UNDP is working on with the government of Serbia is on open data. They are providing assistance on the introduction of the legal framework for open data, as well as establishment of an open data portal.
Ms Sandra Pernar (Senior Regional Coordinator in Open Government Partnership) spoke about the factors for the successful use of digital technology. Pernar emphasised that technology can help governments become more efficient and credible and that it can therefore play the role of an enabler. Nevertheless, technology can also be a disabler and it can fail to open up governments. According to the speaker, technology can improve public service delivery in two ways. Firstly, it simplifies the delivery of services and make its more user friendly. Secondly, it allows citizens to give feedback on services they receive and therefore impact potential improvements.
By Natasa Perucica