Decision makers and e-government experts meeting at the GCC e- Participation and e-Governance Forum are set to examine the global and regional developments on how governments are transforming key services they provide to the public through online digital platforms. Entitled “Meeting Citizen Demands and Transforming Public Sector Service”, the two-day forum set to launch on the 10th of September in the Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort and Spa, is organized by Abu Dhabi University’s Knowledge Group ADUKG; and aims to tackle the challenges that face governments in delivering the latest trends in e-services to a technology savvy and demanding public.
The forum will bring together key government bodies in the UAE and GCC, responsible for development of e-government in the region. They will shed more light on how they are implementing the most technological advances e-Governance in the most efficient ways and find ways to engage citizens in online conversations and be able to involve them in decision-making.
Dr. Ahmed Badr, CEO of Abu Dhabi University’s Knowledge Group stressed the importance of this forum as it highlights the success the United Arab Emirates has achieved in e-Governance and e-Participation, which was acknowledged in the United Nations e-Government Survey 2012. “According to the UN e-Government Survey, the UAE’s global ranking in e-Government online services has leaped to 7th place in 2012 from the 99th place in 2010”, explained Dr. Badr.
He added: “The GCC e- Participation and e-Governance Forum has received overwhelming responses. Experts speaking at the forum are from prominent local, federal and regional government authorities, state owned enterprises, network and technology providers and consultants specialized in e-Government initiatives”.
Dr. Badr pointed out that the forum opens with discussions on the global trends in e-Governance and e-Participation, and goes on to highlight several vital topics including: promoting e-participation and citizen involvement in decision making processes, driving the enhancement of services through location based information, delivering outstanding e-services to the public, streamlining operations with the government resource planning system, taking a citizen-oriented approach to providing social services, and how government bodies can defend against next generation cyber attacks. In addition to discussions on the methods of developing an open data strategy for government bodies, reviewing the state of open government data initiatives in the GCC region, establishing a higher citizen-centered approach to e-Government portals, creating an effective e-Governance strategy to align government activity with citizen demands, examining e-Governance and Information Security from an international perspective, and the methods of aligning Arabic content with the latest trends in web content management.
Dr. Badr lauded the efforts and continuous support the forum has received from various government bodies in the UAE And GCC, and their keenness in participating to share their expertise and pioneering work in e-governance and e-participation, including: Emirates e-Government, Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre, Information Technology Authority of Oman, Kingdom of Bahrain’s e-Government Authority, Dubai e-Government, e-Government Program of Saudi Arabia and the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
On his part, H. E. Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), said: "We are pleased to collaborate with Abu Dhabi University Knowledge Group on this forum, as it provides a valuable platform to exchange local and regional experiences in the fields of e-transformation and e-communication. We welcome and encourage e-government delegates from the GCC to participate in the forum, as we are certain that their participation will enrich the discussions and contribute to the success of the forum.”
Al Suwaidi added: “e- Participation is particularly important as a tool of communication between the Government and the public. The UAE’s efforts in the field of e-Participation were reflected in the UN E-Government Survey 2012. The UAE advanced from rank 86 in 2010 to rank 6 in the 2012 Report.” He noted that the report mentions that the United Arab Emirates and South Korea are the only two countries that deserve a score of 100% on whether the government takes citizen’s views into decision-making".
Commenting on their participation, H.E Rashed Lahej Al Mansoori, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC), stressed the importance of community e- participation as one of the main pillars to advance the shift towards an integrated knowledge-based society. He lauded the participants’ joint efforts to guarantee the success of the "GCC e- Participation and e-Governance Forum", which provides an ideal platform to strengthen the channels of effective communication between government bodies in the Gulf and enable them to exchange their expertise and discuss the latest developments, regional and global trends in e-Governance to ensure the delivery of the best e-services that meet the needs of the community in the most efficient and effective method possible.
He added: “The United Arab Emirates has always been proactive regionally in the in the field of e-government and e-participation through launching a series of initiatives that aim to improve the level of digital knowledge and enable the community to benefit from their government’s e-services optimally. Hence, from our position as a government entity responsible for the IT agenda in Abu Dhabi, ADSIC is keen to cooperate with all the members participating in the forum and enhance joint efforts to build solid strategic partnerships that serve the e-transformation process in the UAE and the Gulf region".
The GCC e- Participation and e-Governance Forum is hosted by Aim Events, the conference and events division of ADUKG, and sponsored by FireEye, PWC, EMC2 , Booz, Allen and Hamilton, Trend Micro and HELP.