UN EGDI report shows e-government maturity
UN report shows improvement in roll out of services, more adoption of integrated platforms and citizen engagement
The United Nations has released its 2016 E-Government Development Survey, reporting a sharp increase in e-government platform deployment, increased accountability and participation, and increased efforts to connect populations to online services.
The biennial report into the state of e-Government adoption in 193 UN member countries worldwide, compiled by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ (DESA) as the E-Government Development Index (EGDI) survey 2016, showed an increase across key areas of services deployment.
In the introduction to the report, Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, commented: “The 2016 United Nations E-Government Survey highlights a positive global trend towards higher levels of e-government development. Countries in all regions are increasingly embracing innovation and utilizing ICTs to deliver services and engage people in decision-making processes.”
The global average score on the index rose from 0.4712 in 2014, to 0.4922 in 2016. Twenty-nine countries are now ranked ‘very high’ on the index, with scores of 0.75 or more, compared to just 10 in 2003.
The EGDI is intended as a measure of the readiness and capacity of national administrations to use ICT to deliver public services, and measures e-government effectiveness in the delivery of basic economic and social services to people in five sectors, namely education, health, labour and employment, finance and social welfare.
The UN report, released in Geneva last month, highlighted progress worldwide in the number of governments which are offering ‘one-stop’ platforms for easier online interaction, with 90 countries now providing single entry platforms for services and information, compared to only 45 countries offering a one-stop platform in 2003.
The rise in e-Government marks an effort to ensure that public institutions are more inclusive, effective, accountable and transparent, with 128 countries now providing datasets in machine readable formats, while social media is improving participation and inclusion in decision making.
“One of the most important new trends is the advancement of people-driven services. It addresses the growing demand for more personalized services that reflect individual needs, as well as people’s aspiration to be more closely engaged in the design and delivery of services. These new demands are transforming the way the public sector operates,” Wu Hongbo said.
“At the same time, disparities remain within and among countries. Lack of access to technology, poverty and inequality prevent people from fully taking advantage of the potential of ICTs and e-government for sustainable development. For ICTs to truly transform the public sector into an instrument of sustainable development, efficiency in service delivery must be also coupled with social equity and ensuring that all people can access quality services. Such efforts are vital to making sure that the sustainable development goals are at the centre of all government policies and of public management and that no one is left behind.”
The EGDI was topped by the UK, with a rating of 0.9193 (out of 1.00); followed by Australia on 0.9143 and the Republic of Korea rating 0.8915.
Among the GCC countries, Bahrain was the leader by EGDI score, ranked 24th worldwide with a score of 0.7733, the UAE was 29th (0.7515), Kuwait was 40th (0.7079); Saudi Arabia ranked 44th (0.6822) followed by Qatar in 48th place (0.6699) and Oman in 66th (0.5962).