E-governance practitioners, researchers to meet next week in Macao

December 05, 2007

The concept of "Electronic Government" -- the application of modern information and communications technologies to facilitate governmental processes -- has been incorporated by many governments worldwide as part of their reform initiatives. Most Electronic Government initiatives, however, have met with limited success, constrained by an over-reliance on technology, too little emphasis on building human capacity, insufficient intra-governmental collaboration, or inadequate public consultation.

Recently, therefore, the focus has been shifting from "Electronic Government" (technology-enabled improvements in governmental operations) to "Electronic Governance": using appropriate technologies to achieve improved interactions between governmental, non-governmental and civil society stakeholders.

"Under this new focus, it is no longer acceptable to let technical or organizational issues drive Electronic Governance initiatives alone. Instead, a multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder and community-oriented approach is required", said Dr. Tomasz Janowski, a Senior Research Fellow of UNU-IIST and the head of UNU-IIST-EGOV. "Electronic Governance seeks to harness information and communications technologies to enhance the provision of public services, improve managerial effectiveness, and promote transparent, democratic processes. It even may encompass the creation of regulatory frameworks to facilitate information-intensive initiatives towards a 'Knowledge Society'."

"Many of the challenges of Electronic Governance present either new problems or new contexts for action. While these offer opportunities to advance democracy, accountability and service, they also present risks for all stakeholders," said Dr. Sharon Dawes, a professor of the State University of New York (SUNY) and a board member of UNU-IIST. "We need to learn to treat this domain as a knowledge-sharing enterprise, where experience and research complement one another to create well-informed policies, strategies and tools."

Experience and research will come together next week (10-13 December) when Electronic Governance practitioners, developers and researchers from government, academia, industry and non-governmental organizations meet in Macao, China, for the 1st International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV 2007). This conference will provide a unique opportunity for participants from these various communities worldwide to interact by sharing the latest findings in the theory and practice of Electronic Governance, and by discussing their specific experiences and concerns.

Held under the patronage of the Government of Macao SAR, ICEGOV 2007 is being jointly organized by the Center for Electronic Governance, United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology; the Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, State University of New York; and the Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. (For information about the organizers, see http://www.icegov.org/icegov/people/organizers/). The Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao Foundation, Macao Government Education and Youth Affairs Bureau, Macao Government Tourism Office, Macao Post, and eGov Magazine are sponsoring the conference.

"The ICEGOV 2007 is an important event underlying the crucial role which E-government can play in the process of governance development in all countries", said Dr. Guido Bertucci, Director of Public Administration and Development Management, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. "The introduction of information technology should provide the opportunity to reform government processes, making them more efficient, effective, transparent and citizens-oriented. Governance capacity is an essential element in the achievement of international development goals, and electronic governance can strengthen the ability of countries to achieve these goals."

During the four days of ICEGOV 2007, government representatives will describe their concrete Electronic Governance initiatives and discuss lessons learned and the remaining challenges. Industry and non-governmental participants will propose and demonstrate potential technological, organizational and societal solutions. Members of the academic community will present new models, theories and frameworks that can extend the understanding of Electronic Governance and serve as the foundation for building new tools and methods.

Conference sessions will cover such topics as "e-Participation", "Diffusion", "Implementation", "Innovative Applications", "Development and Electronic Governance", "Rural Electronic Governance", "Cases in Electronic Governance" and "Research and Applications".

The conference will also host tutorials and workshops focusing on "Formal Engineering Methods for Electronic Governance", "Interoperability for Electronic Governance", "Knowledge Management and Electronic Governance", "Electronic Government and Organizational Transformation", "Policy Development for Electronic Governance" and "Economics for Electronic Governance", and panel discussion on "Case Studies and Innovation in Electronic Government", "Education and Capacity Building for Electronic Governance", "Research and Applications in Electronic Governance", "Socio-Economic Development and Electronic Governance", "Participation through Electronic Governance" and "Coordination and Cooperation for Electronic Governance". In addition, the conference will host the inauguration meeting of the Pan-Asian Society for Research and Practice on Electronic Governance (a sister society for Digital Government Societies for North America and Europe).
-end-
For more information about the conference, visit the conference website at http://www.icegov.org.

To participate in the conference or learn more about the various Electronic Governance initiatives of UNU-IIST-EGOV please contact Dr. Tomasz Janowski (tel: +853 29712930; mobile: +853 66652305, e-mail: tj@iist.unu.edu).

* Event: 1st International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance -- ICEGOV 2007

* Date: 10-13 December 2007

* Venue: Macao Polytechnic Institute, Macao, China

* Co-organizers: Center for Electronic Governance at United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST-EGOV); University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY); and UN Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (UN-APCICT)

United Nations University

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