People-Centeredness through Inclusive e-Governance: Highlights from the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event 2024

On May 30th, 2024, the WSIS+20 Forum High Level Event 2024 hosted “Leaders TalkX 8: Click to Govern: inclusive and efficient e-service.” This event, moderated by Mei Lin Fung, Co-Chair of People-Centered Internet (PCI), brought together leaders from various countries to discuss the transformative potential of e-government services. The central theme, summarized by Mei Lin Fung as “Click to Serve,” emphasized that effective governance hinges on the government’s ability to deliver responsive and inclusive services to its citizens.

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Challenges in Providing Effective e-Services

Governments worldwide face significant challenges in delivering high-quality e-services that meet the diverse needs of their populations:

  • Constantly Improving Accessibility and Usability: Ensuring that e-services are reliable, easy to access, and simple to use.
  • Bridging Digital Divides: Addressing disparities in language, digital literacy, age, geographic location, and physical or mental abilities.
  • Inclusive Service Delivery: Providing services that are fair, safe, private, dignified, and respectful to all citizens.
  • Building Trust: Earning and keeping the trust of citizens, their families, communities, and businesses.
  • Encouraging Engagement: Fostering active citizen participation and feedback to continuously improve services.
  • Funding Infrastructure: Securing financial resources to build and sustain the infrastructure needed for effective e-service delivery.

The session underscored the growing maturity of eGovernment across Asia, Africa, and Europe, showcasing practical solutions to common challenges. 

The Philippines are empowering citizens with the program “Bayang Digital ang Bagong Pilipinas” (the new Philippines is a digital nation). The program reduces bureaucracy and allows citizens to easily send feedback to the person in charge.

Slovenia focuses, among other things, on the integration of underserved people such as the elderly and people with disabilities. The corresponding digital services will be proactively improved through exchange and learning with other countries. 

In order to keep up to date, fund eServices and raise awareness of digital opportunities among citizens, Kenya is adopting the public-private partnership model 

Senegal is also supporting the development of new eGov solutions by setting up regulatory sandboxes. This allows eServices to be designed, tested and implemented quickly in a participatory manner. As this development approach pays great attention to local culture and values, the trust of citizens is strengthened.

WSIS+20 Forum continues to play a crucial role in facilitating the exchange of best practices among countries, enhancing the collective knowledge and strategies for digital transformation. Each year, the forum enriches the global playbook for digital governance, speeding up the success of eService initiatives and reducing the costs and frustrations associated with trial and error.

Participants in this session were:

Philippines: H.E. Mr. Ivan John Uy, Secretary, Department of Information and Communications Technology (C7 E-government)

Slovenia: H.E. Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh, Minister, Ministry of Digital Transformation

Kenya: Ms. Mary Mungai, CBS, Chairperson of The Board of Directors, Communications Authority of Kenya (C1, C7 E-government, C11)

Senegal: Ms. Fatou Binetou Ndiaye, Secretary General, Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications and Digital Economy (C1, C4, C7 E-government)

Moderator: Mei Lin Fung, Co-Chair People Centered Internet

As Mei Lin Fung aptly summarized, the real secret to “Click to Govern” lies in governments learning how to “Click to Serve.” By focusing on inclusive, responsive, and trustworthy e-services, governments can truly empower their citizens and enhance their governance capabilities.

In this the year of the 50th anniversary of the Internet – we look forward to the next 50 years where with WSIS Stocktaking Repository and ITU Partner2Connect we together can harness AI to develop the maps for countries to successfully journey together to Click to Serve!” as I stated in my remarks at the WSIS Closing ceremony May 31. Held together with the highly successful AI4  Good summit which attracted Telecom Regulators and Ministers of ICT from a record number of countries – WSIS is establishing the ITU as the UNs Digital Agency. 

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