Wednesday, January 9, 2013

eGovernance for Good Governance - Participatory

Democracy is considered as the form of government which has the most feasible governance structure and processes to reach Good Governance. While there are many factors contributing to true democracy, citizens ability to truly participate in the decision making process is highly important. Following are few issues in current various forms of representative democracy.

  • Once representatives are elected citizens has very little opportunity to participate in the governance process till the next election.
  • Representatives may not represent the real majority view on a particular subject matter.
  • Concerns of the most vulnerable in society may not be taken into consideration in decision making.
  • The quality and usefulness of information available for citizens may not be sufficient to choose the proper representation.
  • The quality and usefulness of information available for representatives to understand citizens view on a particular subject matter may not be sufficient.
  • Practical issues and limitations in using traditional methods to have wider consultation in all deliberations.
  • Practical issues and limitations in using traditional methods to assess citizens' opinion on every subject matter.

ICT is a great tool to overcome all these issues.

UNPAN (United Nations Public Administration Network) assess a country's maturity of ICT usage for Participatory Governance using the E-Participation index. In 2012, Netherlands and Republic of Korea leads this index followed by Kazakhstan, Singapore, UK and Northern Ireland, and United States. Its is interesting to note that even though United Arab Emirates is considered a hereditary monarchy, it is within the top 20 countries with an impressive ranking of 0.7368 (same as Finland and Japan).

However, currently the ranking seems to be only driven by the output not by the outcome.

e-People petition system ( is one of the good examples from Republic of Korea. It not only takes peoples petitions but also provides information about the outcome.

"Our Singapore Conversation" is another excellent attempt to get citizens participated in the governance process by the Singapore Government.

Kazakhastan's government blog site ( enables citizens to communicate with government agencies' executives. The executives are expected response and each executives performance statistics in handling these queries and suggestions are publicly available.

e-Petition system in UK ( is another good example of enabling citizen participation. If a petition is signed by 100,000 and its a matter government is responsible for it will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.

e-Petition system in US ( require a petition to gather 25,000 signatures in 30 day to be considered for review. Here is the response from President Obama for petitions about reducing gun violence.

If you know of similar or more mature examples, please do share.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Most important objective of eGovernance, Good Governance

UNESCAP (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) discusses eight characteristics of Good Governance.

If these good governance characteristics are pillars holding good governance, I believe ICT (Information and Communication Technology) can provide a strong foundation to build these pillars.

ICT policy of a government should align ICT activities of its stakeholders to strengthen these characteristics and the success should be assessed by measuring the outcome.