Introduction on E-Governance and Developing Countries - Paper By Michiel Backus

This is one of the earlier papers on e-Governance as a concept that extends beyond technology. While it might have a little taste of technology determinism, I feel that its frameworks in the study of e-Governance is pretty concrete, in particularly the few adaptations from the famous Gartner 2000 study. One of these frameworks is illustrated in this 4-stage model, where governments progress through a serious of technology adoption that allows it to use technology more and more as a tran formative force.

Looking at country laws as an example, 

  • Phase 1 (Information) might be the mere publication of laws and cases- taking into consideration that it is difficult to find the state of laws in many developing countries. 

  • Phase 2 (Interaction) might be the feedback from the general public about the state of the laws, unfair implementation, or a complaints machanism. 

  • Phase 3 (Transaction) might include features like automation of court cases so that transactions can be done online, or submission of formal feedback in parliamentary sessions.

  • Phase 4 (Transformation) is probably the most difficult to predict in terms of  impact on the country, but I can imagine a best case scenario where rampant corruption could be controlled through an comprehensive check and balance system that utilizes a comprehensive system using ICT as a boost. Or, for example in the Philippines during the Estrada demonstration,  where millions of people (using mainly SMS as a mode for rally) massed up at the EDSA Shrine demanding Estrada's immediate resignation. 

Another observation I would like to point out too is that, while I think that the above framework is very useful in thinking about e-Governance, like many other things in life, it is not absolute. 

WSIS "informal discussion" in Tunis about Phase 2 Meeting

An informal meeting discussing the transition phase from WSIS Phase 1 to WSIS Phase 2 that took place from 02-03 March 2004 in Tunis. WSIS Phase 2 will be held in Tunisia in 2005 while Phase 1 concluded in Geneva, Switzerland last December 2003.

This Tunisia-initiated meeting was led by the country's Minister of Transport, Communication and Technology, with assistance from the Secretary of State of Information and Communication Technology. Several government, civil society organisations, representatives from the private sector, other international organisations and the United Nations Regional Commissions participated in the meeting.

Civil Society Bureau (CSB) representatives who attended that meeting came up with a comprehensive report on the issues and concerns discussed. However, Tunisia's government representatives made it clear that the conclusions made in that meeting are of a "non-official nature" because the discussion results, once posted in the different WSIS discussion channels, will still be up for further debate.

According to the CSB report, the meeting sought to a preliminary Phase 2 discussion around three themes (which were divided into working groups per theme), namely: 

1) the implementation of the Geneva Action Plan; 
2) the expected results of WSIS Phase 2; and 
3) the WSIS Phase 2 process.

Many points were considered in the implementation of the Action Plan but concern was how to go about the implementation, process, especially beyond Tunis. Another major concern about the first theme is the identification of the main actors and their respective roles.