Regional Cooperation for the Advancement of Electronic Government

20 December 2017 - A Open Forum on Other in Geneva, Switzerland

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Full Session Transcript

>> ISRAEL ROSAS:  Good morning, everyone.  This is open forum.  The session is about to start.  The session will be moderated by Mr. Victor Lagunes, head of the unit of innovation and office of the President in Mexico.  So, Mr. Lagunes, you have the floor.  Thank you. 

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Hello.  Good morning, everyone.  I have the honour of serving as the head of IT strategy of innovation for the office of the President in Mexico.  It's my pleasure to serve as the moderator of this session.  Thank you, Israel. 

 

 

Welcome to open forum, regional cooperation for the advancement of e‑Government.  We call our Red GEALC. 

 

 

With us is Yolanda Martinez Mancilla.  She is connected.  We are going to be hearing her through these devices, as we don't have connected to the speakers.  She is the head of the unit for political administration in Mexico.  We also have with us Mr. (?) management of Brazil.  Government of the Ministry modernization of Argentina.  Ms. Alejandra (?) chief communications officer and the office of the President of Uruguay and the lack IGF committee.  (?)

 

 

Also we have Mr. (?).  An honour to have you here. 

 

 

First we will have a remote presentation by Ms. Martinez.  Please go ahead, Yolanda. 

 

 

>> YOLANDA MARTINEZ MANCILLA:  Good morning, everyone.  Happy to be with you.  We definitely share the principles of the community.  (?) and IBD.  For those of you that have never heard of Red GEALC, we are a network of Digital Government Strategy in America and the Caribbean.  We consider ourselves the agents of change, and true collaboration, that we can develop (?) share common ‑‑ to iterate the design, government services that can really serve the needs of our region, and it is true this network and collaboration that we are able to know each other, to get to know each country's digital strategies, priorities, challenges, and is a very active community. 

 

 

We get together once a year physically.  During the year, our different teams, technical teams, our policy teams, digital indicators team get together to develop common platforms for collaboration and public services. 

 

 

We are definitely committed to use technology and innovation to transform how government works and how government delivers services to our citizens.  We promote open government, transparency, citizen participation, collaboration, and we do that work as a team. 

 

 

We have a structure that allows countries to participate activity.  We have the annual members assembly meeting once a year.  We have an executive committee.  Two countries coming from different regions to ‑‑ from the region, from Mesoamerica, from Caribbean, OAS, IADB, supporting a lot of initiatives that we have throughout the year. 

 

 

It is a very important governance process, especially when we have different transitions in different times of the year for the countries.  So when a new government comes in place, the network becomes very important in welcoming the new team that comes into the national digital strategy of that country to help them get around the international agenda and to really help them align to what is a common ground priority, which is to have a public sector that can really deliver. 

 

 

So we have working plans that we collaboratively agree on our annual meeting, and then we set up working groups, and the purpose of the working groups is to develop community practice according to our priorities.  It is a very rich community that allows our people to have cooperation for various issues, like what is the interdevelopment platform that X country is using what.  Is the common framework that X and X country is using to deliver public services.  What is the measure of activities that we do to encourage open government participation, so it is this exchange that really makes valuable to have the opportunity to be part of that network and to realize when a new challenge comes, implementing of the delivery of new initiative, you always have the network to support any challenge and to give feedback, and to be able to become better in what we do. 

 

 

I think something that has been very valuable in this coming year is as a region, we agree on working in measuring a set of e‑Government indicators, which is really important.  Most of the countries in the world use as a benchmark the United Nations e‑Government index, which is published every two years.  But the technology is wide and covers a lot of (?) and not necessarily the region.  So it was a very important exercise to have measuring working group this year to set up the baseline of what type of indicators all member countries have, are going to be focusing our priorities to make sure that we have the data to measure what we want to measure, and that we have enough information so we can compare to each other and help each other in the capacity, and to deliver better. 

 

 

So, the major tracks under these first set of digital government indicators framework is to measure the digital service transactionality, to measure what is in the use of the tech signature, the use of the interoperability frameworks, the develop and co‑creation of public software that can really help us deliver more effectively and design the public services.  To have a standard measures to evaluate E‑services usage.  And most important, to have a standard measures on how we account for E‑services satisfaction. 

 

 

So having these common principles for measuring how are we doing in our implementation of digital strategy I think is a very positive outcome of this particular working group. 

 

 

Another work we do is pilot programmes, our technical programmes get together and implement a common ground solution that can help other countries become more efficient in the design and redesign of the services or to deliver a particular public policy.  We also work a lot in 2017 to develop and renew our website.  We're in the process of migrating all the content into it, so we invite all of you to come, and especially to contribute.  It's an open space.  It's an innovation hub where we want to account and to have all contact information of people involved in digital government in the region, to document best practices and successful projects and policies that have delivered a lot of impact to the citizens of a particular country and can be easily replicated if we work together as a team. 

 

 

We work a lot with the European Union, and we have a very strong collaboration.  Recently in our yearly meeting, we have the CIO, and currently Estonia is leading the European consul with a very strong agenda digitizing, promoting interregional digital services among the European Union, so we see that as a good opportunity for the Latin American region to collaborate and to deliver more effectively digital services that are integrated within the region. 

 

 

We also are very active in the international agenda.  We participate within the e‑Government track under eLAC.  Countries participate in Pacifico.  We have a very strong collaboration with OECD countries and a very strong collaboration in meeting the sustainable agenda.  We organise the working group AbreLatam, which is the major conference on open data in the regions, and where all open data teams come together and agree on the priorities for open data that is indispensable to open transparency innovation across government. 

 

 

So, within the last years, we have been very active in having more than 900 officials trained.  Exchange of experts is a very rich experience and it's something that we look to promote to happen in other regions and to have insights and opinions on how we can improve our work within (?) having a multi‑stakeholder participation.  So this is a big introduction of what is Red GEALC.  I think the rest of the participants in today's panel can share with you the impact of the network. 

 

 

Thank you, victor. 

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Thank you so much, Yolanda.  It's 2:30 in the morning where Yolanda is at, and if you know Yolanda, you know that's not an issue for her, and you heard her presentation in a very succinct and eloquent manner.  So we thank you, Yolanda, for your input.  She presented the goals and success of the Red GEALC.  Continuing these efforts as we move forward. 

 

 

Over three member countries and the countries of the collaborative work within the network framework. 

 

 

Let's start with Argentina.  Your opinion on the strengths of having the organisation for electronic government in the region and has Argentina been part of this effort. 

 

 

>> PANELIST:  Thank you.  For us, we see a huge opportunity for Latin American and Caribbean countries to develop the government making better services, but also thinking in a regional way that's exchanging experiences.  Argentina right now has assumed the (?) or the G20.  For the first time, we just add a track of additional government that wasn't in the previous G20 strategies, because we feel that we had a lot to learn from government trying to make government more efficient, more citizen‑driven, and that's an opportunity that we can push through G20 and make a Latin American‑Caribbean flavor into it.  That's an opportunity for our region to collaborate, to software share, you know, cases of success, but also failures, learning from each other, learning and reinventing the wheel which is a typical thing of government. 

 

 

So, I guess I'm going to stop here and learn about my colleagues and try to start a discussion with you here.  Thank you all.  

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Thank you. 

 

 

Let's now ask whether the challenges that the Latin American has to promote the government, and (?) the community.  He is also connected mobile. 

 

 

>> MIGUEL PORRUA:  Good morning, everyone.  Can you hear me okay? 

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Yes, please go ahead. 

 

 

>> MIGUEL PORRUA:  Let me by thanking the United Nations, the government of Mexico for the opportunity of being awake at 3:00 a.m. in the morning.  Just kidding.  Just for the opportunity to join you in this exchange.  I would like ‑‑

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Excuse me.  Is it possible to get a little bit more volume on your side?  Thank you. 

 

 

>> MIGUEL PORRUA:  I will have to scream further.  Maybe (?) will join me in the exchange.  Can you hear me now okay? 

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Yes, thank you. 

 

 

>> MIGUEL PORRUA:  Perfect.  So I was saying that I would like to thank the United Nations and the government of Mexico for this opportunity to join you in the discussion, and also I would like to congratulate Yolanda, the President of Red GEALC for her performance these years.  What she showed is just part of the impressive job that she led in Red GEALC. 

 

 

Let me try to address the two questions that you asked me to talk about, Victor.  First, the challenge that digital faces in the region.  In my view, in the bank's view, the region has progressed significantly as per most of the e‑Government bankings worldwide show, but still faces some challenges.  First of all, what it leads to is institutionality.  There's very few countries have a government type of role where that person leads and champions at the strategic level of digital government in the region, and still half of the countries in Latin America that do not have digital government strategy.  It's just 17 out of 32 that do have the strategy, according to the OECD survey recently completed. 

 

 

There's also scarcity of human talent of technology in general, which affects the capacity of the digital government teams to assemble qualified teams.  I was reading recently a survey that shows that there is 140,000 professionals in cybersecurity in the region that has to be filled in the upcoming five years.  It's just a small part of the digital government arena in the region.  So there is limited pool of talent available for digital government. 

 

 

Another big challenge I think is still connectivity, although half of the region is connected.  Half of the region, it is not connected.  So we still have a job to do both in infrastructure and in accessibility, and (?) is right there and he's doing a great job to prioritize a million Argentines per year to ensure that they get connected to the Internet. 

 

 

Another challenge is in our view the limited financial resources available for digital government projects.  I mean, there is several countries, and probably you are sitting there with some exceptions in the region that do have resources to invest in digital government projects, but I would say the majority of the digital government offices, the struggle to get a financial support for those projects. 

 

 

And I think the region also faces a challenge in generating knowledge in the region, and generating technology in the region.  I think in Latin America, we still have to import a lot of knowledge and a lot of technology, and we should be able to generate more in our region. 

 

 

One final challenge I would say is the difficulty of our region in general and in e‑Government in particular to move from cooperation and collaboration to integration.  I am thinking of just the adoption of more regional standards or more interoperability projects, and that is I think a pending subject for the network. 

 

 

What the bank is doing to help the network and help address some of those challenges is the following.  We've been supporting the Red GEALC for the past 12 years, both financially and through funding from the government of Korea and technically.  We've been (?) the executive committee, as Yolanda Martinez mentioned in the beginning. 

 

 

It relates to the scarcity of qualified Human Resources.  Yolanda mentioned the numbers about the government officials trained, and we also launched very recently a mock, we launched it in the last Red GEALC meeting in Santo Domingo, and we hope to train thousands of Latin Americans with this free training activity offered to the region. 

 

 

The bank has a strong initiative to support countries both technically and financially in their efforts to bringing connectivity to all the region.  And what relates to the limited financial resources, the bank is very actively working with the countries that need support to design a bank operations that provide the continuity to the financial support of digital projects.  We have ‑‑ just this year, we approved seven loan operations in the region with a strong focus on digital government in different countries.  I would say about half of the countries in the region received financial support from the bank, from the loan operations. 

 

 

We also ‑‑ we're also very active in supporting generation of knowledge, in doing research, in generated publications that give local knowledge, and in that regard, Red GEALC has been a great help to gather the data and to collect the necessary service for that regional knowledge. 

 

 

So we also, through different branches of the bank like the multi‑lateral investment fund or the investment of competitiveness in the region of technology, we support in the private sector, the entrepreneurs in the technology field to try to incentivise the generation of technology in our own region.  So this is kind of ‑‑ sorry, Victor, I can go farther in the open exchange, but I don't want to take more than the five minutes allotted to me, so I will just leave it here, and I'll be ready to answer any questions. 

 

 

And again, thank you for the opportunity. 

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Thank you so much, Mr. Porrua. 

 

 

Mr. Pagoti, in your opinion, what kind of participation does your country establish with other states in its network?  Thank you. 

 

 

>> PANELIST:  Thank you.  Brazil is learning a lot with Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, how to deliver better services for the citizen community, and how we adopt the process to deliver that service.  And see what this country did in the past and try to share, try to be more collaborate with this country, you know, because in my opinion, the government need you to be a provider of the service, you know?  Because in the future, we become ‑‑ the citizen decide where we to live or where you ‑‑ once you pay the tax, because if a country close to Brazil like Argentina provides better services like education, health, anything else, I believe the citizen can change your country and pay tax there and consume services there. 

 

 

So my opinion, the Brazilian government or the Brazilian state needs to be prepared to offer better services in a short time and, you know, I will say to be more collaborative and use the experience from this country.  Thank you so much. 

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Thank you so much.  From the experience of Uruguay, how does Red GEALC contribute to cooperation among the Latin American and Caribbean countries and how can these efforts add value to multi‑stakeholder firms such as IGF and the lack IGF? 

 

 

>> PANELIST:  First of all, I would like to say that I am glad to be here, and that we are appreciating the invitation to present on this panel.  On behalf of the (?) of the agency of electronic government society of Uruguay, the most I know, responsible for international relationship of the agency.  Both of them work in this network every day, as you know. 

 

 

Uruguay has been working in the GEALC network since 2003.  We had the honour of chairing the first committee when the government of the network was defined for the first two years.  We appreciate the recognition and trust all of you gave to us.  In the last meeting of the Red GEALC held in Santo Domingo last month, one of the issues that stood out was the (?) existence of the network, because as a network, it's probably one of the best networks in the world.  Why?  Because it is very active.  In what sense is it active?  It's active in the personal relationships that exist between all directors and it's active because there are many one‑on‑one corporations (?). 

 

 

We are highly committed and have an active participation in all instances of the network.  In the studies, in the working groups, in the discussions.  I would like to say that the network has the opportunity to identify and get to know the offices responsible for the digital government in the region.  Know each other and stay connect.  And in that sense, our government changes and authority changes and the network from the dynamic it has already established contacts the new one, and say, hi, I am here to help you in what you need in these issues. 

 

 

And for us, this is a second function that the network has.  Engage the new ones so that we all help and situate them in the government context.  This is a way, in addition, which advances are not lost, that the process continues. 

 

 

We don't have established formal mechanism for this, but it works.  The Red GEALC integrates the new ones into the conversation space, more or less formal, and hooks them, because among other things, the network returns, you don't know what your country was working on.  Sometimes the help is not just to give continuity and make it historical, but help to continue the maturation process in the country on these issues. 

 

 

The network helps you to continue the process, sometimes make it available.  In the network, we can share experience, think together in topics that are very new, that's much explored, working with other is a plus.  It is better than do it separately.  Our countries aren't at the same level of maturity at the different issues.  For that, according to our different levels, we help to others when we are most advanced in a specific subject, and perhaps the same country (?) and another such that (?). 

 

 

For these activities, this corporation would have a (?) that he was talking about.  These activities, these actions we can put in stage one of the Red GEALC.  They are the initial (?) of the development process of the cooperation.  The network after 14 years, 2003‑2017, is in at audio stage.  We can no longer (?) to identify, contact, and coordinate.  We are beginning to share products from our collaboration.  In the last couple of years, we started to generate (?) for example, public software.  Latin American versions of public software. 

 

 

Chile, for example, (?).  Put it on the table for us to work together.  Uruguay defined uses for the initial phase of putting online services in the (?) station of development.  When Uruguay (?) it evolves, so everyone collaborate and change something, and we have a (?).  We are working in three public ‑‑ simple and for emergencies.  (?) that develop in our country and involves among all, collectively to better serve the needs of the region.  For example, the open data group, and (?) said something about this.  They choose a set of data that all countries will work on.  They are working in data (?).  The open data look is also working on a maturity model of open data.  At least of all the data that countries should be producing for their open data strategy. 

 

 

Another example is the digital government indicator that (?) talked about this.  They will define 15 indicators in six dimensions of digital government.  The six dimensions, digital signature, digital services, interoperability, satisfaction, and use.  Each country works in each dimension.  In Uruguay, it works in digital services. 

 

 

In 2017, we study, conceptualise, and test these indicators, and in 2018, we are planning to measure it.  After this, we hope to have these indicators on the Red GEALC website to have a section which we call (?) in numbers. 

 

 

Summarising.  The network is worth it and evolves.  The network is very good in what's normally a network is, because it has been sustained over the years.  Today it has begun to evolve in the type of collaboration to generate regional goods and Lat products.  What have we achieved in this Red GEALC?  Indicator for e‑Government that we are all going to measure.  We defined data sets. 

 

 

To finish, I would like to do a proposal for the future.  For us to take one more step, and instead of being only the governments in the network, why don't we invite other stakeholders to join the conversation?  To promote the maturity that the network (?) that discussions on the e‑Government issues.  Uruguay invite all the organisations here, technical community, Civil Society, private sector, academia, to help us in this new challenge, to start a dialogue to help us to design the shape in which this involvement would be possible.  We think in this way the Red GEALC would be strengthening and move forward.  Thank you. 

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Thank you.  Thank you for all your valuable insight.  In the spirit of the multi‑stakeholder vision of the IGF, we shall open the microphone to our participants to add to discussion and the inputs for organisations and sectors.  We have the good and Honourable presence here also of Mr. Belisario and Oscar Robles.  I would like to ask first, if you allow me, Mr. Belisario, to share with us this insight.  He is the cybersecurity programme manager of the Secretariat of Inter‑American Committee of the OAS. 

 

 

>> MR. BELISARIO:  Hello.  Thank you.  I am glad to say that the technical secretary of the Red GEALC is (?) for states.  (?) are doing outstanding job.  Actually, my colleague Miguel Porrua was doing such a good job that the committee had to hijack him.  We hope they don't hijack Fernando nor Mike. 

 

 

I just want to add a couple of thoughts about (?).  Maybe actions for the future, this goes a little bit back to the past.  From the OAS perspective, I need to tell you that I believe that the Red GEALC is perceived as a successful network, from the cybersecurity group, from the cybersecurity side.  Actually, we have cooperated for several years with you and participated in several initiatives.  This is the result and the success that Mexico is having today.  Sharing things in big part to the architects of this network since 2003, the governments of Uruguay, and of course, the sponsors of this initiative at OAS, at IDB, at the government of Canada, which have been impossible to build what we have today almost 15 years later. 

 

 

My colleague from the IDB ‑‑ I want to say that I disagree with a couple of things that he said.  I think the IDB has resources to prove him in the countries.  He said that he put seven loans and I think the IDB grew actually with more money in countries, with all due respect, and actually that's an important role maybe for the bank, and another opportunity in the future. 

 

 

Some of the points, like Miguel was saying, cooperation, collaboration, interoperability.  Those are the things that you can reach consensus at a political level in organisations such as the OAS.  And that actually could be the stability of the economic system and of sister organisations.  When you join the political consensus and actually the financial and technical cooperation. 

 

 

And thinking on the future, I don't think governments need to be shy or afraid to invest on this.  We are looking this year, the (?) success stories in Mexico, countries like Colombia, and others ‑‑ and other countries around the hemisphere. 

 

 

So our reputation is actually to foster the digital development, the digital development, and of course, from our perspective, as you think on the digital development, and the promotion of e‑Government services, so to all the citizens of the Americas, think on how to secure and promote a secure cyber space for them.  From our side, both the OAS, the IDB, and all the international organisations, private sector actors, Civil Society, we are working on this, and actually, we welcome that the Red GEALC is thinking and expanding on the participation of our members. 

 

 

So from the political side, I think that will be very, very welcome, I would say from the cyber perspective.  Again, I totally agree with the comment coming from our colleague from Uruguay.  The Red GEALC has been maybe one of the most successful networks, has been able to maintain, to bring results, but it's responsibility of its members to continue strengthening, to continue fostering, but that is only would be possible that it's more results, more products to the world.  Thank you very much. 

 

 

>> Thank you, Mr. Contreras.  Mr. Robles, you have the floor. 

 

 

>> MR. ROBLES:  Thank you.  We have usually contact with all these e‑Government initiatives in the region, and we've seen that even if the country has many challenges to be as competitive as they would like to, the e‑Government initiatives are very important for this competitiveness, and sometimes they are the ones driving the growth of the network. 

 

 

So the Internet is supposed to be a tool for delivering better services to the society, supposed to be a tool for governments to help do their job.  But the developing countries have many challenges, and one of the challenges is that the society is not the 50% that is able to be connected, that society is not the lucky ones to be a business case for telecom operators to deliver network services. 

 

 

So society is the other 50% also.  The ones that adopted this advantage to be select for many reasons, it could be geographically isolated for age, for gender, for language, for education, infrastructure, physically challenged, visually impaired, et cetera. 

 

 

So, governments, and especially e‑Government initiatives should try to engage many local actors to connect that other 50% to actually deliver services to the whole society.  Multi‑stakeholder is the answer for those purposes.  Society should not be just waiting for government to deliver access to remote places and for all those isolation ‑‑ isolated communities. 

 

 

But government certainly can do the job to bring many actors to the table and discuss many solutions.  Once that could be a business case for telecom operators.  Once that could be part of the government initiatives to deliver taxes.  Those initiatives that may be covered by rule communities, initiatives, the connection.  And so many other kind of solutions that could be carried out by many actors locally. 

 

 

(?) has supported an initiative from Argentina a couple of years ago, which is called (?) which is a solution by the society, by the community where the operators have no business case, so they find a solution to InterConnect many separated small communities in Argentina, in the mainland, not in the traditional cities, and to find a sustainable solution with cheap equipment, $100 equipment with free software or open software. 

 

 

So this is the kind of solutions that we think governments may help to deliver to the rest of the population, but has not the chance to be connected, and a way to deliver better services to the rest of the community that is not able to be connected at this moment.  Thank you. 

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Thank you so much, Mr. Robles.  I would like to accept the input for our colleague.  If you would like to say your name and organisation. 

 

 

>> PARTICIPANT:  (?) from Pakistan.  Thank you very much.  Basically, the government of Pakistan is implementing the e‑Government in the country.  We are well‑versed in government‑to‑government initiatives and we are taking initiative of the government and citizens.  We observe that the initiation of e‑Government in (?) has technical challenges, and (?) for this point. 

 

 

Basically, e‑Government is one of the key initiatives to take leaps to digitisation and to further the open data concept.  It also gave (?) effectively to promote the digital services to the citizens.  However, it is observed that international organisation, including ICANN, IDU, ITF are focusing on e‑Government, but the major focus of these international organisations are on other parts like ICANN is the domain season.  IGF is working for the governance. 

 

 

So my suggestion is this is fast and efficient data that the countries have evolved, particularly the countries well‑versed in e‑Government.  They can share their experiences and the practical ‑‑ (?) in terms of e‑Government, maybe have centralised (?) and they should be dedicated forum for the e‑Government, like the forum for the Internet governance, for data, forum for the domain and system.  Thank you very much. 

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Thank you so much.  We would like to open floor for questions, for further discussion. 

 

 

>> PARTICIPANT:  Thank you for your presentations.  This is a very important effort in this network.  I was ‑‑ I think that this is a very good example of the ‑‑ a very successful and productive regional cooperation, and with tangible results.  Of course, this also reminds us of the importance of using these important tools, technological tools of Internet for providing better services and to be closer to the people. 

 

 

And being the people in the center of this effort, I was wondering if you could comment or share some comments on the public reaction to these efforts and if there is any particular fields where you perceive that the public, the people have noticed or have reaction in a positive way to this effort.  Finally, I'll direct it to them as the main customers.  So thank you again

 

 

>> VICTOR LAGUNES:  Thank you so much for your input. 

 

 

So, with that, I would like to summarise and close the session for today.  Thank you first for all of your inputs. 

 

 

I think the efforts and the successes are already very, very tangible.  The networks being deployed over the last years are being strengthened.  They are proving their results in a very valuable way.  Not only we shared here what we are missing yet, for example, some countries with no data strategy, or understanding that there's some talent in terms of, for example, cybersecurity positions and so on.  But mainly, into strengthening and continued collaboration amongst all the countries, not only regional, but internationally, to be able to deploy infrastructure, to be able to deploy the little services agendas, and to allow the citizen to, of course, find their solutions themselves. 

 

 

One of the lines I like to hear very much is if we do offer access to the digital services to the citizens, they can actually change governments and change our countries for the better. 

 

 

So, thank you so much for your presence here, for your inputs and continuing your efforts within the digitisation of the planet and also regionally and locally. 

 

 

[ Applause ]