Online is where we shop, socialise and find love. Increasingly too, information and communications technologies are transforming the public sector
According to one of our highlighted news stories this week, the smart cities movement is now at version 3.0, and the reason for the upgrade is the central importance of citizen engagement.
It’s taken no time at all for us to assimilate virtualisation in our lives.
Online is where we shop, socialise and find love. Increasingly too, information and communications technologies are transforming the public sector – impacting on our civic lives.
According to the UN E-government survey 2016 www.un.org/development/desa/publications/2016-e-government-survey.html),">survey, 29 countries score very highly on the E-government development Index (EGDI) in the range of 0.75 to 1.00, as compared to only 10 countries in 2003. Since 2014 all 193 UN member states were delivering some form of online presence.
As per this latest report, the UK followed by Australia and then Korea lead the world in providing government services through the Internet.
It shows that one of the most important trends to emerges the advancement of people-driven services that reflect people’s needs and which are driven by them. Also as a region, Europe provides 10 times more services to the poor, persons with disabilities and the elderly than Africa and Oceania.
E-gov can be seen as part of a wider participatory citizen movement, where technology encourages public engagement in all aspects of urban living.
In 2014, Moscow for example, introduced its Active Citizen platform, an online mechanism by which Moscovites can influence local government decisions. Since its inception, 1.9 million citizens have used it, around 2,800 polls have been conducted and more than 87.2 million opinions gathered. During peak load times users can cast approximately 1,000 votes per minute. And now Moscow is looking to champion e-voting using blockchain technology.
All the above is encouraging, but the knack for citizen engagement is nurturing an inclusive mindset that believes it has a stake in, and a responsibility to, the society in which it lives.
It has to be embedded in our schooling right from the early days, where children are encouraged to take some ownership of the environment in which they find themselves.
Technology of course, makes civic engagement far easier and convenient, but the will needs to be there in the first place.
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