In reaffirming the vision of a peaceful, prosperous
and just world, leaders at the United Nations World Summit in 2005
outlined a vision of ‘…building a people-centred and
inclusive information society, putting the potential of information
and communication technologies at the service of development and
addressing new challenges of the information society.’
Exploring the interlinkages between e-government and development,
the UN Global E-Government Development Reports and Survey presents
an assessment of the countries according to their state of e-government
development and the extent of e-participation worldwide. It also ranks
the 191 Member States of the UN according to a quantitative composite
index of e-readiness based on website assessment, telecommunication
infrastructure and human resource endowment.
The interactive e-Government Development Database is the virtual home
of the United Nations Global E-Readiness Reports and Survey and
allows users to view, sort, and print information from the UN E-Development
Data Center, or download copies of the annual Reports.
The basic message in the Reports is that there
are huge disparities in the access and use of information technologies,
and that these disparities are not likely to be removed in the near
future unless a concerted action is taken at the national, regional
and the international levels.
If disparities in ‘real access’ to
ICT are to be removed in the collective global march towards an
information society, Governments have to build an effective use
of ICTs in their development plans. The onus lies, collectively,
on the national Governments, the private sector and the civil society,
on the one hand, and the international organizations and the donor
community on the other, to come up with new initiatives for ICT-led
development, which ensures that every body, regardless of their
socio-economic background, has an equitable playing field. An inclusive
mode of governance demands that all citizens of a state have equal
access to opportunity. The new imperative of development is to employ
ICT applications across the board for promoting access and inclusion.
Expanding the concept of ‘real access’
to ICT into e-inclusion, the latest Report presents the Socially
Inclusive Governance Framework, which is a multipronged approach
to ICT-led real access, with a special focus on the need to promote
access and inclusion to the disadvantaged groups in society. We
hope that the findings in this Report will contribute to the thinking
among the policy makers, practitioners and the academia around the
world for further exploration of the issue of the use of ICT for
the ‘inclusion’ of all.
We also hope that the e-Government Development Database will urge
the Member States to come up with new and innovative approaches
for bridging the prevalent access-divide for the marginalized communities
and in ensuring that new technologies become an effective tool in
building an inclusive society for all.