UNU-EGOV, part of the United Nations University (UNU) and based in the city of Guimarães, north of Portugal, is a think tank dedicated to Electronic Governance; a core centre of research, advisory services and training; a bridge between research and public policies; an innovation enhancer; a solid partner within the UN system and its Member States with a particular focus on sustainable development, social inclusion and active citizenship. UNU-EGOV strives to cement its role as an international reference of excellence in this area, bringing together multidisciplinary and multicultural teams around complex problems and emerging challenges.
The UNU is headquartered in Tokyo and is composed of several Institutes and Programmes located in more than 12 countries. It was established in 1972 by decision of the UN General Assembly to contribute, through collaborative research and education, dissemination, and advisory services, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States. It is a common goal of both UNU-EGOV and the Portuguese Republic to make this Operating Unit the next Institute of UNU.
We sustain public services innovation. We contribute to informed decision-making processes aimed at encouraging and promoting transparent, responsible and accountable institutions. We conceive electronic governance and digital technologies as tools to enhance social inclusion and active citizenship.
The mission of UNU-EGOV is to support the United Nations (UN), as well as its Member States, in transforming the mechanisms of governance and building effective governance capabilities through the strategic application of digital technologies. As such, UNU-EGOV contributes to inclusive social and economic development, environmental sustainability, and peace and security.
To fulfil its mission, UNU-EGOV:
The establishment of UNU-EGOV was approved, and the UNU-EGOV Statute was adopted, by the UNU Council during its 61st session on 12 May 2014, in Rome. The signing of the Host Country Agreement and Bilateral Agreement between the UNU and the Portuguese Republic took place on 23 May 2014, in Lisbon. It was signed by the Rector of UNU, Dr. David Malone, and by the Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and for Regional Development, Prof. Miguel Poiares Maduro. The signing took place in the presence of Pedro Passos Coelho, Prime Minister of Portugal.
The agreements regulate, among others, the provision of the operating and capital contributions by the Portuguese Republic, and the provision of the premises, personnel, and infrastructure by the University of Minho. The latter are detailed in the Cooperation Agreement between the UNU and the University of Minho, which was signed on 27 October 2014, in Guimarães.
According to the bilateral agreement, the intention of the UNU and the Portuguese Republic is to see the transition of UNU-EGOV from an Operating Unit into a fully-fledged UNU Institute.
UNU-EGOV builds upon a decade of Electronic Governance work within the United Nations University, which started in 2004 as a project and which, by 2007, had grown into a programme of the International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST), located in Macau, China.
UNU-EGOV commenced its operations in July 2014, following the appointment and relocation from Macau to Guimarães of three former members of the EGOV Programme at UNU-IIST: Dr. Tomasz Janowski was appointed as the Head of UNU-EGOV, Dr. Elsa Estevez was appointed as Senior Academic Programme Officer, and Ms. Sara Fernandes was appointed as PhD Fellow. They were joined in September 2014 by Mário Meira, who was appointed as UNU-EGOV Administrative Officer on secondment from the University of Minho.
UNU-EGOV is hosted by the University of Minho. Founded in 1973 and located in two campuses in the cities of Braga and Guimarães (which are separated by about 25 km), it is attended by over 19,000 students, 42% of which are on the postgraduate level, and employs about 1300 Professors. The University of Minho is one of the largest public universities in Portugal and a significant actor in the development of the Minho region in the north of Portugal, mainly due to its interaction with diverse social agents, namely in the economic/production and cultural areas. It is composed of eight Schools and three Institutes, plus several cultural and specialized units.
Strongly committed to internationalization and favoring multidisciplinary research, the University of Minho is also regarded as one of the leading universities in the country and in the world. It has been ranked, since 2013, by the Times Higher Education as one of the 100 best universities of the world under the age of 50. The latest ranking (2015, available here) places the University of Minho in 64th place.
The University of Minho provides UNU-EGOV with in-kind contributions in the form of premises, including security, maintenance, equipment and running costs; personnel; infrastructure; and accommodation for students.