About UNU-EGOV

Overview
Location
Head
Statute
  • The United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV), based in the city of Guimarães, north of Portugal, is a policy-oriented 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.

    The Operating Unit 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. It is a multidisciplinary organisation of scholars interested in, and dedicated to, the study and examination of the development and impact of “digital governance and government” (Electronic Governance or EGOV) in order to propose sound policy-driven research. EGOV fosters the use of digital technologies to enhance and support public operations and policies, citizen involvement and participation, develop sustainable cities, and provide an inclusive public service.

    Such as private industries, the public sector is investing and using more and more analytics, mobility, emerging technologies, social media, and smart devices to transform their comprehensive service delivery. These are changing the external relationship with citizens and other stakeholders, as well as the internal business processes and operations to take benefits of the new technological capabilities. However, while digital transformation presents new opportunities, it also creates new challenges.


    Establishment and background

    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 (then) 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.

    The Operating Unit builds upon a decade of Electronic Governance work carried out through the EGOV Programme at the former International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST, now UNU-CS), which was located in Macau. UNU-EGOV commenced its operations in July 2014 following the appointment and relocation from Macau to Guimarães of former members of this programme.


    About the UNU

    The United Nations University (UNU) is a global think tank and postgraduate teaching organisation headquartered in Japan. The mission of the UN University is to contribute, through collaborative research and education, 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.

    In carrying out this mission, the UN University works with leading universities and research institutes in UN Member States, functioning as a bridge between the international academic community and the United Nations system

    Through postgraduate teaching activities, UNU contributes to capacity building, particularly in developing countries. More information is available here.


     

  • UNU-EGOV is headquartered at the historical city centre of Guimarães since July 2014. Located in northern Portugal, Guimarães is one of the oldest cities in the country and historically associated with the foundation and identity of the Portuguese nationality. It was established in the 9th century as Vimaranes. Not only was the place where the first king of Portugal was born (D. Afonso Henriques, The Conqueror), it was also the main government seat of the County of Portugal, which existed between the years 868-1139. Back then, the county was part of the larger Kingdom of Léon. The Battle of S. Mamede, fought in the outskirts of Guimarães, was the pivotal point in the battling efforts of the people to gain independence from Léon and establish the Kingdom of Portugal, which happened on 26 July 1139.

    An exceptionally well-preserved and authentic example of the evolution of a medieval settlement into a modern town, its rich building typology exemplifies the specific development of Portuguese architecture from the 15th to the 19th century. Places to visit include the historic city centre, which is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001, the Castle of Guimarães and adjacent Palace of the Dukes of Bragança, and the Mountain of Penha that oversees the city.

    The premises of the Operating Unit were firstly installed in offices belonging to the University of Minho’s Campus de Couros, having moved to its own building in 2021. Located in an old leather manufacturing area known as Couros (the Portuguese word for leather), it has been heavily reconstructed to host the University of Minho, a Science Centre, an Institute of Design, the Jordão Theather, UNU-EGOV, and the Agency for Administrative Modernization. All together, this area of the city became a joint space for education, research, and creativity that entangles history and technology.


    How to arrive

    Mainland Portugal is served by three main international airports evenly spread throughout the country: one in the north, one in the south, and one in Lisbon (centre). For people arriving in Guimarães, it is recommended to book a flight to either of these airports:


    Porto is the closest airport to Guimarães, at a distance of only 50 km (30 mi), and is the only international airport serving the north of Portugal. It is a major gateway for European flights and an important base for low-cost European airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet. To reach Guimarães, the following options are available:

    → Bus: outside the arrivals terminal you can find the GetBus service for a direct connection to the city. The ticket can be purchased online beforehand or when boarding the bus. Estimated travel time: 50 minutes.

    → Train: outside the arrivals terminal you can take Metro Line E (Aeroporto – Estádio do Dragão, purple colour) to Porto-Campanhã train station and from there take one of the several daily urban trains to Guimarães. Tickets can be purchased online beforehand or at the train station. Estimated travel time: 60-70 minutes.

    → Taxi / Uber: widely available at the arrivals terminal. However, the price of a taxi or Uber to Guimarães is high when compared to other means of transportation (between 50€ and 60€). Estimated travel time: 40 minutes.

    → Car: once you leave the airport, take highway A41 (Maia) for about 10 km (6 mi) and then take highway A3 (Braga) for about 35 km (22 mi). Finally, take highway A7 (Guimarães) for the remainder of the journey. Highway tolls are in place, including electronic-only tolls. Estimated travel time: 40 minutes.


    Located in the capital of Portugal, about 350 km (220 mi) from Guimarães, Lisbon airport is the main international gateway to the country and a major hub to flights from Brazil and Africa. It is easily accessible to and from all major cities in Portugal, while being the hub of TAP Air Portugal, the country’s flag carrier airline, and low-cost airlines Ryanair and EasyJet.

    → Bus: outside the arrivals terminal, several bus services are available to Guimarães. Estimated travel time: 5-6 hours.

    → Train: high-speed trains known as Alfa Pendular connect Lisbon to Porto daily. A further connection to Guimarães is required at Porto-Campanhã train station via an urban train. Lisboa-Santa Apolónia is the closest train station to the airport. Estimated travel time: 5 hours.

    → Car: once you leave the airport, take highway A1 (Porto) for about 280 km (175 mi) and then take highway A3 (Braga) for about 35 km (22 mi). Finally, take highway A7 (Guimarães) for the remainder of the journey. Highway tolls are in place, including electronic-only tolls. Estimated travel time: 4 hours.

    → Airplane: it is also possible to book a flight directly to Porto airport. Several daily flights from TAP Air Portugal are available. Estimated travel time: 50 minutes.

  • Delfina SOARES is the current Head of UNU-EGOV

    Her appointment by the Rector of the United Nations University and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr David M. Malone, was made effective on 1 September 2017. She is the third person to lead the Operating Unit after Luís Soares Barbosa (2016-2017, currently Deputy-Head) and Tomasz Janowski (2014-2016).

    Delfina has been associated with the Operating Unit since 2015 when she joined as Adjunct Associate Professor. She has strong ties to UNU-EGOV’s host university, the University of Minho, where she has held various positions over the past 20 years, including Lecturer and Assistant Professor at the Department of Information Systems, and Researcher with Centro ALGORITMI. She holds a PhD in Information Systems and Technologies and a MSc in Informatics, both from the University of Minho.

    Delfina’s full biography and publications are available here.

  • Statute of the United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV)

    The statute of UNU-EGOV was adopted by the Council of the United Nations University at its 61st session in May 2014.

    Preamble
    ARTICLE I. LEGAL STATUS, STRUCTURE AND LOCATION
    ARTICLE II. PURPOSES AND ACTIVITIES
    ARTICLE III. ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND AUTONOMY
    ARTICLE IV. ADVISORY COMMITTEE
    ARTICLE V. HEAD OF UNU-EGOV
    ARTICLE VI. PERSONNEL OF UNU-EGOV
    ARTICLE VII. FINANCE AND BUDGET
    ARTICLE VIII. PUBLICATIONS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
    ARTICLE IX. RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS
    ARTICLE X. REVIEW
    ARTICLE XI . AMENDMENTS
    ARTICLE XII. DISSOLUTION
    ARTICLE XIII. TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

    PREAMBLE

    THE COUNCIL OF THE UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY

    REAFFIRMING in the terms of its Charter that the United Nations University shall be an international community of scholars, engaged in research, postgraduate training and dissemination of knowledge in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations;

    REAFFIRMING that the University shall devote its work to pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare;

    CONSIDERING that the University shall function through a central programming and coordinating body and a network of research and postgraduate training centres and programmes to be established or incorporated in the developed and developing countries by decision of the Council;

    CONSIDERING that the programmes of the institutions of the University shall include, among other subjects, the coexistence between peoples having different cultures, languages and social systems; peaceful relations between States and the maintenance of peace and security; human rights; economic and social change and development; environment and proper use of resources; basic scientific research and the application of the results of science and technology in the interests of development; and universal human values related to the improvement of the quality of life;

    CONSIDERING that the University, by decision of its Council, shall create such subsidiary bodies as it deems necessary, and include a certain number of research and training centres and programmes to be established or incorporated in various countries;

    HEREBY decides to establish the United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance as a research and training programme of the University, which shall carry out its work as stipulated hereunder:

    ARTICLE I

    LEGAL STATUS, STRUCTURE AND LOCATION

    1. The United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (hereinafter referred to as the “UNU-EGOV”) shall be an integral part of the United Nations University.
    2. The UNU-EGOV shall have the legal status necessary for the realization of its purposes and activities; it shall in particular, subject to the approval of the Rector, have the capacity to enter into agreements, contracts or arrangements, acquire and dispose of immovable and movable property, and institute legal proceedings.
    3. The UNU-EGOV and its personnel, as well as persons attending the UNU-EGOV on official business, shall enjoy the privileges, immunities and facilities which may be required for the proper exercise of the functions conferred on them by this Statute, or by virtue of decisions taken thereunder by the appropriate organs of the UNU-EGOV. The scope of such privileges, immunities and facilities shall be determined in agreements concluded between the University and the Government of the Republic of Portugal.
    4. The UNU-EGOV shall consist of:
      1. An Advisory Committee;
      2. a Head; and
      3. Personnel.
    5. The UNU-EGOV shall be located in Guimarães, Portugal.

    ARTICLE II

    PURPOSES AND ACTIVITIES

    1. The central purpose of the UNU-EGOV shall be to support the United Nations system and member states of the United Nations in transforming the mechanisms of governance and building effective governance capabilities through strategic applications of information and communication technologies to contribute to inclusive social development, inclusive economic development, environmental sustainability, and peace and security.
    2. Specifically, the UNU-EGOV shall:
      1. carry out policy-relevant research;
      2. translate research findings into relevant policy instruments;
      3. build capacity in localizing and applying such instruments within and among governments, the United Nations system, academic and other relevant organizations;
      4. build and maintain research and policy networks to share the lessons learnt, foster mutual learning, and bridge research and policy worlds; and
      5. monitor, evaluate and disseminate the outcomes and impact of its research, development, capacity-building and network-building activities.

    3. Pursuant to the foregoing, the UNU-EGOV shall:

      1. conduct electronic governance-related multi-disciplinary research and policy-oriented studies;
      2. ensure that its research, policy advice, capacity building, network building, monitoring, evaluation and dissemination activities are relevant to the current needs and priorities facing the United Nations system and member states of the United Nations;
      3. promote close collaboration with and among governments, civil society, private sector, the United Nations system, academic and other relevant organizations;
      4. award fellowships for research, development and advanced training in electronic governance, including but not limited to researchers, government officials, policy and decision makers, technology strategists and community leaders;
      5. carry out specific electronic government projects involving research, development, training and advisory and consultancy services, as may be financed by national, regional or international funding sources;
      6. organize conferences, workshops, schools, expert group meetings, seminars, panels and other relevant events;
      7. co-operate within the framework of its purposes, with the research and training centres and programmes, and activities of the University; and
      8. do and perform all other acts that may be considered necessary, suitable and proper for the attainment of any or all of its purposes.

    ARTICLE III

    ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND AUTONOMY

    The UNU-EGOV shall enjoy, within the framework of Article II paragraph 1 of the Charter of the University, the academic freedom required for the achievement of its purposes and the conduct of its activities within the overall University programme, with particular reference to the choice of subjects and methods of research, training and capacity development, the selection of persons and institutions to share in its tasks, and freedom of expression.

    ARTICLE IV

    ADVISORY COMMITTEE

    1. The Advisory Committee shall be entrusted by the Council with the authority and responsibility needed for the attainment of the purposes of the UNU-EGOV in accordance with the general principles, policies and criteria formulated by the Council to govern the activities of the University.
    2. The Advisory Committee shall consist of:
      1. Up to three members who shall serve in their individual capacity, including one member from the host country, appointed by the Rector in consultation with the Chairman of the Council of the University, after consultation with two other members of the Council as the Chairman may designate for this purpose.
      2. The Rector of the University and the Head of the UNU-EGOV who shall be ex officio members of the Advisory Committee.
    3. The Advisory Committee shall be established on a broad geographical basis with due regard to major academic, scientific, economic, social and cultural trends in the world.
    4. The Advisory Committee shall reflect the interdisciplinary character of the UNU-EGOV and shall include persons who have experience, qualifications and recognized competence in the disciplines related to the purposes of the UNU-EGOV, and young scholars.
    5. All Advisory Committee members other than the ex officio members shall be appointed for four-year terms, with the exception of the members of the first Advisory Committee, one-third of whom shall be appointed for two-year, one-third for three-year and one-third for four-year terms respectively.
    6. A member appointed to the Advisory Committee may serve continuously for not more than two consecutive four-year terms, with the exception of the members of the first Advisory Committee who, irrespective of the duration of their first term, may serve continuously for a further four-year term.
    7. When the office of a Advisory Committee member becomes vacant during the term of the member appointed thereto because of retirement, death, incapacity or any other cause, or when the term expires, the Rector may appoint a person for the remainder of the term or for a further term in accordance with paragraphs 2(a) and 8.
    8. Any subsequent Advisory Committee member shall be appointed by the Rector after consultation with the Advisory Committee and in accordance with paragraph 2(a).
    9. In exercising the authority entrusted to it by the Council, the Advisory Committee shall:
      1. seek to ensure the attainment of the highest levels of intellectual and scientific excellence in the activities and operations of the UNU-EGOV;
      2. consider and endorse the strategic plan, programme of work and budget of the UNU-EGOV on the basis of proposals submitted to it by the Head for submission to the Council in accordance with Article VII, paragraph 9;
      3. consider reports of the Head on the activities of the UNU-EGOV and on the execution of its plans of work;
      4. make such recommendations to the Council as it may deem necessary or desirable for the effective functioning of the UNU-EGOV;
      5. submit to the Council, through the Rector, an annual report on the work of the UNU-EGOV;
      6. promote the interests of the UNU-EGOV, including the identification of strategic opportunities;
      7. establish such subsidiary bodies as it deems necessary.
    10. The Advisory Committee shall meet in regular session at least once a year and shall be convened by the Head. It shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman and shall adopt rules of procedure, including procedures for convening special sessions, as necessary.
    11. The Advisory Committee shall consider the methods of financing the UNU-EGOV with a view to ensuring the effectiveness of its activities, their continuity and the autonomous character of the UNU-EGOV within the framework of the University.

    ARTICLE V

    HEAD OF UNU-EGOV

    1. The Head of the UNU-EGOV shall be appointed by the Rector.
    2. The Head shall normally serve for four years and shall be eligible for reappointment for one more term of up to four years. The Rector shall determine the conditions of service of the Head, in accordance with University practices.
    3. The Head shall be the chief academic and administrative officer of the UNU-EGOV and shall have overall responsibility for the direction, organization, administration and programmes of the UNU-EGOV. The Head shall, inter alia:
      1. submit the strategic plan, programme of work and budget estimates of the UNU-EGOV to the Advisory Committee for its adoption;
      2. direct the programme of work of the UNU-EGOV and authorize the expenditures provided in the budget;
      3. direct the personnel of the UNU-EGOV;
      4. set up such advisory bodies as may be necessary in connection with the activities of the UNU-EGOV;
      5. make, with the concurrence of the Rector, arrangements with relevant national, regional and international institutions and organizations with a view to offering and receiving services related to the activities of the UNU-EGOV;
      6. coordinate the programme of work of the UNU-EGOV with other units of the University and with research, teaching, and advanced training and capacity development institutions and programmes throughout the world, particularly in developing countries;
      7. collaborate with the Rector, in particular, in order to ensure the coordination of programmes of research, teaching, advanced training and capacity development;
      8. report to the Advisory Committee on the activities of the UNU-EGOV and the execution of its programme of work;
      9. provide the necessary services to the Advisory Committee.

    ARTICLE VI

    PERSONNEL OF UNU-EGOV

    1. The personnel of the UNU-EGOV shall be selected with a view to achieving its stated purposes. The basic criteria for selection shall be the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due regard to appropriate representation in terms of geography, social systems, cultural traditions, age and sex.
    2. The personnel of the UNU-EGOV shall consist of:
      1. Academic personnel;
      2. Administrative personnel; it being understood that the assignment to each of these categories shall be made in accordance with the provisions of the University’s statutes relating to personnel.
    3. In the performance of their duties, the Head and personnel shall not seek or receive instructions from any Government or from any other authority external to the University.
    4. The personnel of the UNU-EGOV shall be appointed by the Rector, in accordance with the provisions of the University Charter and with procedures approved by the Council. Such personnel shall be solely responsible to the Rector in the exercise of their functions.

    ARTICLE VII

    FINANCE AND BUDGET

    1. In accordance with the provisions of the University Charter, the University may accept voluntary contributions and gifts from governments, international, regional and national institutions and organizations, foundations and other non-governmental sources, including individuals, for all purposes related to the activities of the UNU-EGOV. The Head of the UNU-EGOV may also accept such voluntary contributions and gifts with the approval of the Rector.
    2. The income derived from investment of moneys referred to in paragraph 1 shall be available for financing the activities of the UNU-EGOV.
    3. Apart from the arrangements provided under paragraphs 1 and 2 and from any contributions that may be received by appropriation from the regular budget of the University, contributions and gifts to be used directly for current activities of the UNU-EGOV may be accepted.
    4. The University may also receive tuition fees and related charges in relation to its postgraduate teaching programmes.
    5. Funds received for the UNU-EGOV shall be kept in a special account established for this purpose in accordance with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations applicable to the University.
    6. The funds of the UNU-EGOV shall be held and administered by the University solely for the purposes of the UNU-EGOV.
    7. The financial operations of the UNU-EGOV shall be regulated by the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations applicable to the University.
    8. The Head shall prepare the budget estimates of the UNU-EGOV in a manner consistent with the United Nations regulations, rules, policies and procedures applicable to the University.
    9. The budget, as adopted by the Advisory Committee, shall be considered and approved by the Council as part of the programme and budget of the University.
    10. Funds administrated by and for the UNU-EGOV shall be subject to audit by the United Nations Board of Auditors.
    11. The general administrative, personnel and financial services of the University may be utilized by the UNU-EGOV on conditions determined by the Rector.

    ARTICLE VIII

    PUBLICATIONS AND INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

    1.  The UNU-EGOV may freely publish any results of its programme activities in the fulfilment of its purposes.
    2. All rights, including title, copyright and patent rights in any work or invention produced or developed by the UNU-EGOV shall be vested in the University.
    3. The University shall use such patent and other rights, and any financial or other benefits associated therewith, in furtherance of the purposes for which the UNU-EGOV was established and the advancement of its interests.

    ARTICLE IX

    RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS

    The UNU-EGOV shall seek to establish cooperative relationships for the realization of its purposes and activities with relevant agencies and organizations within the United Nations system, relevant national institutions and organizations in Portugal, and other relevant national, regional and international institutions and organizations.

    ARTICLE X

    REVIEW

    A periodic review and evaluation of the work of the UNU-EGOV shall be undertaken by the Rector in consultation with the Advisory Committee. The Rector shall submit the results of such review and evaluation to the Council for consideration and appropriate action.

    ARTICLE XI

    AMENDMENTS

    1. Amendments to this Statute may be made by the Council.
    2. The Rector, at the request of the Advisory Committee or after consultation with it, may propose amendments.

    ARTICLE XII

    DISSOLUTION

    1. The UNU-EGOV may be dissolved by a decision of the Council if it is determined that the purposes and activities of the UNU-EGOV have been satisfactorily accomplished or that the UNU-EGOV will no longer be able to function effectively.
    2. In the event of such dissolution, the funds and assets remaining to its accounts shall be used, as the Council shall direct, except as may otherwise be provided in the terms of any contribution accepted in furtherance of the activities of the UNU-EGOV.

    ARTICLE XIII

    TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

    Financial and other actions to initiate the operations of the UNU-EGOV may be carried out by the Rector under the authority of the Council.

    ____________________

    The Statute was adopted by the Council of the United Nations University, pursuant to Article IV, paragraph 4(b) of the Charter of the University, at its sixty-first session in May 2014 (UNU/C/61/L.9).