UNU-EGOV attended this year’s edition of CeDEM Asia: Conference for eDemocracy & Open Government through Academic Fellow Morten Meyerhoff Nielsen, which took place in the city of Daegu, Republic of Korea, between 7 and 9 December 2016. The bi-annual conference saw in the past very successful events in Singapore (2012) and Hong Kong (2014). A total of 23 presentations on open government, social media use, participation and governance, plus multiple panels and workshops, were part of the programme for this year. CeDEM Asia is organized by the Danube University Krems (Austria).
Morten, who is also a researcher at the Tallinn University of Technology, presented the initial comparative findings of a Danish and Japanese case study. He focused on the role of governance and intergovernmental corporation to successfully provide online public services and ensure that citizens use them. This research builds up on UNU-EGOV work in policy-driven electronic governance and its EGOV for Context-Specific Public Service Delivery project, together with previous research carried out by Morten Meyerhoff Nielsen and Noriko Igari in 2012 (pp. 137-150).
The research highlights that, while Japan has a superior IT infrastructure and similar percentages of citizens being online, an untapped potential vis-à-vis ICT use in public administration persists, in particular in relation to public sector delivery online. By contrast, the Danish joint, cross-governmental approach to e-Government continues to prove its worth, however the current 2016-2020 strategy seems less ambitious and with weaker Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) compared to its predecessor. Japan is increasingly focusing on measurable KPIs and a national electronic identity and digital signature is being rolled out for citizens and businesses with good results. Japan has also introduced an e-Government Chief Information Officer concept and council in 2012 to increase the level of cross-governmental corporation on ICT.
A keynote presentation on gender, peace and data was also delivered by Michael Best, Head of the United Nations University Institute of Computing and Society (UNU-CS), which is the most recent of the several UNU Institutes and Operating Units around the world. Michael focused on ICT-enabled electoral monitoring to facilitate fair, transparent, and peaceful elections.