The Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) conducted a sideline meeting on December 9, 2009 with the representatives of the Member Countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in the International Conference on eGovernment: Sharing Experiences (eGovSharE2009), which was co-organized by the SESRIC, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the eGovernment Centre (eDEM) of the Public Administration Institute for Turkey and Middle East (TODAİE) and the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) during December 8-11, 2009 in Antalya, Republic of Turkey.
SESRIC, as the main organ for technical cooperation and training among the OIC Member Countries, coordinator of eGovernment applications which is one of the main agenda items of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the OIC (COMCEC) and coordinator of OIC Vocational Education and Training Programme (OIC-VET), organized this meeting to stop closely on the obstacles and challenges faced by the member countries in the field of eGovernment applications and exchanged views and ideas regarding the construction of an OIC platform for eGovernment applications in the OIC Member Countries.
The meeting was moderated by Mr. Hüseyin Hakan Eryetli, Director of Publications and ICT Department of SESRIC. Mr. Haytham Zeinelabdin, Research Assistant, made a prefatory presentation, wherein he furnished the participants with the mandates of SESRIC. Mr. Tagelasfia Eltayeb, Translator, took the minutes of the deliberations made on the issues raised during the meeting.
The meeting was attended by 40 participants from both public and private sectors in 14 OIC member countries; namely: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Rep., Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Syria and Turkey. Full of aspirations and cognizant with the concerns relevant to eTransformation in public administration and eGovernment applications, the participants conducted a rich and vigorous debate, wherein they expressed their ideas, exchanged views and voiced some practical suggestions.
Hereunder are the proposals raised during the meeting:
Unanimously, the participants stressed that an impregnable digital security system for eGovernment applications is a matter of high importance to overcome the demerits of on-line governance. The issue of digital security is a crucial one, and should be taken as a key building block of eGovernment applications. The SESRIC could organise an event on, and/or publish practical guidelines on the "what?" and "how?" of digital security. In doing so, legislations should be made to enable the OIC Member Countries to adopt one common information and security standards. In this regard, SESRIC could prepare a listing of the headings and sub-headings of the Legislation that is essential to start and spread eGovernment uses. Besides, a Data Protection Act should be made available for the protection of the shared databases. In support of the above mentioned, the laws and regulations should morally suit the Islamic precepts.
With regard to the priorities of eGovernment applications, some of the participants indicated that some of the newly introduced OIC Member Countries to the area of ICT applications do not know exactly from where to start. In this context, the participants proposed that SESRIC could develop guidelines and draw the attention of the member countries to the available materials and help in defining what could be adopted. With regard to these facts the participants emphasized the importance of investment in human resources development. This has also recalled the importance that should be attached to education and capacity building programmes to grasp the sought level of technical know-how. Bearing this in mind, the participants suggested that SESRIC could assume or undertake the necessary research and build up a tool-kit or mechanism on and for the benefit of the OIC Member Countries in the area of eGovernment.
Some of the OIC projects that have been suggested during the meeting:
- Establishment of a follow-up committee to meet regularly and come out with recommendations pertinent to eGovernment applications
- Creation of Information Portal by SESRIC whereby members can share problems and solutions
- Establishment of an eGovernment Experts Database
- Establishment of an OIC ePractice community
- Initiation of an ICT fellowship programme
- Establishment of some working groups with the view to work on different aspects of eGovernment, such as:
- Norms and standards of OIC-eGovernment Applications and Practices
- Determining the sub-regional technical cooperation groups for sharing eGovernment experiences
- Establishment of sub-regional technical cooperation groups for sharing eGovernment experiences
- Organization of annual OIC meetings on eGovernment applications
- Establishment of an International Islamic ICT Union