Representatives from the Bahamas, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay and UN experts discussed progress and challenges in the Latin America and the Caribbean region, to ensure that digital government continues to be a powerful driver in promoting a sustainable future for all, during a gathering to present the findings of the 2022 edition of the United Nations E-Government Survey – The Future of Digital Government.
A webinar entitled United Nations Survey on Electronic Government 2022: Advances and challenges of digital government in Latin America and the Caribbean, held on Wednesday 14 December, was organized by the Latin American and the Caribbean Institute for Economic and Social Planning of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNECLAC) and the Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government from the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, with the support of the Government of the Republic of Korea.
At the meeting, experts from UN DESA presented the global and regional rankings and analytical findings of the UN E-Government Survey 2022, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. They also highlighted the main findings of the Local Online Service Index (LOSI) which, for the first time in 2022, included assessments of e-government development in the most populous city in each of the 193 United Nations Members States.
In their presentations, UN DESA experts highlighted that despite multiple crises over the past two years, Latin American and Caribbean countries, both at the national and subnational levels, have remained committed to pursuing digital government strategies. It was also noted that many of these were implemented specifically to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022, for the 33 Latin America and Caribbean countries: 58% (19) exceed the global EGDI average (0.6102), with 6 countries (Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru) ranked “Very High” category.. In 2022, Peru transitioned from the High to the Very High EGDI group for the first time. In addition, the proportion of countries in the high levels has been increasing progressively since the first editions of the Survey. Mexico, Grenada, Bahamas and Colombia are in the highest rating class of the high EDGI group and are well positioned for accelerated e-government development, though they may need to modify some policy approaches and strategic investments to achieve sufficient momentum.
Notwithstanding this, challenges persist. Adequate online government services should be accessible for people at any time and in any place – for convenience in day-to-day life, and to provide potentially critical support in times of crisis. One issue that requires particular attention concerns the efforts of governments to actively engage the public in online consultations and other forms of e-participation, which continue to be limited in the region.
Following the presentations, a panel of country representatives discussed the Survey’s regional results. The panelists included Mr. Hebert Paguas, Director Agency for Electronic Government and Information and Knowledge Society (AGESIC) of Uruguay; Mr. José Inostroza, Chief Information Officer, Digital Government Division of Chile; Ms. Paula Brenes, Governance Director Ministry of Science, Technology, and Telecommunications of the Republic of Costa Rica; and Ms. Carol Roach, Deputy Director, Department of Transformation and Digitization, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Government of The Bahamas.
Participants agreed that key drivers of success included considering digital government as a State policy, improving security and promoting an integrated platform of digitized services. On the way forward, participants agreed on the need to improve online services, making them simpler and more agile, and to enhance people’s engagement. Overarching this, the main challenge continues to be leaving no one offline.
About the United Nations E-Government Survey
The United Nations E-Government Survey, published by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, is prepared over a two-year period following an established methodology. It looks at how digital government can facilitate integrated policies and services across 193 UN Member States. The Survey supports countries’ efforts to provide effective, accountable, and inclusive digital services to all, bridge the digital divide and leave no one behind. In the report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation, the E-Government Survey is recognized as a key ranking, mapping, and measuring tool, supporting the digital transformation of countries.
Following the global launch of the 2022 Survey on 28 September, webinars and regional information sessions are being held to share further insights and key findings at the global, regional, and local levels. The Survey will be made available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish, thanks to the collaboration with external partners.