Third international conference e-Society.Mk 2007
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The conference on the topic of “Inclusive e-Government” was organized by the
Metamorphosis Foundation last week within the frames of the project “Western
Balkans Network for Inclusive e-Government”. The project aims at
strengthening the cooperation and coordination among all the relevant
stakeholders, decision-makers, government representatives, as well as
representatives of the business, academic and nongovernmental sector in
order to improve the quality and raise the level of usability and
accessibility of electronic services provided by the public administration.
“Although the inclusion is characteristic for the countries with a more
advanced degree of development of the information society, this does not
mean that we should not discuss this topic in Macedonia and work on it,
since our goal is becoming part of the European society”, said Goran
Manchev, adviser in the Cabinet of the Minister in charge of Information
In the field of inclusion, as Manchev outlined, the Government is conducting
projects, such as “Computer for Every Child”, the vouchers for the students,
intervals of free internet access etc., which, according to him, are an
introduction into bridging the digital divide in society.
The executive director of the Foundation Open Society Institute – Macedonia,
Vladimir Milchin, emphasized that the people working in the central and
local administration should increase their knowledge and improve their
skills in order to enable the users to increase their influence in society
and in shaping the public policies by using ICT : “This means reaching the
goal of having an open government and citizens who have access, i.e. coming
to a certain degree of inclusion, without which the democratic, nor open
society could not be imagined”, said Milchin in his address to the
“Knowledge and skills are among the prerequisites for establishing an
inclusive e-government into an information society. The digital divide is
increasing. The gap between the people using ICT technology and the ones
that are not is increasing. Therefore, we need to bridge the gap and enable
inclusion. We are aware that if Macedonia does not perform well in this
area, we will fall behind the European countries”, stressed Marjan Gushev,
board member of the Metamorphosis foundation.
According to him, the “e” in the term “e-Government” stands more for
efficient rather than electronic Government, meaning that the Government’s
activities should be reorganized in order to result in providing better
services for the citizens and businesses.
The second days focused on best practices in the e-Government.
Most participants claimed that the region benefits a lot from the
transfer of knowledge about good e-Gov practices from the EU, especially
from Austria, Slovenia and Estonia, three of the five top-ranked EU
countries in this area, according to Capgemini methodology.
On the other hand, reposts from different WBC pointed out not only to
the low level of e-Gov sophistication (around 2 out of 4), but also to
lack of interest in aspects of inclusion, especially lack of commitment
in applying standards for accessibility and usability in existing
e-services. Bardhyl Jashari from Metamorphosis Foundation emphasized the
importance of cooperation between different societal sectors:
governmental, business, educational and civic in overcoming these
obstacles. He also pointed out that in the case of Macedonia, around 70%
of the population does not use the internet at all, so in order to have
truly inclusive e-society, all the sectors must find mechanisms to
include this portion of population in the processes of development.
About 250 representatives of the governmental, nongovernmental,
education and business sector from 11 countries participated at the
conference that took place on 29-30 November 2007.
E-society.Mk 2007 International Conference
(contribution by EDRi-member Metamorphosis Foundation – Macedonia)