Ministers and senior electronic government officials from 29 countries in the region gathered this week in San Jose, Costa Rica at the invitation of the host government, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) to analyze how technology can be incorporated into public policies focused on citizens.
The Secretary for Political Affairs of the OAS, Kevin Casas-Zamora (photo), said that the government's emphasis should not be placed on how advanced is the technology used, but how this technology contributes to the modernization of the state.
During the meeting, international experts made presentations on topics as diverse as the challenge of social networks and their potential for citizen participation, the publication of data of public interest that may be used by others to create new online services for citizens and businesses, smart government and mobile devices, the privacy and protection of personal data, and the methods of monitoring the progress of e-government.
Another focus of the meeting was the link between public policy and research. This allowed for the presentation of the results of four research projects funded in this area. The results of these investigations, and other results of the event are available on the website of the Electronic Government Network of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is in turn the main repository of news and electronic government documents in the region.
The representatives of the 29 countries also awarded prizes for excellence in electronic government. The system of state purchases of Costa Rica, Mer-link won in the category of "citizen-centered e-government " and the solution "ttconnect Mobile" of Trinidad and Tobago won the category "m-government" (e-government through mobile devices). Honorable mentions were awarded in the category of open data (the data portal of the government of Uruguay), data protection (to the regulatory unit of that aspect in Uruguay) and information and communication technology with a gender focus (to la Linea 180, Brazil).
It was the third edition of the awards that are presented by the OAS, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada and the Red Gealc. Some of the previous winners are now considered as world reference experiences, such as the Public Procurement System (winner in 2007), the Brazilian interoperability system e-ping (winner in 2009) and the Plan Ceibal of Uruguay (winner in 2009).
This second and fourth ministerial meeting of senior officials is part of the work plan of the Network of e-Government Leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean (RED GEALC), which was established eight years ago and since consolidated as a platform for the generation and exchange of knowledge among the electronic government leaders of Latin America and the Caribbean.
RED GEALC, along with the Inter-American Network on Government Procurement, the Mu-net Program, and the portfolio of courses of Virtual Campus, is part of the initiatives of the Department for Effective Public Management of the Department of Political Affairs of the OAS in modernization of public administrations supported by the use of technologies.