Implementing the International Criteria of ICT Evaluation

03 May 2013

imageUzbekistan is progressing fast in integrating E-government technologies

Tashkent City has hosted the ‘Implementation of International Criteria for Evaluating ICT in Uzbekistan’ roundtable. The event was organised by the State Committee for Communications, Informatisation and Telecommunication Technologies of the Republic of Uzbekistan (SCCITT), and both the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the UNDP ‘Local Governance Support: Participation and Partnership’ project.

In recent years, the Government of Uzbekistan has carried out gradual steps in applying information and communication technologies (ICT) in all national spheres. In particular it has worked to establish an e-Governance system by providing interactive services to citizens, business and legal entities, through both the official websites of bodies of state authority, and through the governmental portal (www.gov.uz).

Speaking at the extended meeting of the Cabinet of Minister of Uzbekistan held on the 18th of January, 2013, President Islam Karimov emphasised the importance of the rapid implementation of measures and projects within the field of information, communication and telecommunication technologies. In particular, he noted the importance of making up for time lost in the development of numerous types of information services, thereby helping Uzbekistan to enter the category of advanced states with high levels of ICT implementation.

In order to improve the interaction between state authority bodies and both citizens and business entities, and to monitor the implementation of ICT, President Islam Karimov has set a concrete task of implementing international criteria and indicators, in order to evaluate the computerisation levels of various sectors and spheres of the economy, while introducing a systematic monitoring mechanism.

As the Chairman of the State Committee for Communications, Information and Telecommunication Technologies of Uzbekistan, Hurshid Mirzohidov has noted that one of the main tasks required for the further development of ICT in Uzbekistan is the widespread use of modern technologies within the field of state and public administration, and the development of electronic forms of delivery of interactive public services. Today's event allowed for the constructive exchange of views on the issue, since the evaluation of ICT implementation by bodies of state authority and business entities is of direct concern to all of Uzbekistan's citizens.

One of the organisations that rank the highest among the global rankings of e-Governance development evaluation is that of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). Every two years, UNDESA conducts a survey to assess the level of ICT application within the administrative and economic operations of countries around the world, and the use of modern technologies during the provision of public services.

The UN report on the state of e-Governance development remarks that Uzbekistan is progressing fast in applying elements of e-Governance. In particular, legislative acts have been modified in order to improve the governmental portal. At this step, the introduction of the evaluation criteria for e-Governance development, drawing on best international practices, is particularly significant and will encourage the effective monitoring of on-going reforms within the ICT sphere. 

“Uzbekistan has set ambitious goals regarding the broad implementation of ICT in state administration, especially in the context of the development of an e-Governance system, which is an important tool to improve the quality of public services for citizens,” highlighted the UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan Stefan Priesner. “UNDP, through its pilot initiatives, has made significant efforts to develop e-Government in the country. Of particular importance is the programme that supports the introduction of the ‘e-Hujjat’ electronic document flow system, the establishment of Business Facilitation Centres in regional Uzbekistan, the creation of One-Stop-Shops for providing public services, and the strengthening of the court system through the introduction of ICT elements.”

The UN uses two indicators in its ranking survey, namely the e-Government Index which consists of indicators regarding online services, telecommunication infrastructure and human capital, and the e-Participation Index which measures the accessibility of legal acts, rules and information about public services, gauges the interaction between citizens and the government, and measures the participation of citizens in decision-making.

In accordance with UN methodology, there are four main stages of e-Government development. The first stage involves the uploading of information regarding the activities of state agencies, and the components of legislative acts, onto the websites of the bodies of state authorities. The second stage involves broadening one and two-way communication between the government and citizens, through the websites of the bodies of state authorities. The third stage involves providing advanced two-way communication between the government and citizens through, the websites of state authorities. Last but not least, the fourth stage involves changing the format of interaction with citizens through websites, specifically through the introduction of the 2.0 web platform and the establishment of comprehensive interactive services.

Today, many developed and developing countries around the world have successfully used different ranking methodologies in order to evaluate levels of ICT development within public administration, with an emphasis on online public services provided to citizens and business entities through One Stop Shop (OSS) portals. These services mainly include interactive and transactional services, as well as e-Participation, which allows citizens to interact with the government.

During the round table, Korean experts showcased the experiences of the Republic of Korea within the sphere of ICT implementation, specifically the work of state authorities in using e-Government concepts. It is worth noting that for many years, Korea has been leading the UN rankings in e-Governance development. The Korean government provides about 87 per cent of public services which can be offered from e-Government means.

During the national roundtable, its participants discussed the Draft Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Uzbekistan

‘On the Approval of the Ranking Evaluation of ICT in the Public Sphere, Business Administration and State Authorities on the Ground’. This document establishes the list of information required and state authorities responsible for developing reliable indicators of ICT development within Uzbekistan. The legal document also stipulates the approval of newer versions of basic requirements of the official websites of public authorities.

Among the main innovations discussed, one can note the importance of the tools available for learning public opinion and allowing for the discussion of important issues regarding the activities of bodies of state authority. In addition, state agencies should consider the possibility of including mechanisms that review citizen requests on their websites.

The round table event gathered over 200 representatives of the parliament, government, ministries and agencies of Uzbekistan, as well as international organisations and the mass media.