- Mr. Haidar Fraihat, Director of Technology and Development Division, ESCWA
- Mr. Nawar Al-Awa, Regional Advisor, TDD, ESCWA
- Ms. Nibal Idlebi, Chief Innovation Section, TDD, ESCWA
- Arab e-Government Directors
- ESCWA Team
- Opening speech by Mr. Haidar Fraihat, TDD Director (ESCWA) to welcome attendees, and br ief them on the aim of these meetings in enhancing regional cooperation in the field of e-government. The agenda of the meeting was then presented.
- Presentation of Mr. Nawar Al-Awa, Regional Advisor, TDD (ESCWA), to highlight the preliminary results of the Government Electronic and Mobile Service (GEMS) maturity index. The presentation started with reminding the participants of GEMS structure and objective. Then, the results of the pilot phase, that lasted for two years 2016-2017, were briefly mentioned. Afterwards, Mr. Al-Awa presented the results of the first full implementation of the index in the Arab region, that took place during 2018, and involved 13 Arab member states.
- Ms. Nibal Idelbi, Chief of Innovation Section at TDD (ESCWA) presented the project of fostering open government in the Arab region, and the progress made. Ms. Idlebi focused on the importance of the project for the Arab region, its intersection with digital transformation plans, and the adoption of open government data concepts, to positively impact transparency, accountability and participation of individuals. The presentation concluded by pointing out the main implemented and future activities.
- During this session, the floor was opened for discussion on the two previous presentations. The discussed topics covered the details of GEMS components, its comparison with the UN-DESA e-GDI, the challenges faced by Member States during the assessment phase. Participants highlighted the importance of this index as a tool for policy makers to assess digital transformation.
- Participants raised several questions regarding open government and open data in the Arab region. The discussion included the relationship between open government and access to information, and the importance of issuing/updating this law as a major step in implementing open government concepts. The discussion also highlighted the importance of national data classification, the need to focus on data dissemination to achieve the economic impact, and the role of protecting personal data and establishing the appropriate legislative and executive framework.
- Participant then discussed the future steps, such as following up with the remaining Member States to participate in the current GEMS assessment and to continue cooperation with ESCWA in evaluating GEMS to be launched in the last quarter of 2019. Participants also invited ESCWA to pursuit its support to implement open government concepts, particularly in developing open data policies and action plans.