Building trust in digital government services - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
11-12 September 2023

Building trust in digital government services

  • UN House, Beirut, Lebanon
Contact information

ESCWA is organizing a workshop on building trust in digital government services, in collaboration with the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization, the Internet Society and the International Telecommunication Union. The workshop aims to showcase practical approaches for trustworthy digital public services in the Arab region. It is held as part of the ESCWA project, “Expediting the use of technology and innovation for enhanced operations in Arab public institutions” (ENACT).

Participants include officials and experts from the United Nations, academia, international and regional organizations, and non-governmental organizations, as well as from ministries and public agencies working in the fields of digital government, cyber security and public administration development.

Recordings on YouTube:

Day One - 11 September 2023

Day Two - 12 September 2023


Outcome document

Key messages resulting from the workshop on Building Trust in Digital Government Services:

  1. Emphasizing the importance of emerging technologies for developing businesses and services, and the need to update and develop national and regional digital strategies in a flexible and periodic manner, such that they account for emerging technologies and the rapid changes and development challenges.
  2. It is essential to consider the cross-cutting areas between strategies (including those related to digital transformation, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence or other strategies) and to have cybersecurity an integral part of any national policy and plan that is developed and implemented.
  3. Involving all stakeholders, especially the private sector, is important for building and facilitating access to the cloud infrastructure used, and enhancing capabilities in the use of emerging technologies and the digital government services that rely on these technologies.
  4. Defining emerging technologies is essential, together with considering the local and societal specificities when preparing and implementing strategies for emerging technologies in Arab countries.
  5. The importance of preparing and adopting a new code of ethics that includes the basic behavioural rules for the use of artificial intelligence.
  6. Strengthening research and development efforts in the area of using artificial intelligence, towards enhancing the security of operations, especially in relation to classification, control, detection of crimes, and tracking perpetrators.
  7. Relying on the Arab Cybersecurity Strategy and its fundamentals is essential for developing national cybersecurity strategies in all Arab countries, whether those that enjoy stability and prosperity or those that face economic or political problems.
  8. Coordination and collaboration efforts should be strengthened between the Arab ICT Organization, Arab countries, various relevant organizations as well as all stakeholders, towards implementing the Arab Cybersecurity Strategy.
  9. Monitoring the ITU's Global Cybersecurity Index is needed to track the development of regulatory, legislative, and procedural frameworks for cybersecurity in Arab countries and the world.
  10. Strengthening awareness and political will is needed to increase the maturity or conducive environment for cybersecurity, as well as developing and implementing of national cybersecurity strategies, while accounting for the technological developments and challenges.
  11. Supporting cybersecurity awareness and training programmes is needed, and implementing these programmes in an inclusive approach that covers all sectors and people.
  12. It is essential to provide a secure and safe Internet infrastructure as it is the foundation of digital transformation in countries, and to rely on the related directives issued by the Internet Society.
  13. Encourage cooperation between stakeholders from the public and private sectors in the area of cybersecurity, to ensure the safety of online interactions and of public and private institutions and individuals.
  14. Promoting the establishment of Computer Security Incident Response Teams (CSIRTs) at the national and sectoral levels and emphasizing the need to create an Arab working group for responding to computer security incidents in various sectors.
  15. Updating the legal and legislative frameworks that govern cyberspace is important, while taking into consideration the need to invest in emerging technologies in a safe and effective manner.  Also, it is essential to focus on accuracy in issuing laws and legislations that govern the launch and application of digital government services.
  16. The legal system needs to keep pace with technological developments and to modernize the legal and rights-based work to be in line with the possible investments in emerging technologies.
  17. Updating existing legal frameworks is important to keep up with smart contracts. 
  18. Regional and international cooperation is essential for developing legal and rights-based frameworks that would govern the use of emerging technologies, given the nature of cyberspace and transnational nature of data.
  19. Promoting the development of an Arab framework or update of legal frameworks for the protection of privacy and personal data in the Arab region, and tightening the penalties contained in the enacted laws on personal data protection such that it becomes a deterrent to misuse.
  20. Developing and amending legal frameworks related to cybercrimes is necessary; and signing/ratifying international agreements specialized in the areas of cybercrimes and joining the related Budapest Convention are also important.
  21. Promoting compliance to international standards related to digital services and cybersecurity is essential, as well as developing unified/harmonized legal procedures.
  22. Digital government services should be introduced at the time of launch and when they are amended, while highlighting the level of privacy in their use and coordinating with the media bodies for the wide dissemination of their related messages in the Arab countries.
  23. Building trust in digital government services through interoperability of services, public participation and engagement/interaction regarding the benefits and risks associated with their use.
  24. Sharing experiences and best practices in the area of cybersecurity among Arab countries is needed, as well as benefiting from related regional and global case studies.
  25. Emphasizing the importance of Public Key Infrastructure, electronic signature and digital identity is essential in the process of improving cybersecurity and building trust in digital government services.
  26. Organizing regional meetings and workshops to exchange experiences and expertise in the area of cybersecurity and identify the challenges and most appropriate solutions, in light of the positive impact of these activities.

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