Beirut, 20 November 2020 (ESCWA)--The devastating impact of COVID-19 stretches across all social, economic and environmental aspects of people’s lives. To discuss government responses to the pandemic in the Arab region and identify good lessons for the future, ESCWA, UNDESA and the EU-OECD Initiative SIGMA held a webinar on 17 November titled "Agile Government Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Arab Region: What Are We Learning for a Better Future?"
Forming part of the Government after Shock Forum initiated by the OECD Observatory for Public Sector Innovation, the webinar was aimed at rethinking public services and leveraging innovation to improve their quality.
"Trust in government has proven to be a major factor in the COVID-19 era and it is of great importance for all Arab countries," said the leader of the Governance and Conflict Prevention Cluster at ESCWA, Mr. Tarik Alami. He also stressed the need for building resilient institutions that are open, transparent and accountable to enable service delivery up to expectations and societal progress.
Speakers shared good government responses to the pandemic and considered digital technologies and innovation as a must to sustain public service delivery during crises.
For her part, the Chief of the Innovation Section at ESCWA, Ms. Nibal Idlebi, underpinned the need to accelerate digital transformation in the region, highlighting current trends and uses of new technologies in the provision of innovative solutions in the response to the pandemic.
An example of agile responses was the use of online tools and platforms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the establishment of call centres to sustain public services. This has required setting strong technical standards and leveraging innovation to extend e-services to all while giving special attention to vulnerable groups.
Over 100 participants actively engaged with the speakers who represented the global arena and Arab countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, the State of Palestine, Tunisia and the UAE.
For more information:
- Ms. Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, +961-70-008-879; email: firstname.lastname@example.org