The spread of information and communication technology (ICT) in the region has increased the use of electronic, especially, e-government services. The involvement of citizens and the civil society in setting national priorities and informing governments of their needs is fundamental for (To be confirmed by Division) good government and governance. ICT applications help engage citizens in the governance process, by providing a platform for debate and participation, in addition to easy and transparent expression, and by enabling citizens to participate in real and actual terms in an all-inclusive governance and political process, which would contribute to consolidating the legitimacy foundations of governments. This concept is known as the electronic governance (e-governance), which is an extension of the electronic government (e-government). It aims to engage citizens in governing and making decisions.
Given the importance of this topic, ESCWA has devoted this issue of the Bulletin on Information and Communication Technology for Development in Western Asia to e-governance. In particular, this issue deals with transitioning to e-governance by engaging citizens in the process through the use of IT applications, especially communication and social media networks. This issue also underlines the importance of e-government services via mobile phone, and reviews their status in the ESCWA region. It also focuses on the growing role of electronic participation and means of communication as well as social media in the provision of services to citizens and to the government. It describes the best means to invest e-participation in the development of communities, and gives an example of the impact of such technologies in the daily life of citizens. The Bulletin also reviews the activities undertaken by ESCWA in the field of information and communications technology during the first half of 2012.