Comments of DGG Global Report on Governance

Building on inputs provided by Ruhiya and Maartje, here are the comments I submitted to the drafting team on the latest iteration of the report.

1. The report, albeit a bit longish, does address most of the current core  issues. However, when it comes to consider the benefits and impact of  ICTs the report seems to be saying different things. I think this is probably so because the report has different authors for the different chapters.

2. Chapter 1 for example isn’t too optimistic on new technologies used by governments and it seems to lump them as part of the problem. The draft sees ICTs a part of the excesses of globalization and financial “innovation” and put is doubt that ICTs can be effectively be used by government to become more effective, agile and transparent. This view  is not only inadequate but also seems to confuse use of ICTs with ICTs for Development. These are two different animals. It also mixes use of ICTs by the private sector to boost financial innovations which lead to a disaster with use of ICTs by government to become more efficient and hopefully transparent. These should be separated.

3. Chapter 2 take a much more positive take  by saying that ICT “plays an important role in democratic governance in three different
ways…” And it then goes to say how ICTs help rally people for quick action, opening bureaucracies and access to info, etc. So while chapter 1 is arguing that governments cannot really capitalize on ICTs chapter 2 is saying that citizens can. If this is so then how can governments  be responsive to ever increasing demands from the people if they do not have the capacity to listen, respond and be agile and fast in doing so.

4. Chapter 3 simply ignores ICTs and the ongoing efforts such as the ongoing “crowdsourcing” of the post2015 agenda etc. This is odd in a section where we  speak about people’s empowerment, agents of change and the links between government performance and legitimacy.

5. Finally, the report also talks about social movements and collective  action but fails to even quote the most well known academic research and expert sin this field. Charles Tilly for one should be mentioned. I think  we are living in an age of “contentious politics” (not the first time  BTW) and this should be highlighted by the report.

Hope this helps.

Cheers, Raúl

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