While the links between public administration (PA) and e-governance (egov) are strong, as evidenced by many UNDP projects and programmes on the ground, this is certainly not the case at the conceptual level. The democratic governance practice, soon to be transformed into something else, has yet to produce any sort of report or guidance on the subject. An initial attempt that we launched over 5 years ago did not really go anywhere.
The new UNDP strategic plan does include PA but seems to be tilted towards its function in post-conflict and recovery situations thus seemingly leaving a gap for more traditional PA. The question here is if such approach will really bring any change in PA programming in non-conflict situations – noting that in 2012, for example, close to 50% of the democratic governance portfolio of projects were reported under such rubric.
Latest UN and UNDP view on PA is now focusing on so-called core functions of government which by definition is much narrower than traditional PA. For details on this, please see this report that UNDP funded and develop within a broader UN policy framework.
DGG has now engaged a consultant to continue to work in this area which is now being done in conjunction with BCPR. I met with the consultant yesterday to discuss possible synergies.
While ICTs and egov have indeed been considered, its seems that the approach so far has been limited at best. BCPR does not really have expertise on ICTs (they used to in the early days!) and we have not been involved in any of the discussions. At any rate, it is never late. So there is a good opportunity here.
BDP/BCPR (soon to be one single BPPS) are planning to hold a PA regional conference for Arab Spring countries for September of this year. A concept note and a draft agenda are already available -and, as expected have little to nothing on egov, ICTs or innovation for that matter. Surprising?!
My suggestion to the consultant was to have a session on ICTs and core functions of governance at the September meeting – bearing in mind we have good contacts with egov officials in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
We will see…