21/11/2002
Press Release
CA/26
DEV/2404



CENTRAL AMERICAN COUNTRIES TO EXAMINE APPLICATION OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION

TECHNOLOGY, E-GOVERNMENT FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT


TEGUCIGALPA, 21 November (UN Information Service) -- A Conference on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and E-Government for Regional Development and Cooperation in Central America, organized by the Government of Honduras and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, with support from the Government of Italy and in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank, will take place from 20 to 22 November in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.


The Conference will bring together approximately 100 participants, including vice-presidents, ministers and technical experts from Central America, as well as leading e-government practitioners and representatives from international and regional organizations and the private sector.


The Millennium Declaration explicitly calls for the development and promotion of ICT, as well as for improved and more democratic systems of governance.  E-government, the application of ICT within public administration, represents the intersection of these two important development objectives and has been receiving increasing attention from national governments and the international community.  E-government provides government, the citizen and business with a set of tools that can potentially transform the way in which interactions take place, services are delivered and public administration reform and good governance goals are met.  The strategic use of ICTs in government can result in a more inclusive, effective, efficient, transparent and accountable public administration, better able to deliver public services.  These are key attributes and inputs for improved economic development, competitiveness, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.  Equally important, e-government can enhance the prospects for democratization and offer new channels for decentralization, participation and engagement in the political process, and more informed and consultative decision-making processes.


The Conference seeks to promote an exchange of views on these and other opportunities offered by ICT and e-government for economic, social and political development at the national and regional levels.  It will also consider regional and national ICT and e-government strategies, as well as the challenges that governments confront in their development and implementation.  At the same time, the Conference represents a platform for discussion on the application of ICT and e-government to render regional development and integration efforts more effective and successful.  International experience points to a growing trend towards regional cooperation on ICT and e-government development.


The meeting will conclude with a proposal for a Central America Task Force on E-Government.  The primary mandate of the proposed Task Force will be the creation and implementation of a Regional Strategic Plan of Action on E-Government in Central America which will work towards strengthening the institutional capacity of the Central American governance system, especially that of regional, central and local government institutions to improve policy making, coordination and delivery of public goods and services using ICTs.  The activities of the Task Force would likely involve exchange of experiences, identification of e-government opportunities and challenges, and priority areas where regional cooperation can make a difference and add value.  Moreover, specific actions and activities to advance e-government at the national and regional levels will be identified and pursued.


Additional information about the meeting, including background documents, presentations and the final conference report can be found at the conference Web site at:  http://www.unpan.org/conference_egov-centralamerica02.asp.


* *** *