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Manchevski: Through Digital Transformation to Open Government and Services Closer to Citizens

Ottawa, June 1st, 2019

“Open Government and Service Delivery: Are We Missing an Opportunity to Act?” was the theme for this year’s OGP Summit prepared by the representatives of the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) jointly with the representatives of North and Latin America.

Discussions at the ReSPA panel were thematic and issue oriented, reflecting the state of the art in service delivery and digital transformation in the Western Balkans. A critical debate took place on open data, which proved that the sectoral and regional showcases went deeper into the specific concerns of their fields and localities.

At the opening of the panel, the Minister of Information Society and Administration of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia and ReSPA Chairman at the Ministerial Governing Board level Damjan Mancevski reminded the audience that working with digitalisation and improving service delivery is not an easy task. “Appropriate digitalisation and consolidation of government data to make them meaningful and open takes a major mindset shift, and a lot of investment and efforts. The showcases presented in the panel indicate a lot of experimentation at the moment, some success stories, but some failures, too. What is important is to go on, to share successes stories and learn from positive examples of other states that have already walked this path,” Minister Mancevski said. 

The general conclusion was that it is necessary to continue opening of government data, to further promote this process, and to create more opportunities for the engagement of CSOs and citizens with public institutions so that well-informed public can lead to more citizen-oriented services. Participants in the discussion also referred to the existing barriers, pointing that all those changes are not easy, in particular at the time of deepening crisis and diminishing government support to the openness around the world.

“Open Data working groups are involving more and more civil society organisations. Open portals are publishing more and more open datasets, engaging citizens and CSOs in providing more mobile and web applications for the purpose of visualisation, as well as maps for improved open data usage by ordinary citizens. Furthermore, open government policies in the Western Balkans are stepping from transparency further to participation and collaboration. Participation and collaboration are vital for getting multi-disciplinary teams of people inside and outside of governments to think outside the box and to contribute toward more citizen centric service delivery”, underlined ReSPA representatives.

 

The panel was closed with a message that we need to build and promote open by default culture, and to collaborate in production of common solutions that build on government data for innovative public service delivery.

Ministry of Information Society and Administration