In reaffirming the vision of a peaceful, prosperous and just world, leaders at the United Nations World Summit in 2005 outlined a vision of ‘…building a people-centred and inclusive information society, putting the potential of information and communication technologies at the service of development and addressing new challenges of the information society.’
Exploring the interlinkages between e-government and development, the UN Global EGovernment Readiness Report 2005: From E-government to E-Inclusion, presents an assessment of the countries according to their state of e-government readiness and the extent of e-participation worldwide. The UN Global E-government Survey 2005, like its predecessors, ranks the 191 Member States of the UN according to a quantitative composite index of e-readiness based on website assessment, telecommunication infrastructure and human resource endowment.
The basic message in this Report is that there are huge disparities in the access and use of information technologies, and that these disparities are not likely to be removed in the near future unless a concerted action is taken at the national, regional and the international levels.
If disparities in ‘real access’ to ICT are to be removed in the collective global march towards an information society, Governments have to build an effective use of ICTs in their development plans. The onus lies, collectively, on the national Governments, the private sector and the civil society, on the one hand, and the international organizations and the donor community on the other, to come up with new initiatives for ICT-led development, which ensures that every body, regardless of their socio-economic background, has an equitable playing field. An inclusive mode of governance demands that all citizens of a state have equal access to opportunity. The new imperative of development is to employ ICT applications across the board for promoting access and inclusion.
Expanding the concept of ‘real access’ to ICT into e-inclusion, From E-government to E-inclusion presents the Socially Inclusive Governance Framework, which is a multipronged approach to ICT-led real access, with a special focus on the need to promote access and inclusion to the disadvantaged groups in society.
We hope that the findings in this Report will contribute to the thinking among the policy makers, practitioners and the academia around the world for further exploration of the issue of the use of ICT for the ‘inclusion’ of all.