In various levels, 2011 was both important and busy year for the eGovernment in UAE. Emirates eGovernment – the entity managing the program – took more strategic steps towards promoting open government and citizen participation practices by launching the open government data sub-portal and launching a government-wide social media usage guidelines. On the organizational side, the General Information Authority (the entity used to handle the eGovernmetn program) was merged with Telecom Regulatory Authority.
Here is my list for the key 12 milestones for Emirates eGovernment in 2011:
1- January- GIA Launches the standard framework for IT Strategy for federal government entities
2- February – GIA Launches the official social media usage guidelines for UAE government
GIA released the results of its first annual assessment of federal government websites in UAE. The assessment was conducted based on the website guidelines developed by GIA in alignment with international and local standards such as World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Another major milestone for Emirates eGovernment in 2011 was the launch of the revamped national portal (government.ae) . The portal was officially launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai who “has described the importance of the UAE’s e-gate service and its contribution towards developing the country’s competitive position, while enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of government work” (read news article on H.H. website)
The new portal was meant to reflect Emirates eGovernment strategic approach towards fostering openness, promoting bi-directional way of communication and increasing citizen participation. The new portal has dedicated sections for open government data, citizen participation through social media in addition to other sections for accessing all government services and information across UAE.
6- May – UN eGovernment representative visits UAE
In continuation of the join work between Emirates eGovernment and the eGovernment branch at the Division for Public Administration and Development Management / United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, (DPADM/UNDESA) that started earlier in 2010, The United Nations’ eGovernment representative and Senior Inter-Regional Advisor Richard Kerby visited UAE in a one week visit.
During this week, Mr. Kerby (@RichardKerby) conducted meetings with Emirates eGovernment management where both sides reviewed the progress made in implementing the UAE eGovernment strategy and the UN contribution. Mr.
The joint work between both sides shall continue in different forms during the next year.
7- June- Emirates eGovernment awarded ‘Social Media Initiative of the Year’
9- November – UAE wins half of GCC eGovernment awards
In a well-deserved recognition, UAE was awarded half of the six awards at the GCC 2nd eGovernment Award organized in Kuwait. The national portal of UAE (government.ae) was named the best national portal, the website of Dubai Health Authority won the best eContent award while the best G2C eService went to The Easy Licensing eService from Dubai Road and Transport Authority.
10- December – Emirates eGovernment Director honored for distinguished contribution to eGovernment
The Director General of Emirates eGovernment H.E. Salem Al Shair Al Suwaidi (@SalemAlShair) is widely considered as the eGovernment guru in the region. More than a decade ago, he was chosen by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai to launch Dubai eGovernment – the first eGovernment program in GCC region.
In December, Mr. Al Suwaidi received another recognition for his continuous contribution to the eGovernment in UAE. He was awarded the Certificate of Excellence fromTatweej Academy and The Arab Administrative Development Organization (ARADO).
Mr. Al Suwaidi recieved the certificate from H. H. Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum handed him the certificate and the medallion at award ceremony held at Giorgio Armani ballroom at Burj Khalifa.
11- December – 83% of the people polled trust online payment for UAE government services
The citizens and residents of UAE showed a great support for Emirates eGovernment efforts to offer more online services by expressing a high trust in online payment for the government services.
In a dedicated survey run by Emirates eGovernment, 83 percent of the surveyed people participated in the survey said “they trust paying government fees online“. Read my post on this survey and its implications.
12- December – UAE citizens and residents call for more open government data
Another signal of support to the Emirates eGovernment initiatives was shown by the visitors of its national portal (government.ae) who urged the government entities to offer more open data on its various websites. Currently, many federal government entities offer open data on their websites in addition to the open data section at the national portal. The visitors of the portal expressed this “wish” in an online survey run by Emirates eGovernment.
I’ll dedicate my first post in 2012 to shed light on this issue and its meaning to the open data initiative in UAE.
So, 2011 was a year full of achievements wrapped by citizens support and demands for more. These achievements and the merge with TRA offer a great platform for more work towards satisfying the citizens needs and making more progress in implementing the eGovernment strategy of the country.
Happy New Year!