Students from Switzerland and Kosovo discuss e-governance
It´s two in the afternoon on 25 April and the conference room is full. In contrast to the grey and rainy day outside the room is filled with expectations, energy and bright ideas. Many have come to listen and join the discussion on e-governance.
UNDP and Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK) organised a unique opportunity for bachelor, master and PhD students to speak and ask questions to decision makers from the local and central government as well as renowned members from the civil society on issues pertaining to e-governance.
Different speakers presented various ways in which they had integrated technology into their daily work. “As you may have noticed, many cafés in Prishtinë/Priština tend to expand their territory and sometimes more than permitted. If you as a citizen feel that public space has been intruded, you have the right to react against it. Through a specific upcoming platform you will be given the possibility to do so,” said Dardan Sejdiu, Deputy Mayor. Mr. Sejdiu also stressed that the new municipal government aims to communicate with the public through technological means to make the decision making process transparent and open for all.
One of the key issues raised was that too few young women and men in Kosovo are involved in the decision making processes. Additionally, weak participation among Kosovo’s youth can lead to a fragile socio political situation with continually high unemployment rate. Having in mind Kosovo’s high internet penetration, in line with those found in OECD countries, technology can be a powerful tool in bridging the divide between citizens and institutions. Speakers around the table agreed that social media provides a chance to also participate in the political discussions and react.
Hajrulla Ceku, Executive Director of NGO EC Ma Ndryshe, presented one such platform now available for the municipalities of Prizren and Gjilan/Gnjilane. He also showed a map which illustrates the capital projects in these two towns. Agron Demi, Executive Director at GAP Institute, walked the students through a visual representation of government revenues and spending.
Kujtim Gashi Executive Director of the Information Society Agency (ASHI) pointed out the importance in creating good conditions to digitalize services and Uranik Begu, Executive Director of Innovation Centre Kosovo (ICK), highlighted technology´s expanding role in not only e-governance but also in the health sector and agriculture. The platform is an example of a web page where you easily can find information regarding the provision of medical services and health.
The discussion led to increased interest among both Kosovan and Swiss students. The Swiss students, who are working on a strategy for e-governance in St. Gallen, expressed willingness in applying some of the good practices from Kosovo in Switzerland.