Page 1







Preface Acknowledgements Acronyms Executive Summary 1. 2. 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 3. 4. 5. 5.1 5.2 5.3 6. 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6

Introduction : e-Leadership and the e-SEE Agenda+ An Overview of e-Governance Services in SEE Services for People Services for Governments Services for Business Underlying Infrastructure Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development Helping and Hindering Factors to information Society Development Addressing the Gender Digital Divide Brief situation scan of Gender Equality in SEE Countries Gender Equality and the Digital Divide Gender Equality and ICTs in the SEE Countries The Path Ahead: Conclusions and Recommendations Successes in progressing the Information Society Prioritising e-Governance Tackling Implementation Issues Exposing opportunities Prioritising the needs Recommendations

Annex 1: Annex 2: Annex 3: Annex 4:


Research Methodology And Activities Country Assessments e-SEE Agenda+ Revised Deadlines Ministerial Declaration - Draft Prepared by eSEE Secretariat


PREFACE The strategic use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in governance processes has become instrumental in providing an “enabling environment” for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).1 ICTs are a catalytic and innovative tool to foster human development, promote democratic governance and drive international cooperation. There are many examples of innovative use of ICTs in raising productivity and improving interaction between governments and both citizens and businesses. A quarter of EU GDP growth and 40% of productivity growth are the result of investments on ICTs. The importance of Electronic Governance (e-Governance) for development cannot thus be underestimated. The EU positioned ICTs at the core of its priorities since the 2001 Lisbon agenda. The e-SEE Initiative is the response of South Eastern Europe (SEE) to this agenda. By devoting human and financial resources towards implementing the e-SEE Agenda+, e-SEE Initiative members, which include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and UNMIK/Kosovo2 have indeed demonstrated their solid commitment. The findings of the research presented in this report are based on the analysis of good practices and the identification of gaps and challenges in the implementation of e-SEE Agenda+. They indicate that, while making visible progress, Western Balkans countries should further improve their democratic governance processes and align them with EU standards. Citizen participation in policy making, the fight against corruption, and public administrations that are more transparent, effective and responsive to citizen’s needs are areas that need special attention in each SEE country. Furthermore, the region’s European accession process requires increased intra-regional cooperation among SEE countries in many areas, especially in the ICT field which can indeed become one of the most critical tools to foster integration. It is estimated that 60% of all e-Government projects fail3. Although e-Government has been adopted by governments in SEE, and worldwide, as part of reform initiatives, the findings suggest that an over-reliance in technology, insufficient collaboration within government, a lack of emphasis on building human capacity and inadequate public consultation limit the possible benefits of these initiatives. 1 2 United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) on behalf of Kosovo in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. 3 Gartner, Heets and Bhatnagar, UNDESA




For this reason, the e-Leadership Programme sees technology as a means towards an end and instead focuses on strengthening human capacity as a critical agent for driving the process of change.

Supervisor: Peter van RUYSSEVELDT, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Klelija BALTA, Democratic Governance Cluster Coordinator

This publication echoes the pressing need to shift the focus from technology-enabled improvements in government operations (Electronic Government) to improvements in interactions between government, citizens, businesses and civil society (Electronic Governance). This shift is also at the core of the e-SEE Initiative which is the only intergovernmental regional ICT platform and Community of Practice in the sub-region. It is thus important for future success of the e-SEE Initiative and its ICT oriented reforms, to enhance the scope of Electronic Governance initiatives by adopting a multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder and community-oriented approach, in addition to the technical and organisational perspectives.

Team Leader: Nera NAZEČIĆ, Project Manager Authors: Seán Ó SIOCHRÚ Rebecca TECLEMARIAM-MESBAH Nera NAZEČIĆ Klelija BALTA Nermina TRBONJA

A critical issue that can be a powerful driver for development agendas is that of gender equality in the Information Societies of South Eastern Europe. The issue is however often underestimated on the assumption that ICTs lead to gender equality on their own. This report thus places a special emphasis on the subject and brings to the forefront innovative ways to tackle gender issues with ICTs in an effective fashion. By the same token, ICTs have great potential in enhancing choices for persons with disabilities. This publication therefore reaffirms the need to create and implement the e-Accessibility agenda by promoting the use of assistive technologies throughout the process of building an Information Society.

Publication Review Team: Mr. Sanjin ARIFAGIĆ, Head of Economic and Social Development Unit, Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Mr. Nand SHANI, Expert for Economic and Social Development, Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Yuri AFANASIEV, UNDP - Resident Representative - Resident Coordinator Peter van RUYSSEVELDT, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Armin SIRČO, UNDP, Assistant Resident Representative Klelija BALTA, Democratic Governance Cluster Coordinator Nera NAZEČIĆ, Programme Manager/Head e-SEE Secretariat Asja ČENGIĆ, Communications Analyst, Public Relations Nermina TRBONJA, Project Assistant Dženan KAPETANOVIĆ, DG Cluster Associate

The timing of this publication is appropriate in the light of the preparations for the next Ministerial conference and the related process of extending the e-SEE Agenda+ deadlines. The report offers fresh insights for policy makers and also serves as an advocacy tool for the champions of e-Governance development agendas in the context of the EU integration process. RCC has reiterated its recognition and commitment to promoting the development of ICT in SEE through its new strategy and work program 2011-2013. In this context, RCC will closely cooperate with the United Nations Development Programme, which hosts the secretariat of eSEE in Sarajevo to advance and monitor the implementation of the eSEE Agenda Plus.

Expert review: Raul ZAMBRANO, Senior ICT for Development Policy Advisor Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP New York

Hido Biščević, Secretary General Regional Cooperation Council

This Publication was produced within e-Leadership for the Western Balkans UNDP Project. The publication does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations Development Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina.



Country Assessment Review Team: The authors gratefully acknowledge the following members of the review team of Country Assessments for their significant contributions:

UNMIK/Kosovo: Agim KUKAJ, Head of ICT Department, Ministry of Transport and Communications The authors are most grateful to the following experts who gave generously of their time and valuable inputs for this publication:

Albania: Irena MALOLLI, Director of Strategy & Legislation, National Agency on Information Society Bosnia and Herzegovina: Božidar ŠKRAVAN, Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of Communications and Transport Šadi MATAR, Expert Advisor for Information Society, Ministry of Communications and Transport Tarik ZAIMOVIĆ, Director of Business Academy at the School of Economics and Business, University of Sarajevo

Albania: H.E. Mr. Genc Pollo, Minister of State for Reforms and Communications with Parliament, Ministry of State for Reforms and Communications with Parliament Ms. Andia Pustina, Deputy General Director, National Agency on Information Society; Ms. Irena Malolli, Director of Strategy & Legislation, National Agency on Information Society; Mr. Endri Hasa, Advisor for Standards and Technique, National Agency on Information Society; Ms. Alketa Mukavelati, Directress of the Directory of Policy of Post and Telecommunication, Ministry of Public Works Transport & Telecommunications; Ms. Tefta Demeti, Head of SME Policy Unit Business Promotion Department, Ministry of Economy Trade and Energy; Mr. Denis Roka, Specialist Lawyer, Business Promotion Department, Ministry of Economy Trade and Energy; Mr. Arben Fagu, Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of Education and Science, Ms. Adriana Sula, Head of Policy and Strategy Department, Ministry of Education and Science; Mr. Perparim Shera, Director of ICT, Ministry of Education and Science; Mr. Gazmir Isakaj, Chief of Cabinet of Executive Director, Electronic Communication and Postal Authority/Agency for electronic regulations; Mr. Endri Raco, IT Director, Ministry of Internal; Mr. Devis Fecani, Director of IT, Civil National Registry, Ministry of Internal; Ms. Eneida Guria, Director, National Licensing Center; Mr. Olsi Lafe, Director of the Directorate for National Heritage, Ministry of Tourism Culture Youth and Sport, Mr. Endri Pema, General Director of Custom, Ms. Alketa Malka, General Directorate of Custom; Mr. Fisnik Kruja, IT Director, General Directorate of Custom; Mr. Ilir Kurti, Chief of Information Technology, General Directorate of Taxation.

Croatia: Ivana ANDRIJAŠEVIĆ, Head of Cabinet of the State Secretary, Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia Marina ŠKRINJAR-VIDOVIĆ, Head of International Department, Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia Prof.dr. Diana ŠIMIĆ, Chairperson of the e-SEE Initiative Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Blagica ANDREEVA, Associate, Operational support for conducting IS development policies, Ministry of Information Society Moldova: Vitalie TARLEV, Head of International Cooperation Division, Ministry of Information Technology and Communications

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Mr. Božidar Škravan, Adviser to the Minister, State Ministry of Communications and Transport; Mr. Šadi Matar, Expert Advisor for Information Society, State Ministry of Communications and Transport; Ms. Klelija Balta Democratic Governance Cluster Coordinator/Gender Advisor, Mr. Dženan Kapetanović, Democratic Governance Cluster Associate, United Nations Development Programme; Ms. Mersiha Ćurčić, Research and Development Project Manager a.i, UNDP; Mr. Tarik Zaimović, Director of Business Academy at the School of Economics and Business, University of Sarajevo; Mr. Amir Husić, Head of Department for Networks and Telecommunications, Ministry of Security; Ms. Nejra Šurković, Expert Adviser for

Montenegro: Ružica MIŠKOVIĆ, Adviser, Ministry for Information Society Serbia: Petar JANJIĆ, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society



Telecommunications, Ministry of Security; Ms. Kika Babić-Svetlin, Expert Adviser for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, The Gender Equality Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Maida Ćehajić, The Gender Equality Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ms. Alzemina Vuković; Director, BHARNET; Mr. Vladimir Šimić, Director, Exploring Bosnia and Herzegovina; Ms. Selma Rizvić, Assistant Professor/ Head of the Laboratory for Digitalization of Cultural Heritage, Faculty of Electrical Engineering Sarajevo/ Sarajevo School of Science and Technology University of Sarajevo Mr. Zlatan Mulabegović, President, Bosnian Association of IT (BAIT); Ms. Valentina Pellizzer, Directress, Foundation Oneworld Platform for SEE; Mr. Siniša Šešum, Programme Officer, UNESCO. Mr. Marco Chimenton, Programme Officer, EU-Desk and Decentralized Co-operation, Italian Development Cooperation Office, Embassy of the Republic of Italy in BiH

Ciornii, Deputy General Director of the State Enterprise “Center for State Information Resources “ Registru”; Mr. Pavel Chirev, Director of the State Enterprise “MoldData”; Mr. Marian Mamei, Deputy Chief of the General Directorate for Investments and Development, Ministry of Economy; Ms. Eleonora Graur, Chief of the Information Resources Department, Ministry of Education; Mr. Eugeniu Sestacov, Deputy Technical Director, National Centre for Radio Frequencies; Mr. Vitalie Coceban, Chief of the FiscServInform Centre, Main State Tax Inspectorate, Ministry of Finance; Mr. \Gherghe Beiu, Chief of the VamServInform Centre, Customs Service, Ministry of Finance; Mr. Ion Tighineanu, Vice-president, Academy of Sciences of Moldova; Mr. Andrei Andrieş, Co-president, Research and Educational Networking Association of Moldova; Ms. Svetlana Cojocaru, Director, Institute for Mathematics and Informatics, Academy of Sciences of Moldova; Mr. Igor Cojocaru, Director of the Institute for the Development of Information Society, Academy of Sciences of Moldova; Mr. Alexandru Besliu, Dean of the Information Technology Department, State Polytechnic University of Moldova; Mr. Ion Cosuleanu, Coordinator of UNDP Moldova Project “Support for building e-Governance in Moldova”; Mr. Gheorghe Belinschii, State Enterprise “Centre for Special Telecommunications”; Mr. Alexandr Dashkevich, Head of the Business Development Department, State Enterprise “Centre for Special Telecommunications”; Ms. Olga Savin, Foreign Affairs and Partnership Development, State Enterprise “Centre for Special Telecommunications”.

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Ms. Blagica Andreeva, Associate, Operational support for conducting IS development policies, Ministry of Information Society; Ms. Rozalinda Stojova, Head of Unit, Ministry of Information Society; Mr. Dimitar Mitrevski, Directorate for EU Integrations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ms. Angela Ilioska, Adviser for Electronic Communications, Department for Communications, Ministry of Communication and Transport; Ms. Jasmina Stojčeva, IT Engineer, Agency for Electronic Communications; Mr. Blaško Gorgiev, Expert, Ministry of Transport and Communication; Mr. Goce Gruevski, Head of IT Department, Agency for Real Estate Cadastre; Mr. Goran Nikolov, IT Advisor, Agency for Real Estate Cadastre; Ms. Merdita Saliu, Head of Sector for equal opportunities, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy; Mr. Zoran Pavlov, Head of the Department for Documentation, International Cooperation and Administrative Affairs, Ministry of Culture; Ms. Kristina Biceva, Advisor on Cultural and Historical Heritage, Department for Identification, Protection and Use of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture; Mr. Saša Krstevski, Database Administrator, Ministry of Culture; Ms. Viktorija Apostolova, Head of Department of Registration, Documentation and Informatics, Ministry of Culture; Mr. Ivan Mitrevski, Executive Director, MASIT ICT Chamber of Commerce; Ms. Biljana Zarkova, Member Relations Coordinator, MASIT - ICT Chamber of Commerce; Ms. Margita Kon-Popovska, President/Professor, Head of Department, MARNET; Mr. Filip Stojanovski, Project Manager, Metamorphosis.

Montenegro: Ms. Ružica Mišković, Adviser, Ministry for Information Society; Ms. Sandra Veličković, Secretary of the Ministry, Ministry for Information Society; Mr. Dejan Abazović, Adviser to Minister, Ministry for Information Society; Mr. Darko Kovačević, Senior Advisor for ICT-Head of Department, Ministry of Education and Science; Mr. Srdjan Mihaljević, Deputy Minister-Department for Electronic Communications and Post, Ministry of Transport Maritime Affairs and Telecommunications; Mr. Mladen Koljenšić, Senior Adviser- Department for Electronic Communications and Post, Ministry of Transport Maritime Affairs and Telecommunications; Mr. Pavle Mijušković, Manager for Internet and IP-based Services, Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services; Ms. Isidora Tomašević, Senior Adviser for Tariffs, Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services; Ms. Ljiljana Pešalj, Deputy Executive Director, Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services; Mr. Rajko Markuš, Senior Legal Advisor, Ministry of Culture Sport and Media; Ms. Smiljana Radusinović, Advisor on Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture Sport and Media; Ms. Irena Bošković, Adviser Independent, Ministry for Human and Minority RightsDepartment of Gender Equality; Mr. Igor Vučinić, Adviser, Ministry for Human and Minority RightsDepartment of Gender Equality; Mr. Abaz-Beli Džafić, Director, Broadcasting Agency of Montenegro; Mr. Djordje Vujnović, Adviser, Broadcasting Agency of Montenegro; Mr. Božo Krstajić, Professor, University of Montenegro; Mr. Luka Filipović, Professor, University of Montenegro.

Moldova: H.E. Mr. Alexandru Oleinic, Minister of Information Technology and Communications; Mr. Ion Munteanu, Deputy Minister of Culture; Mr. Pavel Sincariuc, Director of General Directorate for Information Society Development, Ministry of Information Technology and Communications; Mr. Vitalie Tarlev, Head of International Cooperation and European Integration Division, Ministry of Information Technology and Communications; Mr. Vladimir Molojen, General Director of the State Enterprise “Center for State Information Resources “Registru”; Mr. Eugen Ursu, Deputy General Director of the State Enterprise “Center for State Information Resources “Registru”; Mr. Vasile




Serbia: Mr. Petar Janjić, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society; Mr. Nebojša Vasiljević, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society; Mr. Slobodan Marković, Special Advisor, Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society; Mr. Zoran Jovanović, Director of the General Directorate for EU/Directorate for Regional Initiatives, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ms. Jelena Jovanović, Secretary/Head of ICT Division, Serbian Chamber of Commerce Association of Information and Technologies; Mr. Slavko Gajin, Deputy Director, Belgrade University Computer Center; Mr. Zoran Ognjanović, Scientist, Mathematic Institute SANU; Mr. Milorad Bjeletić, Executive Director, Belgrade Open School; Ms.Tanja Milovanović, Project Manager, Belgrade Open School Centre for Research of Information Technologies – CePIT; Ms. Jovana Tripunović, Project Assistant, Belgrade Open School; Ms. Natasa Gospić, Head/Professor, Equal Opportunities; Mr. Velibor Popović, Project Manager, UNDP.


UNMIK/Kosovo: Mr. Skender Gashi Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Mr. Agim Kukaj, Head of ICT Department, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Mr. Jeton Morina, Manager of e-Infrastructure, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Mr. Enver Basha, Head of the Section for Project Management, Ministry of Transport and Communications, Ms. Deva Burbuqe Bakija, Mr. Isa Krasniqi, Director of the Department of IT, Ministry of Public Administration, Mr. Adrian Zajmi, Adviser for Capacity Development Facility, Ministry of Public Administration, Mr. Vullnet Kabashi, Head of IT Division and other Technical Services, Parliament Assembly, Mr. Besnik Berisha, Board Manger, Telecommunication Regulatory Author Project Coordinator IDEPity, Mr. Ilir Z. Imeri, Chief of Frequency Management Department, Telecommunication Regulatory Authority; Mr. Xhafer Ahmeti, Project Coordinator IDEP, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Ms. Valbona Dermaku, Chief of Minister’s Cabinet, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology; Mr. Sali Bashota, Director, National and University Library of UNMIK/Kosovo; Mr. Besim Kokollari, Head of Aleph System, National and University Library of UNMIK/Kosovo; Mr.Emrush Ujkani; Cluster Coordinator, UNDP; Mr. Andre Durr, Programme Specialist Governance and Media, UNDP; Mr. Mark Walter, USAID Coordinator.



Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line Agency for Information Society Services Academic Research Network of Yugoslavia Academic Network of Serbia National Agency for Occupation and Labour National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology National Regulatory Agency for Telecommunications and Informatics Advisory Office on Good Governance, Human Rights, Equal Opportunity and Gender issues Automated System for Customs Data Currency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Budget Development Management System Bosnia and Herzegovina Academic and Research Network of Bosnia and Herzegovina Taskforce for Broadband in South East Europe Computer Aided Design Computer Aided Manufacturing Croatian Academic Research Network Common Communications Network / Common Systems Interface Central Electoral Committee Regional Centre for e-Government Development Canadian International Development Agency Citizen Identification Protection System Case management Information System Country office




Commission on Equality of Treatment for Men and Women Council of Ministers Communication Regulation Authority Citizen Service Centre Centre for Special Telecommunications UK Department for International Development Document and Knowledge Management System Document Managing System Digital Terrestrial Television Digital Video Broadcasting - Terrestrial European Bank for Reconstruction and Development European Computer Driving Licence Export Control System Electronic Document Management System Educational Linux-based operating system European Free Trade Association Excise Movement and Control System European Neighbourhood Policy Electronic South East Europe Cooperative effort to develop the Information Society in SEE European Union European Union Rule of Law Mission in UNMIK/Kosovo Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Free and Open Source Software Fibre to Home Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Group Decisions Support System Gender Equality Agency


Gigabit European Advanced Network Technology Geographic Information System General Packet Radio Service National Research and Education Network of Greece German Technical Cooperation Currency of Croatia, Kuna European Programme for Information Society for growth and employment Information and Communication Technology Identification Document Agency for Identification Documents, Registers and Data exchange Integrated Health Information System Informatics Research Institute in Greece Institute for Statistics Instrument for Pre-Accession Information Society Information System Elections International Standards Organisation Internet Service Provider Indirect Taxation Authority Information Technology and Media Services International Telecommunications Union UNMIK/Kosovo Police Information System Local Area Network Learning Management System Long-term evolution Membership Action Plan Macedonian Academic and Research Network Macedonia ICT Chamber of Commerce




Millennium Challenge Corporation Ministry of Communication and Information Society Ministry of Communications and Information Technology Millennium Development Goals Montenegro Educational Information System Ministry of Energy and Mining Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning Ministerial Focal Point on Gender Issues Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform Ministry of Information Society Ministry for Information Technology and Communications Ministry of Education and Science Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees Ministry of Public Administration Ministry of Public Health Montenegrin Research and Education Network Ministry of Transport and Communications Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications Mobile Virtual Network Operator Mobile Virtual Network Operator National Agency for the Information Society North Atlantic Treaty Organisation National Bureau of Statistics National Council for Radio and Television New Computerized Transit System Next Generation Network Non-Governmental Organisation National Institute of Research and Development in Informatics



National Licensing Centre Office of the High Representative Open Journal Systems Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Open Systems Interconnection Public Administration Reform Personal Computer Portable Document Format European Union’s main instrument of financial and technical cooperation with EU member candidates in Central and Eastern European countries Personal Identification Number Public Key Infrastructure Post and Telecom of UNMIK/Kosovo Republic Telecommunications Agency Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) Regional Cooperation Council Regional e-Governance Advisory Taskforce State Information Resources Centre Research and Educational Networking Association of Moldova Reference Interconnection Offer Romanian National Research and Education Network Republic of Srpska Radio and Television Stabilization and Association Agreement Synchronous Digital Hierarchy South East Europe South East European Grid Enabled Infrastructure Development South East European Research and Education Networking Project




Electronic Labour Mediation Service Swedish International Development Agency Small and Medium Enterprise Short Message Service Set Top Box (VCR, cable box, other TV appliances) Special Telecommunications Centre Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats Technical Assistance and Information Exchange Integrated Tariff of the European Communities Telecommunications Regulatory Authority United Nations Conference for Trade and Development United Nations Development Programme United Nations Education, Science and Culture organisation United Nations Development Fund For Women United Nations Mission to Kosovo Urban Permit Centre United States of America International Development Universal Serial Bus Value-Added Tax Voice over Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network Wide Area Network Web Archive File Format Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access: a wireless standard Three dimensional Third Generation

South East European countries have made commendable progress towards the Information Society in the last few years. For starters, the key legal and institutional underpinnings are already in place in almost all countries. Most are also advancing steadily in infrastructure and access, while e-governance has been rapidly advancing in all countries. New services such as broadband networks are available to ministries and public institutions as well as Electronic Document Management Systems and management tools -including parliament. To some degree these are prerequisites to offering services to business and citizens. For instance, the development of interoperable databases within government institutions facilitates the provision of e-services, thus fostering greater government transparency while reducing bureaucracy and duplication. A second prominent area is e-business services such as business registration, red-tape reduction, elimination of duplication within government, and increased effectiveness in tackling corruption. Benefits are undeniable in a number of areas, including many which align with the EU i2010 and the Digital Agenda. Some citizen-centric e-services are delivering benefits to both government and the public, such as the processing of passports and identity cards, birth and other certificates, drivers’ licenses and civil registration, and access to government information and documentation. Prioritising e-Governance However, with a few exceptions such as education, e-government services to citizens have yet to receive adequate priority in terms of implementation, despite the central place given to them in i2010 and the EU Digital Agenda. Several factors may lie behind this. For example, revenuegenerating e-services for business that create income and foster economic growth are being prioritized. But on the other hand, they in turn will serve as the basis for further investment in citizens’ e-services. Ministries and businesses now have improved internet access, so they can make greater use of existing e-services. E-services have a high profile in EU accession and the EU is constantly underlining them.



Furthermore, public uptake can be rapidly boosted at low cost through ‘one-stop-shops’. Such eservices are also critical for generating the legitimacy of the overall Information Society project, and are central to delivering visible benefits to the final users. And they contribute to better quality of life which is a growing factor in attracting investment.

One key factor underlies most of the above issues. The research undertaken by this report clearly shows that limited human capacity is the most important issue that needs to be addressed for moving the Information Society forward in South East European countries. For starters, ICT expertise is relatively scarce, and public sector programmes must compete with a private sector that offers higher monetary rewards. In addition, human capacity on Information Society strategy and policy design and oversight, on effective procurement and programme implementation, and on harnessing different stakeholders to work together towards building the Information Society, are critical gaps, and are particularly noticeable in the smaller and poorer SEE countries.

In sum, it is possible to conclude that in most countries the trade off between prioritising e-services for government, for business and for citizens should be rebalanced towards a more citizen-centric approach. Tackling Implementation Issues

Maximizing opportunities

A number of concerns have arisen in relation to the implementation of e-services programmes and projects. They include:

The above conclusions relate to the process of building the Information Society. A number of areas were also identified as opportunities that could reinforce its emergence, if acted upon effectively. Questions worth addressing include:

1. Many e-services are primarily treated from a technical perspective – ICTs as an end in themselves – rather than seen as social interventions to expand and improve public service delivery. A good example here is e-education where delivering computers and access to the Internet is sometimes seen as the final goal. The emphasis should rather be placed on content and higher academic standards for students. 2. There is little consultation and research on which services are most needed and how they address real gaps. Priority investment areas can thus be misdirected. 3. Monitoring and evaluation of emerging issues and benefits is usually not systematic or planned from the start, yet is critical to project management and capturing lessons learned and good practices. Initial project implementation is not usually supported by a follow-through strategy which addressed issues of maintenance and sustainability. 4. The concept of Information Society is sometimes politicised and turned into an electoral issue where the focus is only on short term goals. 5. Informed public discussions and understanding of the Information Society agenda and its implications is not taking place on a systematic basis. Critical areas identified by the Information Society process are given little attention and are not well understood - such as digital terrestrial television which could transform the broadcast environment. 6. Opportunities for further sharing of experience among the countries of South East Europe and between them and the rest of the EU or even wider are not being pursued on a sustainable basis.

1. How can government and senior public servants be informed and persuaded of the benefits of using ICTs in public institutions? Innovative ways are needed to bring home the benefits of ICTs to policy makers and public servants. 2. Can ICTs be used more effectively to improve governance and enhance participation in governance processes by the public? This includes transparency of decision making, as well as the creation of opportunities for people to understand and explore Information Society policies and policy making (and later other policies), and to actively participate in them at different levels. ICTs can be used for this purpose. 3. What kinds of target group consultations would ensure that e-services address real needs, with appropriate prioritisation? Various approaches for enabling direct participation of citizens and civil society organisations can be deployed to assess needs, but also to enhance service delivery. Best practice elsewhere may be particularly useful here. 4. How can we ensure that gender equality and people with disabilities are part and parcel of ICT strategies and Action Plans? A comprehensive examination from the perspectives of gender equality and people with disabilities of Information Society strategies and action plans is needed, as well as of their actual implementation. Another area is gender equality in e-education and in the provision of assistive technologies at all levels, from primary schooling up.



Recommendations for Governments

5. Can relatively small countries innovate in areas such as universal service policies, digital terrestrial television, and the digitisation of cultural heritage? Because of their scale, small countries have unique opportunities to innovate and experiment. Experiences in other countries could also be relevant here.

1. Capacity Development The limited supply of skills and experience has been identified as the main current bottleneck for the effective identification of services, the implementation of projects and programmes and subsequent support. In this context, e-Leadership becomes critical and should be the number one priority for the advancement of the Information Society in e-SEE countries.

The answers to these questions will vary from country to country, but in any case an exploration of each could prove beneficial. Recommendations

Capacity development for public servants and Ministry staff, civil society and private sector actors should become central in any of project or programme that fosters the implementation of the Information Society. These might include short focused training courses, resources packs, study visits, technical assistance and others. Special attention should be devoted to those in leadership positions in e-governance programmes. Gender equality issues should be addressed from the start and persons with disabilities issues should be included throughout.

e-Governance goes well beyond the use of ICTs in public administration. In a nutshell, it comprises a complex set of relationships between policy agendas, stakeholder’s engagement development processes and infrastructure resources. Advancing the digital agenda therefore entails balancing such relationships. A recent Ministerial Declaration on e-Government4 signed by EU, EFTA and EU candidate countries commits countries to making progress in areas that will make governments more “open, flexible and collaborative in their delivery of public services”, and for such services to empower people. The e-SEE Agenda+ already commits governments in South East Europe to specific targets in these areas. Progress is indeed being made. Within this context, the recommendations of the report highlight and emphasise the benefits that the implementation of the Information Society has for citizens, and suggest ways for facilitating convergence with the EU’s approach on the Information Society.

1. Further systematic efforts should be made to exchange experiences and skills, and implement joint projects in the area of e-Governance between SEE countries. 2. An online platform could be considered as a means to share experiences, identify skills needed, document good practices and implement collaborative programmes. 2. Policy, Regulation and Management 1. Although necessary, e-governance strategies alone are not sufficient for effective implementation of priorities. Indeed, strategies should go beyond e-services per se, and need to be integrated with the country’s long-term development strategy and aligned with sectoral (health, education, industry, etc.) strategies and priorities. Strong consideration should be given to raising the priority and enhancing the profile of citizen-centric e-governance services, especially those that deliver tangible benefits to them, contribute to transparency and efficiency of public administration, and lessen the burden of bureaucracy. This will enhance legitimacy and support among the public for the Information Society and align national efforts with EU priorities. 2. Governments should support in substantive ways priority actions pertinent to the implementation of Chapter 10 of the EU Acquis on Information Society and Media,

The first and main set of recommendations is directed to governments, who should take the lead and create the adequate environment for the Information Society. Nevertheless, other stakeholders should also play a critical role, so a second set of recommendations focuses on them.




4. Technology and Applications

with a focus on electronic communications, information society services, and audiovisual services. On electronic communications, countries should eliminate obstacles that prevent the effective operation of internal markets for telecommunications services and networks. On audio-visual policy, the stress is on legislative alignment with the Television without Frontiers Directive, which creates the conditions for the free movement of television broadcasts within the EU; and on delivering the ‘Digital Dividend’ to citizens, associated with the switch to digital terrestrial transmission. Moreover, countries should focus on the establishment of a transparent, predictable and effective regulatory framework for public and private broadcasting, in line with European standards.

Specialist areas identified as needing attention include: switchover to digital terrestrial broadcasting especially in terms of the economic, social and institutional aspects; innovations in the implementation of universal service policy; and the digitalisation of culture. 5. Monitoring and Evaluation The follow-through of Information Society projects, in terms of evaluating effectiveness, ongoing maintenance and evolution of services, and learning lessons, is critical for long term success and sustainability. Identifiable and measurable indicators to assess the success of e-governance projects should be formulated in terms of both intangible benefits, such as increased transparency, empowerment through access to information, and tangible improvements such as more efficient delivery of public services.

3. Developing Information Society services goes well beyond the deployment of ICTs. Change management capacity building for public administration staff must be included from the onset of e-service design. Strong attention should be paid to priority needs that respond to citizens’ demand, and to content and services that will be effectively used by the public. 3. Social Inclusion: Participation and marginalized groups

Recommendations for Private Sector Associations

1. The development and implementation of Information Society policies and strategies should be ‘gender-proofed’. There are several comprehensive and readily available methodologies that can be used to quickly achieve this goal. Similarly, ICT programmes have tremendous potential for enhancing choices for persons with disabilities. Developing the e-Accessibility agenda, which is dealing with the issue of fostering social inclusion through ICTs, should be tackled head on.

The private sector has played a critical role in supporting the Information Society and generating e-Services. Whenever possible they should try to support: 1. Existing regional and national platforms (ICT Forum, MASIT, BAIT, etc.) to develop publicprivate partnerships and thus accelerate the deployment of high bandwidth telecommunications networks available to all; 2. Partnerships to develop and promote e-Services; 3. Lobbying for and supporting the introduction of e-Services for business in strategic areas; 4. Promoting the use of e-Services among SMEs, thus contributing to creating effective demand for services; 5. Advocating for corporate social responsibility initiatives and inclusive business models using ICTs to tackle exclusion and poverty, and “expanding economic opportunity”.

2. Linked to the above, consideration should be given to enhance and expand consultation processes with the public, especially in the area of e-governance services. Mechanisms for stakeholder participation in policy development and the programme implementation should be developed and institutionalised. These could include public information and publicity activities, surveys, focus groups, and virtual internet platforms that allow citizens to, exchange ideas, debate and express preferences over priority public services.



Recommendations for Civil Society and NGOs

Recommendations for International Organisations

Civil Society and NGOs are critical in identifying needs as both intermediaries with the public and service suppliers in their own right. They should:

International Organisations can capitalise on the groundwork they already supported for the Information Society by: 1. Reviewing current priorities in the light of the present situation and to overall EU trends; 2. Consider support in other areas close to their remit, where gaps still exist and are growing; 3. Further invest resources and capitalise on the e-SEE initiative mechanisms, avoiding building parallel national and regional programmes on the Information Society; 4. Consider taking a regional approach to the Information Society, including supporting regional actions and SEE to SEE exchange; 5. Initiate multilateral agreements on clear roles and responsibilities for the various multilateral global ICT initiatives and organisations in order to minimise further duplication of efforts; 6. Promote common research agendas and the sharing of project results supported by the International Community on ICTs; 7. Focus on reaching International Development Targets, rather than just the spread of technology or bridging the digital divide; 8. Ensure that the needs of the poor people, people with disabilities, and marginalized groups are met using ICTs; 9. Promote participation of SEE representatives at critical Information Society Global and regional fora.

1. Actively engage and with governments and Ministries in defining needs; 2. Research, lobby and support Information Society policies in the wider public interest; 3. Where relevant, design and provide e-services especially to disadvantaged sectors of the population; 4. Strengthen developing countries voices in international negotiations on ICT issues; 5. Maximize the power of the Internet to mobilise community networks, generate awareness about policy problems and lobby on behalf of the public interest; 6. Use modern technologies to foster reconciliation and regional dialogue in SEE. Recommendations for Academia and Research Centers Academia and Research Centres supply society with both the necessary skills and the capacity to objectively analyse social developments. They should: 1. Analyse whether academic curricula fits future needs, and adjust programmes as needed; 2. Undertake state-of-the-art research on the social impacts of the Information Society; 3. Focus on niche Information Society topics that tend to be neglected as outlined above. Recommendations for Media Media, print or broadcast, traditionally have a ‘watchdog’ role in society, but they can also greatly educate and inform (or misinform) public opinion. Media should: 1. Contribute to enabling informed critical public debate through investigative journalism; 2. Raise awareness on the importance of the Information Society across all sectors; 3. Make greater efforts to educate those on ‘the other’ side of the digital divide about how ICTs can be used to improve standards and quality of living.



Final Remarks The interaction between national development agendas on the one hand and the global push towards an Information Society on the other creates a complex mesh of seemingly competing issues that must be reconciled. At the heart of this complexity lies the human dimension which, if readily acknowledged and tackled, can accelerate the advancement of the digital agenda. Experience has shown that e-leadership can play an essential role here. E-leadership fosters a gradual move from 1) individual champions to 2) institutions that are more responsive and accountable and then to 3) general diffusion among all stakeholders. The key to creating a positive forward-moving dynamic rests is the way in which such leadership interacts with all other development factors. This report shows that by moving along the e-SEE Agenda+, SEE countries are making the first e-leadership leap. This type of leadership necessitates new knowledge and skills as it rests on expertise – not on authority. It is expected that the regional dynamic created by the e-SEE initiative will allow SEE countries to jump to the next stage and reap the benefits of the digital era.




1. INTRODUCTION : E-LEADERSHIP AND THE E-SEE AGENDA+ Electronic Governance is at the core of the emerging Information Society that, according to the World Summit on the Information Society,5 has been internationally recognized as a rapidly emerging global development challenge. Similarly, the concept of Information Society for All has been and remains a priority for the EU since the 2001 Lisbon agenda6 , and is reaffirmed by both the strategic framework European Information Society 2010 (i2010)7 and the emerging Digital Agenda for Europe8 that promote an open and competitive digital society and acknowledges ICTs as a driver for inclusion and better quality of life. Against this background, nine governments of South Eastern Europe (SEE), by signing up to the strongly EU oriented e-SEE Agenda, have demonstrated their firm political will and commitment in accelerating the process of building open information societies and knowledge economies in order to speed up the pace of European integration. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was an early supporter of the Electronic South Eastern Europe Initiative (e-SEE Initiative). Since 2002, UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), with the support of New York and Bratislava offices, hosts the e-SEE Secretariat, a regional knowledge hub and information resource centre acting as the executive arm of the e-SEE Initiative. The initiative also provides substantial support to all e-SEE Initiative member countries through UNDP national Country Offices in implementing the e-SEE Initiative targets through specific projects. The e-Leadership Programme for the Western Balkans is the latest in a series of UNDP regional e-Governance projects implemented by the e-SEE Secretariat is. -And the impetus and funding for this publication comes from this context. The e-Leadership programme is funded by the Italian Government, and fosters leadership for the Information Society i.e. sustain a process by which e-leaders exert influence to accomplish specific objectives in relation to e-SEE Agenda+. The project aims to strengthen knowledge and build capacities on ways to effectively design and implement e-governance in the SEE countries, and to support leaders and potential leaders among policymakers, public servants, development practitioners, non-government organisations and end users groups. 5 6 7 8


More information on Handled by the European Commission’s INFSO DG A Digital Agenda for Europe. Brussels, 19.05.2010 COM(2010) 245. digital-agenda-communication-en.pdf


The e-Leadership Programme is designed to be fully complementary to the activities of the e-SEE Initiative9 , an umbrella Initiative of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC). Under the first e-SEE Agenda signed in 2002 the countries in the region a agreed to prioritise the development of legal and institutional frameworks as well as of strategies and policies to build the Information Society, taking into account the ever closer relationship with the European Union (EU) and the need for interoperability and coherence. Great progress was achieved in the first few years.10 The e-SEE Agenda+11 , signed on the 29th of October 2007 in Sarajevo, deepened this commitment to include the development of specific e-services, across a range of areas. Here too, as this report will shown, very significant progress has been made.

t t

Create a set of proposed actions and recommendations for the Western Balkans on their path to EU accession, based on the situation scan analysis. Based on consultation with the Government Stakeholders, e-SEE Mechanism and other relevant stakeholders, prepare for the e-SEE Initiative members proposals for the first draft of e-SEE Agenda+ revised deadlines

This publication, combined with the e-Leadership Workplan for 2010, presents the results of this research. Although the primary focus is on e-governance, in line with the e-SEE Agenda+ the research nevertheless also sets it in the context of the wider Information Society development agenda, including eservices to enhance government efficiency and the business environment as well as developments in the area of infrastructure and access. Gender equality aspects of Information Society in South Eastern Europe have been taken into consideration as this is one of the least explored yet potentially most powerful drivers of development. No aspect of the Information Society can, or should, be considered in isolation.

The e-Leadership Programme is a collaborative effort between the Italian Government and UNDP. It is conceived as a means for providing concrete capacity building support for on-the-ground implementation of projects and programmes with a particular focus on e-governance, by identifying needs especially in relation to knowledge (including knowledge-sharing) and capacity-building, and by proposing means to address these. The e-Leadership Programme got underway in 2008 by establishing REGATA (Regional e-Governance Advisory Taskforce), comprising senior government executives singularly committed to and capable of leading developments in the Information Society. Many REGATA members are also the national focal points for the e-SEE Agenda+. REGATA is not only a resource and target for the programme but also comprises the advisory group for e-Leadership. Its first meeting was held in Sarajevo in October 2008.

This publication acknowledges the work of sister UN organisations United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and their important work on a Single Window system that provides a unique entry for all data and documents, allowing traders to lodge information with a single body to fulfil all import or export related regulatory requirements- thus substantively saving time and resources; the efforts of UNCTAD in providing the ASYCUDA computerised customs management system which covers most foreign trade procedures, including the handling of customs declarations, accounting procedures, transit and suspense procedures- contributing in a major way to an increase in transparency and efficiency; the work of UNIFEM in bridging the gender digital divide; and the work of UNESCO for important work in the area of digitalisation of cultural heritage and the forming of the Skopje based Centre for digitalisation for South Eastern Europe- contributing in a major way to preservation of both tangible and intangible cultural heritage in this region, fostering the spirit of regional cooperation, and nourishing joint SEE values and culture.

The research component of the e-Leadership Programme, reported on here, got underway in mid 2009. It is designed to: t Explore progress on the e-SEE Agenda+ implementation and identify good practice in the region, especially in relation to e-governance; t Consider especially the blockages and needs towards further development; t Identify practices in the area of gender and ICT t Produce proposals and recommendations that will feed into the next stage of the e-Leadership Programme and will also be of interest to a wider audience. 9 Electronic South Eastern Europe Initiative 10 ICT Sector Status Report, UNDP, 2004, Best Practice Showcase, UNDP, 2007 11 The e-SEE Agenda+ for the Development of Information Society in SEE 2007-2012






2. AN OVERVIEW OF E-GOVERNANCE SERVICES IN SEE e-Governance is not simply digitization or automation of governance services. It is a tool for better governance and human development. ICT in governance improve quality of governance products and services being currently provided, provide new governance services and products, enhance participation of people in choice, provision of governance products and services and finally bring new sections of society under the governance sphere including those who are most likely to remain excluded, for example, minorities, women, rural populations, etc. e-Governance services aim at increasing the efficiency of administration and improving public access, customer service efficiency and business dealings through widespread use of ICT and innovative approaches linked to this. The primary aim of e-SEE Initiative is to better integrate e-governance efforts of SEE countries into the global, knowledge-based economy by regionally supporting the development of Information Society. Hence, e-SEE Agenda+ has in its Annex 1 prioritised a number of e-Government services based on the joint regional priorities. A key component for effective e-services for government, business and people is a system for qualified electronic signature (e-signature). A qualified e-signature is typically validated by the government while an unqualified e-signature is merely a bilateral agreement common between for example banks and their customers. Specific legislation is needed to define the terms and scope of utilization of e-signatures. This legislation has been adopted in all of SEE countries. However, implementation can be blocked by political issues, legal issues such as unpublished implementation acts or insufficient infrastructure. A flavour of the nature and extent of, and regional trends in, e-services available to governments, business and the public is offered here. The impacts and benefits of these services, as well as factors that helped and hindered their implementation are covered in subsequent sections. And a detailed country by country analysis is provided at the end of this publication.



2.1 Services for People

e-Education projects are common to every SEE country. Providing computer equipment and access to internet for schools is a priority for all governments beginning with the secondary education level. ICTs allow specific solutions to be devised, such as the e-Islands project in Croatia that provides educational support to isolated islands using broadband connectivity and multimedia equipment to connect islands to schools in the mainland. In Romania, the SEI national programme for e-learning offers support for teaching–training in undergraduate education with cutting-edge technologies. Each school in Romania now has at least one computerized educational platform i.e. a combination of technology, computers, Internet, multimedia educational content, methodology and teacher training for teaching mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, Romanian, history, etc. All regional systems are integrated into a national network connected to the Internet and controlled by SEI Program Management Unit. Albania’s e-schools project adds an Education Information Management System which links regional educational directors to whom schools supply a wide range of data on schools, teachers and pupils. The data centralized with the Ministry of Education is made available back to the regional and school level.

Moldova and Croatia introduced the Personal Identification Number (PIN) on January 1st 2009, thereby facilitating the emergence over time of a succession of e-services for the public through the integration of databases. In Croatia it comprises a compulsory 11 digit number and in Moldova a unique 13 digit number is assigned at birth or at border entries to each individual and used by all registers- and will gradually replace ID numbers for all companies and individuals. In Croatia, a direct benefit of this PIN system is in the use of the national system12 of applications for university places. Thanks to the networking of databases of the Central State Office for Administration and e-Register, which contain all the data on grades of students during their entire secondary school education, students no longer need to submit papers such as certificates of nationality, birth certificates and secondary-school degrees. The Moldovan system enables the tracking of each person across all the databases, including links to their families, vehicles owned, directorships, place and map of residence, visas granted, and more. A total of 98% of the population has now been allocated a number and issued ID cards.

2.2 Services for Governments Underlying e-services for governments is the basic infrastructure needed to connect government, ministries and public institutions. Most SEE countries have made significant progress, even in difficult circumstances. In UNMIK/Kosovo, for instance, most central government institutions (90%) are linked by an optical fibre network provided by the Post and Telecommunications of UNMIK/ Kosovo (PTK). This ‘electronic highway’ also interconnects eight municipalities. A microwave network, building on the inherited UNMIK microwave network, is being implemented in the project of expansion of strengthening of the network to interconnect 32 municipalities with the IT Central System.

In all SEE countries Academic Research Networks provide external connectivity and services linking many different institutions. Usually run by university staff, which reduced the cost of maintenance, several have been or are being constituted as independent entities. Most are connected to European broadband networks such as GEANT through for instance the SEEREN project. The national infrastructure available to them varies. In Serbia, more than 2000 km of ‘dark fibre’ are available with flexible bandwidth and cost effective transport of high volumes data. In Montenegro, the infrastructure is loaned by the National Telecom Company for 15 years at no cost.

Most e-services for government relate to improving efficiency of the business of governing, administration and managing finances, and are applied in specific areas such as justice and the courts.

e-Voting options are being investigated in several European countries, the first stage of which is the creation of the Register of voters. Due to the characteristics of Moldova’s population - according to some estimates up to one third of its active population is working and living abroad - e-voting for immigrants is of particular interest. With the support of UNDP, the Moldovan Central Elections Commission seeks to improve the management of elections in Moldova, with a particular focus on automating the process of preparation, processing and counting the votes of elections or referendums.

Internal government services such as Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS) have been introduced at various levels. In Serbia it is fully used for government deliberations. All documentation for government meetings and preparatory meetings is being digitized. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, a system for the registry, management, and reporting of public sector grant assistance is used by the Council of Ministers, implemented by UNDP through the

12 Project of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, Agency for Science and Higher Education, within which the Central Application Office has been established, Croatian Academic and Research Network, and National Centre for External Evaluation of Education



E-procurement systems are highly important for fair and transparent contracting. Governments publish tenders on their websites and most details are available to download, and for record keeping by the contracting authorities. The Albanian e-procurement system has introduced sophisticated procedures to further increase transparency. The system alerts bidders if some documents are missing. Once the deadline is passed, tenders can be opened only when all members of the commission have logged in.

e-Government project. The introduction of electronic document management has followed closely the adoption of ISO standards in many local governments in the entity Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), as one of the key innovations for ensuring better service delivery. In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the EDMS is connecting 20 ministries and institutions with a fibre backbone. In UNMIK/Kosovo, the Ministry of Finance has implemented a relatively advanced Budget Development Management Systems (BDMS), connecting all Ministries and Municipalities, that enables finance sections to view the complete current state of spending online. And a Project Cycle Management System is in the final stages of development, for use by all Ministries to plan and monitor the stage of each of their projects.

The Moldova e-customs system allows for 95% of customs declarations and documents to be completed online. All customs offices are connected and issue online certificates saving enormous amounts of time for businesses. In terms of stream lining payments, the Romanian State Treasury Electronic Payment System (STEPS) centralized payment system allows all transactions to be performed online in real time. Paying or collecting taxes, treasury collections, transfers are all centralized within a central payment engine.

The e-justice application such as the Integrated Court Information System covering 33 courts in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia enables automated distribution of cases to judges and ongoing monitoring of cases. In Croatia, an online data base allows the public to search decisions of the High Commercial Court or of the Supreme Court.

In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the e-Cadastre project digitizes the registration of land and buildings and allows online tracking of requests. It will go live in 2010 for the Skopje region and will allow access to information concerning ownership, sale of land and buildings and eventual mortgages held.

2.3 Services for Business The concept of the ‘One Stop Shop’ or Service Centres in municipalities or other local authorities in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Macedonia can be the first major step towards providing efficient services to businesses and citizens, and are especially useful where internet access and use is limited among small business. Digital registers available to civil servants allow clients to obtain all certificates and file requests for building permits or register a business for example in one place and with reduced processing time.

2.4 Underlying Infrastructure At EU level, expanding broadband access is viewed as ever more critical to establishing the Information Society, and all SEE countries still have a lot of room for growth. With one of the highest internet penetration in SEE, Croatia has an estimated 15% broadband connection with a very high proportion of households using dial-up access as the only available option to access the internet. This can be attributed to the adoption and implementation of a broadband strategy early on. Availability of WiFi hotspots, telecentres but also in public areas easily accessible such as universities, parks, etc. are strategies that pay off in terms of accessibility. In Romania, these hotspots are being put into service progressively since June 2009.

Services available online for businesses range from basic, such as providing information, providing downloadable documents, to advanced such as filing documents on line, online certification or online payment of taxes and social benefits. The Croatian government offers a unique portal for businesses13 allowing a large array of services ranging from filing and payment of annual income taxes, VAT reports and payments, on-line registration of employees pension insurance, access to national business and land registers and more. 13



Issues of interoperability and interconnectivity are particularly crucial for proper functioning between institutions. In Serbia, several large ministries have set up their own system effectively improving their functioning but interoperability becomes an issue once inter-ministerial communication or collaboration is needed. It is also of major importance to future applications when accession to EU becomes reality. For example systems of information interconnectivity (TARIC, NCTS, EMCS) necessary to exchange data between the European Commission and EU member States upon accession must be incorporated into projects long in advance accession itself. Noteworthy is cooperation between the Institute Open Society and the General Secretary of the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in cooperation with the foundation Metamorphosis, which has produced an interoperability framework outlining the principles for creating ICT standards in public administration. Romania has allocated a budget of â‚Ź383 million from EU funds to tackle this issue over the next four years.


Being a late starter in the development of ICTs has also advantages. Montenegro for example is becoming a leader in testing Next Generation Networks (NGNs). Its National Telecom company is conducting pilot studies for a Fibre to the Home (FTH) scheme while a mobile operator is planning to implement Long Term Evolution (LTG) 4G. A National fibre network with extension to neighbouring countries is planned. Digital Terrestrial television strategies exist in all SEE countries in accordance with the EU timetable for complete switchover i.e. achieving transition from analogue television services to digital TV services and complete cessation of analogue emissions by January 1st 2012. Some such as Croatia have digital coverage for almost all its territory already in place. Croatia has also introduced a voucher scheme for users to reduce the cost of purchasing a digital receiver. The switchover strategy in BiH has greatly benefited from the experience of Croatia, avoiding pitfalls and assisting solutions.



3. IMPACT AND BENEFITS OF INFORMATION SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT The full impact of implementing an information society agenda, including the benefits to the quality of life of citizens, takes some time to become apparent. At one level, the same can be said of the construction of a road or a railway – some returns are immediate but others (such as a boost to economic growth) may take years before manifesting themselves. Unlike roads and railways, however, Information Society services require not just an infrastructural component but also the development of actual services. Some such services are relatively straightforward and gains will flow smoothly. But reaping the benefits of others might require a possibly extended period of trial and error as needs are fully explored and understood. And full exploitation may be possible only when accompanied by changes in people’s attitudes, expectations and even skills. This longer and more complex lead-in process must be taken into account when considering impacts and benefits, and it is reasonable to assume that the return on much of the investment so far will be seen only in the future. Having said that, all countries have already experienced some benefits. In additional to the social and economic benefits, significant incentives to implementing an Information Society agenda also present themselves to the countries of SEE at the political level. The process of the enlargement of the EU14 in the region has a strong Information Society component, one of the major factors in the first place motivating the initial e-SEE Agenda. Key aspects of EU accession in relation to the Information Society are based on the i201015 initiative and the new EU Digital Agenda. The e-SEE Agenda+ embraces almost the full set of requirements for candidate countries, from infrastructure to interoperability to services, and covering everything from the legal framework, to digital television, to universal access and e-services and has already contributed across this spectrum in advancing the agendas at national level. With the legal and institutional framework of the Information Society well advanced in most countries, the development of services comes to the fore. Of specific relevance here is the third of three overall i2010 Objectives: An Information Society that is inclusive, provides high quality services and promotes quality of life.

14 Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are already candidate countries, while Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and UNMIK/Kosovo are potential candidates. 15 I2010: A European Information Society for Growth and Employment 2005, CEC COC(2005) 229. For key documents see:



e-Procurement, implemented among others in Romania, Albania, UNMIK/Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, has immediate cost savings for government, especially if hard copy alternatives are eliminated as in Albania (though care must be taken with that not to exclude smaller firms with limited internet access). It also saves significant time for businesses and when fully implemented extends the circulation and audience for notices. It thereby also enhances transparency and reduces the opportunities for corruption.

As noted elsewhere in this report, many subsequent declarations, commitments and documents have been made by the Commission, by member states and candidate countries that both reaffirm and offer more detail in terms of the specific items of the agenda. The i2010 Agenda was updated in May 2010, with the Digital Agenda for Europe16 demonstrates the EU’s commitment to constantly pushing forward the Information Society, at an ever faster rate, as one of seven flagships actions of the EU core strategy EUROPE 202017. The centrality of the e-Governance is again reaffirmed here. Therefore, there are extensive commonalities of the e-SEE Agenda+ priorities and the EU’s seven priority areas of: building a digital single market, fast and ultra fast internet access, interoperability and standards, boosting trust and security, research and innovation, enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion, and leveraging the benefits of ICTs for society.

e-Licensing of businesses, implemented in several countries, has greatly reduced the time and in some cases the cost of registering a new business. Though applications to Albania’s National Licensing Centre still require a visit, the use of ICTs has transformed them into a model rapid, quality and low cost of delivery. Most licenses are issued within two days, and the principal of ‘silent consent’ means a license is issued automatically if the stipulated deadline is not met. But most countries have deployed ICTs to reduce the bureaucracy and time involved in issuing licenses for enterprises. The benefits include encouraging business formation, enhancing competition and creating a more vibrant and open market, in addition to reducing opportunities for corruption.

e-Service for Government: The introduction of ICTs into the processes and activities of government has benefited governments, but also directly and indirectly businesses and citizens. Electronic Document Management Systems in ministries are likely to become the norm everywhere, and lead to major savings in time and efficiency. Serbia is already seeing the benefits in its ministerial meetings – no longer having to copy up to 1,500 pages for each of 28 ministers at the weekly meeting – as are a number of ministries in Moldova. Montenegro and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia both expect to deploy systems in 2010. As additional Ministries and institutions are covered, and given attention to interoperability, benefits are likely to multiply. Other more specialised systems in government are also delivering returns, such as the Budget Development Management System in UNMIK/Kosovo’s Ministry of Finance which enables more efficient and comprehensive monitoring of spending among ministries and municipalities.

e-Customs services have resulted in very significant benefits all round, especially where they have been introduced comprehensively throughout the system, for instance in Albania and Moldova. Greater efficiency has reduced costs for government, facilitating far more trade with the same costs. Over time, excise duties collected have risen, and smuggling and corrupt payments have fallen. There are major time savings for transport companies, importers and exporters, especially important in perishable goods. Statistical data is also greatly improved in terms both of timeliness and completeness, facilitating improving policy and planning.

e-Service to Businesses yield some of the clearest benefits, and often both government and business profit from them.

Moldova’s unique barcode labelling system for individual products has brought clear benefits to government, businesses and citizens, in the medicines, bottled water, and wine sectors. Returns from VAT more than doubled in the space of a couple of years, legitimate businesses were protected from smugglers and counterfeits (and in the case of wine saw the reopening of the export market to Russia), and consumers were assured of the quality of their purchases. Other e-services benefit both citizens and businesses.

16 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A Digital Agenda for Europe. Brussels, 19.05.2010 COM(2010) 245. digital-agenda/documents/digital-agenda-communication-en.pdf 17 Brussels, 3.3.2010 COM(2010) 2020 Communication from the Commission: EUROPE 2020 A Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth



e-Cadastre projects, for instance in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova and UNMIK/Kosovo, bring clear advantages in terms of saving time and money, and enhance transparency through being able to track processes and widespread availability of information on ownership and other factors relating to land and property.

Sometimes a modest investment can yield good results, such as in Montenegro where an extra-curricular course on Web development unexpectedly took off as one of the most popular of courses of students, with clear benefits to their ICT abilities. Another innovative scheme, in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, introduced computer discount vouchers for final year third level students had the desired effect of boosting PC use among this group.

Although limited progress overall has been made at municipal level, a notable exception is the Inđija Municipality in Serbia. Its one-stop-shop for local government to citizens and businesses was critical to attracting inward investment and improving the quality of life for the population, and is now being emulated elsewhere.

The benefits of the academic and research networks, supported in most countries with high speed internet access, are not always immediately visible and can be difficult to quantify. But it is undeniable that many of the collaborative projects currently underway among universities and research institutes, and with EU countries, would not have been be possible were it not for these networks. These in turn underpin the development of research capacities in the long term.

Online e-Services for citizens are, overall, relatively poorly developed in the region, but the benefits of some services are self evident. The convenience of being able to apply for (or even pay for and receive) civic documents online, such as birth, marriage and death certificates, driver’s licences, duplicate passports and ID cards, is self evident. Similarly, the provision of detailed timely information on the processes of governance, of the judicial system, and other areas brings additional undeniable benefits in terms of transparency and openness. Even the limited level of development that exists in the region already benefits some. But a widespread improvement in the quality of life, which is the ultimate goal, will have to await both the full development of the e-services and ubiquitous access to the internet, either domestically or via public areas.

Several areas are relatively underdeveloped in the region, but even here some benefits already anticipate what can be achieved. In Albania, for instance, borders controls access to a Website of cultural artefacts recently resulted in the return a stolen and many more such successes can be expected.

e-Education has received some attention in every country of South East Europe, with the scope and ambition of programmes varying greatly. The need for an early education in ICTs, and their potential for improving education in other subjects, is widely accepted as part of secondary and sometime primary education. Also accepted is that benefits (as in education in general) must be viewed in the long-term, and that impacts are difficult to pinpoint with precision. Nevertheless, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will be in a position to assess some outcomes of its ambitious programme during 2010 when its secondary school examination system is scheduled to move to a combination of online multiple choice questions and teacher assessment. The expectation is that it will be fairer, less arbitrary and more attractive to those taking the tests. Moldova has also already seen a steep rise in the number of applicants for ICTs courses at third level, after ICTs were introduced in schools in recent years.






4. HELPING AND HINDERING FACTORS TO INFORMATION SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT Insufficient funding to proceed with programmes and projects – some already fully approved – has emerged as a major hindering factor in most SEE countries, and one for which there is no simple remedy. Virtually everywhere the current economic climate has significantly affected funding available, both nationally and from donors and other contributors. In some instances private sector investment is also being curtailed. However, new opportunities to access funds associated with EU accession and to develop partnerships with the EU are worth pursuing. Such sources include not just Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) but also the many information society programmes in which different level of participation may be possible. Romania demonstrates clearly the ultimate financial advantage of EU membership in the area of Information Society, with the European Regional Development Fund investing hundred of millions of euro in broadband, in e-Service development and in ICT services and ecommerce for SMEs. Yet such opportunities can be grasped only if the capacities are present to fully appreciate their potential, to develop appropriate responses and proposals, and to implement such projects and programmes. The e-SEE Initiative, as well as the UNDP Secretariat, has from the beginning sought to strengthen ties with the European Union, with a view to aligning the e-SEE country Information Society agenda to that of the EU and thereby facilitating the process of accession, and its success is widely acknowledged. The current e-Leadership initiative includes specifically the issue of capacity building, in some respects relevant to being able to access such EU funds. Aside from this, the countries of SEE differ anyhow in the amount of resources at their disposal and the extent to which they prioritise information society development alongside other pressing needs. Countries that have invested political and financial capital in information society activities, including Croatia, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Romania, are already reaping the benefits in what is, in macro-investment terms, a relatively short period of time. A strong private sector, or keen interest from external investors, can lead to successful partnerships for service development between the public and private sector. There are some encouraging examples, such as for instance Serbia’s Chamber of Commerce e-Services collaboration with Diners Club international, and Montenegro’s exploitation of the .me domain.



A strong association of ICT firms, such as MASIT (Macedonia ICT Chamber of Commerce), is also well placed not simply to offer members services but to develop partnership projects with government and to significantly influence policy. Although the overall contribution that these might appear to be relatively limited, there is potential to expand these kinds of activities.

can benefit from innovative thinking and specialist capacities. At present little thought has been given to applying some of the innovative solutions that are developing in other regions of the world. The introduction of digital broadcasting, almost everywhere as a result of external pressures and specifically of the European Union, causes particular challenges. Apart from the technical challenge, which is in principle resolvable with appropriate resources, much uncertainly surrounds the appropriate business model for digital broadcasting, the effect it might have on the media landscape in terms of concentration of ownership and the closure of small operators, and the impact it might have on the already fragile public service broadcast media - most already struggling to secure full independence and security of income as required by the EU. Instead of the ‘digital dividend’ becoming an opportunity to enhance the media landscape, the lack of research into and understanding of the issues and options may result in the opposite. This tends not to be an area of concern to donors. Yet a glance at the annual EU enlargement strategy reports indicates that the European Commission regards it as a very serious area. For instance, the most recent report18 includes issues of broadcasting reform in terms of administrative capacity or independence of the broadcast regulatory agency, frequency allocation, and public service broadcasting are highlighted in almost all seven countries.

A major factor that hinders the growth in e-Services in all kinds of ways is limited human capacity, an area in which the e-SEE initiative as well as the RCC play an important role. Lack of experience and often training in ICT-related skills is one aspect of this, one faced by all countries at some stage in their development. In addition to the difficulty of recruiting suitable people in the first place, those already employed are often tempted away by higher salaries in the private sector. Public employers are sometimes seen as little more than a temporary stop off, where experience and training can be obtained on the way to lucrative private sector jobs, leaving managers frustrated and delayed in their efforts to develop services. In few places, such as Kosovo, there are attempts to address this with bonuses or higher salaries, but in implementing such incentives great care must be taken to ensure they are having the desired effect. At programme management level, however, there are also problems of human capacity. Evidence abounds of poor programme and project planning, and limited follow through and monitoring of outcomes. There are also successful examples, such as the Inđija Municipality in Serbia’s one-stopshop centre, an example not only of good planning and execution but of encouraging and supporting a public-service orientation among staff – another skill that can have very positive results.

The need to raise understanding of ICTs and motivate people to understand their benefits and to use them applies at several levels. In some countries the problem lies at the top: parliamentarians and senior officials unwilling to change their ways despite efforts to get them to adopt Document Management Systems (DMS) and other time and resource saving technologies. One tactic is to gradually draw them in, when benefits incrementally become clear. The developers of the DMS in Serbian Ministries first introduced to senior government people the facility to read documents readily and online. This in turn led to requests to be able to edit them – and from there came the political will, previously lacking, to approve the Law on e-signatures that had been holding up progress.

Part of the problem is that there is sometimes a limited access to training and capacity building in general on recent developments in this fast evolving field, thus hindering the emergence of ‘champions’ to take positions of e-Leadership. A comprehensive knowledge of the sector is needed not simply to implement programmes but to become a persuasive advocate of the potential of ICTs among senior policy makers and politicians who, understandably, may not be aware of such benefits.

Another example from Serbia relates to motivating ministries to participate in a suite of e-services developed by the Chamber of Commerce for businesses. The support of the VAT administration, for instance, was facilitated by the fact that 20% of the small fee that businesses pay to make their VAT returns using these e-Services goes to the VAT office itself.

Many telecommunications regulators are facing the task of market and cost analyses: as markets develop a number of large competing players emerge and interconnection and service unbundling become more complicated. In this case significant support is often available from donors and others as the sector is such a major focus of market development. The development and implementation of universal service policies and actions, by Ministries and sometime regulators is another area which

18 Brussels, 14.10.2009 COM (2009) 533. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council: Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2009-2010.



There are also understandable concerns among workers, from Moldova to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, about the introduction of ICTs and the effects the potential impact on employment. Will jobs be lost as ICTs replace people? Will the introduction of ICTs lead to greater scrutiny and control of work procedures? Such concerns can delay the introduction of services, and when implemented may result in them being deployed is ways that are less than optimal. Little attention appears to have been paid to such issues.

influence the pace of project development. It is difficult to plot easy ways around such obstacles. But the e-SEE Agenda and e-SEE Agenda + has had some significant successes over the years in this regard, and is credited in several countries with having brought coherence, political will and impetus behind the Information Society agenda. This has been achieved in a number of ways identified in earlier research but confirmed here: t

Motivating businesses and citizens to use services is also sometimes difficult. e-Taxation at the point of sale, for instance, is being developed in several countries and the cost of the electronic cash registers can discourage use. The example of the e-Labelling of products in Moldova demonstrates how some tax-related services can more than pay for themselves, if imaginatively implemented. But attempts to recoup costs at the start may backfire, leading to a low level of use of services and hence their failure to develop to a critical mass of use. The switch to e-Procurement for government purchases and contracts has at the same time encouraged the use of ICTs among businesses, in some cases (as in Albania) through the elimination of any other option.

t t


There is no doubt that post-conflict situations, and ongoing tensions, may be characterised by institutional fragmentation and poor communication and coordination between different part of the state and other entities involved. Bosnia and Herzegovina is an example of this, also confronts a major institution-building effort.


Many problems confront new democracies in reorganising administrations and institutions to be more participative and efficiency, and in dealing with the (for many, new) challenges of international cooperation especially in smaller countries which are expected to develop the same panoply of instruments and agencies as their larger neighbours. Pursuing coherent programmatic agendas of any kind, not just the Information Society, can be difficult in these circumstances. But an advantage of the Information Society agenda is that ICTs can contribute significant in the reengineering business and institutional processes – becoming a part of the solution and not simply of the problem. This was evident for instance in countries that successfully implementing document management systems.

by governments explicitly acknowledging that it is a long term process, and focusing attention on it as such; by bringing a degree of continuity to the Information Society agenda in what was sometimes an unstable political environment; by bringing an ‘Information Society institutional memory’; to bear, through the activities of the e-SEE Secretariat – impartial because of the involvement of UNDP - which also enabled exchanges of information and informal, non-hierarchical exchanges of ideas and experiences; enhancing and facilitating alignment with the EU Information Society agenda, through ensuring full coherence with its goals, while at the same time facilitating the setting my countries of region and national specific goals; a healthy degree of intra-regional competition – often former compatriots and new neighbours sharing the same legacy, language and culture constructively comparing progress towards the EU.

Finally, it is worth drawing attention to a factor underlying many of the issues, especially for e-governance services for citizens: Where only a small proportion of the population has ready access to the internet, and these tend to be among the better off and located in major centres, then there is a risk that services developed will disproportionately benefit those who least need them. The already disadvantaged, geographically or financially, may find themselves relatively worse off, unable to benefit from the costs and time savings aspect of the new services. Certainly the general trend, as is evident from the very significant growth in access in all countries in the last number of years, is for rapid growth in access, driven primarily by the private sector with appropriate incentives and firm regulation in place to ensure continuous expansion.

Procurement delays can stretch indefinitely, greatly affecting the impetus developed around projects. Poor coordination and lack of clarity regarding responsibilities between different agencies, Ministries and others can stall activities. And the political cycles of elections can significantly



But it is also the case that e-governance services should not be characterised as delivered solely online. As this report has shown some of the most successful services are provided in ‘one-stopshops’, an experience shared by other countries. A study of the experience of the Asia Foundation, which has supported numerous e-Government projects, has pointed to countries where: ˝… local governments are setting up systems in a “one stop shop” for government services, or even on a single computer, that still have a profound impact on people’s lives and local businesses... Government can use IT in thousands of different ways to make life easier for citizens and businesses, and to reduce corruption. The Internet is just one delivery mechanism that tends to be more appropriate for more developed countries.˝ 19


At the same time measures can be put in place, through universal service provision and actions targeted at excluded sectors of the population, to ensure they too can have access to affordable services possibly in public centres or one-stop-shops. Furthermore, demand can be encouraged at local level through the development of local content and services – where local government for instance has become involved in the provision of e-services, the incentives to access the internet has risen. This approach must include both supply and demand aspects of the equation - the Croatian e-Island programme for instance did precisely that, providing broadband access while at the same time offering high-bandwidth services such as e-education. Essential to developing and funding such universal services actions is a public that understands the issues involved. One of the main characteristics of countries of South East Europe is the limited debate at public level on such issues, linked to the absence of platforms in which they can be discussed.

19 Parks, Thomas A Few Misconceptions about e-Government, The Asia Foundation. August 2005 page 5-6



5. ADDRESSING THE GENDER DIGITAL DIVIDE Barriers to ensuring the gender issues are addressed in the context of the Information Society are of a different nature and therefore are highlighted in a specific section of this publication. 5.1 Brief situation scan of Gender Equality in SEE Countries The word “gender” is used to refer to the culturally, socially, economically and historically defined roles of women and men and to understand how the unequal power relations between them are shaped and built into social institutions such as the family, legal and political systems, religious systems and beliefs. Gender roles are learned socially from a variety of cultural sources from the time of birth. As they are not biologically determined, they can and have been changed. Gender analysis forms the base upon which mainstreaming the training and development required to ensure equitable progression for women and men in any reconstruction and reintegration processes depend. Working with gender equality issues means looking at the roles, needs, involvement and decisionmaking of both women and men in a community. The United Nations is committed to gender equality in all its policies and programmes. The 1997 report of the Economic and Social Council defines gender mainstreaming as: ˝The process of assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies or programmes, in all areas and at all levels˝. It is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality. Countries participating in the e-SEE Initiative are not known for a prominent gender-based discriminatory climate. However, some complex forces are at play here. The current gender equality landscape in Western Balkans as the current semi-periphery of the European Union 20, is affected by a combination of factors such as the dissolution of the socialist regime and its legal, economic and social heritage, the social and economic fibre being destroyed by war/sanctions, re-traditionalisation of society following the wars/sanctions, badly damaged, destroyed or obsolete infrastructure, economic crisis and the prolonged transition process towards a market economy. There are also stereotypes, and traditional ideas about female and male jobs. 20 Canons and Contexts, Blagojević (2007)



This process is strongly influenced by ongoing globalisation trends that are imposing their contextual demands onto the South Eastern Europe as its semi- periphery 21, and by EU accession process demands which are often drawing on the joint aspiration of SEE countries for EU membership. The findings of this research strongly confirm that ICT and gender equality panorama in South Eastern Europe is surely affected by the above forces and interaction between them.

Such social conditions have paradoxically not only removed women from the leading positions but also from employment in general, depriving them of economic independence and pushing them towards the household or informal economies. However, some could argue that the position of women in most SEE countries is no worse than in Western Europe. Women’s representation in political institutions in the EU averages 18%. Fully integrating women into the labour market is still one of the major goals of most EU policy makers. The EU’s Lisbon targets for Europe’s competitiveness in the world economy require that the overall employment rate be increased to 70% by 2010. If achieved, 60% of European women would be in the labour force in 2010.

The legislative and policy framework for equality has been adopted in all countries of SEE. All have a specific department or agency in charge of gender equality issues within the cabinet or in a Ministry. Bosnia and Herzegovina has, in this respect been in many ways an example to the SEE region by forming both entity and state level Agencies for gender equality, adopting both Law on gender equality, and Gender Action Plan 22 that prioritises ICT among other 14 key issues. In BiH, where reform of the constitution is still on the agenda, constitutional reforms would represent an opportunity to include the gender equality principle and the ban on the discrimination on the basis of sex as a constitutional category of equal importance as the principle of ethnic representation.

5.2 Gender Equality and the Digital Divide The term ‘digital divide’ has traditionally described inequalities in access to computers and the internet between groups of people based on one or more social or cultural identifiers. Under this conceptualization, researchers tend to compare rates of access to these technologies across individuals or schools based on race, sex, disability status, and other identity dimensions. The “divide” refers to the difference in access rates among groups. The gender digital divide refers to the gap in access rates between men and women. 24 The problem of the gender digital divide should be considered from the perspective of the existing international standards and the binding legislation, such as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; Article 2 of the European Commission Agreement; Articles 141 (3), 13 (1) and 137 of the Agreement on the EU Legislation on gender equality; Directions of the International Telecommunication Union ITU (TFGI-4/5E), as well as the EU legislation and EU good practices in this field. At SEE regional level, the e-SEE Agenda+ makes clear reference to gender equality, and at national level of relevance are laws on gender equality and associated action plans as well as gender relates aspects of strategies, policies and action plans for development of information society

In most SEE countries women’s participation in the labour market is quite high; they represent almost half of the active population. However, many are employed in low skilled jobs, and as such form a disproportionate part of unemployed labour force and up to nearly 40 percent of unemployed women are classified as long-term unemployed. This results in increased poverty and social inequalities and growing economic insecurity. In Moldova, women’s share among migrants is also quite high: in 2006 42% of Moldova’s migrants were women 23. While economic crisis has decreased the amount of remittances it has also put migrants at risk of exploitation or trafficking. Transition to the market economy has meant also the withdrawal of state support for childcare and parental leave. Indeed, social measures directed toward ensuring equal participation of women and men in the leading positions have included such measures as reducing the duration of maternity leave, inadequate legal solutions regarding payment during the maternity leave, reducing the capacity of infant nurseries and kindergartens or extended working hours in the service sector such as shops, restaurants, supermarkets, without securing adequate surveillance system.

21 Ibid. 22 23 According to data by the International Organization of Migration (IOM)

24 Understanding the Digital Divide from a Multicultural Education Framework, Gorski, 2001,



5.3 Gender Equality and ICTs in the SEE Countries

UNDP globally is ardently working on the implementation of a Gender Equality Strategy (20082011)25 , and increasing its efforts in gender mainstreaming of all its policies, projects and initiatives. The Declaration of the UN World Summit on the Information Society stresses that:

In the light of the EU aspirations of e-SEE Initiative member countries, corresponding EU Directives and legislation in this area, such as the Council Directive 2004/113/EC that seeks equal opportunities in access, training and use of ICT, and balanced representation of both sexes in managerial and leading positions in the ICT sphere, may be further explored.

“Governments and other actors should provide necessary preconditions which will enable equal access to information and knowledge for women, and ensure equal role in the process of creation and making of decisions in all aspects concerning the establishment of the frame and creation of contents of information technology policies”.

In many countries, gender equality issues remain low on the agenda of the ICT stakeholders. During interviews, many respondents did not acknowledge gender equality related issues in their countries. In the first instance this is because there is sometimes a gap between the reality on the ground of gender equality issues and the perception of the extent of problems e.g. the number of women in a Ministry does not necessarily reflect countrywide statistics. Indeed, the number of women in the Ministries and other public sector institutions may be equal or even higher to that of man, which has its roots in the traditionally low pay associated with public sector employment along with relative job security and benefits such as extended maternity leave that allow women to assume the traditional roles of primary care-takers in their family. It is also worth pointing out that even with a large number, even a majority, of women in Ministries, few are appointed to top management level of such institutions. To illustrate this, there is only one woman Minister in charge of ICT among all e-SEE Initiative member states 27. On the positive side, the literacy rate of women in South-East Europe is equivalent to that of men, women have free access to the public sphere, partake in politics and run businesses. At least 50% of all government officials of e-SEE Initiative at all times were women. The Initiative was since its inception of regional ownership phase always chaired by women 28, while the e-SEE Secretariat is headed by a woman since 2004. The e-SEE Agenda+ makes reference to the CEDAW Convention and Beijing Platform. Moreover, its Priority area C, entitled Inclusive Information Society, states that:

The United Nation’s Millennium Declaration emphasised an important role of ICTs in human development, and recognises it as an important tool for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. This is due to the vast potential of ICTs in transforming the lives of individuals and societies at large. For individuals, access to ICTs means additional access to knowledge and information, employment opportunities, increase of income and improvement of quality of life. For the society in SEE, the development of Information Society means acceleration of economic development, EU approximation, access to new markets and increased competitiveness in the global economy, as well as an increased social inclusion. In gender equality context, therefore, equitable access of men and women to ICTs offers an opportunity to close the existing gender digital divide that exist in society, by empowering women through improved access to education, jobs and career opportunities, as well as enabling women’s networking and online support groups. The EC former Telecommunications Commissioner Viviane Reding states ˝that gender equality in ICT is a ‘win-win’ situation for both the ICT industry and society˝ 26. e-Inclusion is one of the pillars of the i2010 initiative on the Information Society, and is closely related to other European policies, namely on social inclusion, education and culture, regional development. e-Inclusion means both inclusive ICT and the use of ICT to achieve wider inclusion objectives. It focuses on participation of all individuals and communities in all aspects of the Information Society. e-Inclusion policy, therefore, aims at reducing gaps in ICT usage and promoting the use of ICT to overcome exclusion, and improve economic performance, employment opportunities, quality of life, social participation and cohesion. Given that gender equality is widely acknowledged as a key factor in development, at all levels, this gap offers an opportunity to put in place some constructive actions.

˝All activities will be designed and implemented to ensure that they are gender responsive and support active and meaningful participation of women in the Information Society to avoid the gender digital divide. At the same time, access to technology and equal opportunities should be provided in equal manner for different socio-demographic groups (disability, age, culture, etc.).˝ (e-SEE Agenda+, 2007, p. 4) 27 H.E. Ms. Jasna Matić, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society, Serbia 28 From 2002 to 2007, e-SEE Initiative was chaired by Marijana Vidas Bubanja (Phd. Sc.) of Serbia, while the current e-SEE Chair is Diana Šimić (Phd. Sc.) of Croatia.

25 26 Speech delivered at the Cyberellas are IT! Conference, Brussels, 3 March 2009



Finally, all countries agreed to adopt the national Action Plans for e-Accessibility for the period 20072010, which will “address the issues of stimulation measures for making ICT easier to use for a wider range of people, improvement of digital literacy, and decrease of the digital divides, especially in rural environments and having in mind the gender component.” A number of ICT related areas can be identified in which gender equality issues arise.

corporate hiring policies of ICT companies. Action are thus required to ensure that industry associations are aware of gender-friendly work practices and of companies that have performed well with high levels of women workers. A constraint in women’s use of ICTs is accessing the information, particularly in traditional and rural areas. Internet public access points such as telecentres and cybercafés are sometimes not seen as appropriate places for women and girls. Women also often have less free time, especially without their children with them, and lower levels of disposable income to use on “extras” such as visiting a cybercafé. Within some households, women access the Internet and computer technology through gatekeepers - often male family members who use the technology to communicate, send money, and research information at the direction of women. Even telephone access is sometimes restricted through a male family member or community member. Although literacy or access to higher education is not an issue in SEE, a high percentage of Internet content is still mainly in English, a language mastered mainly by younger generations.

Many occupations traditionally held by women do not offer them access to computers, creating both a lack of training opportunities and of exposure to technology. Most female small businesses are trade-based, where a computer would be a very costly investment. Having a computer in an office is often perceived, particularly in small towns and rural areas, as a mark of status, restricted to senior staff, most of whom are still men. Also, as in many parts of the world, there are still deep-seated traditional biases against women and technology particularly in rural areas. Technology may be seen as “male”, “high status”, “scientific/ mathematical” or “expensive”. Such attitudes can inhibit rural women from learning new skills or even accessing technology.

However, when women do gain access to technology within their traditional physical spheres, it can give them access to critical information. Women use information on reproductive and child/ family health, government benefits, and schooling. Women in business use e-services to organise remittances, find information on market prices, manage small businesses, sell products, and seek new economic opportunities. For example, the Macedonia e-BIZ project31 made gender equality a priority by asking all of its e-BIZ ICT centres to explicitly target ways to help female entrepreneurs access information to expand their businesses. As the overall global economy is more and more reliant on ICTs in everyday life; the exclusion of women from this would increase the gender imbalance.

Training materials, times, locations and marketing often reflect this discrimination, assuming that women are not interested in learning about technology beyond basic computer usage. Therefore, training opportunities should be widely extended to women as well as men with specific encouragement to young girls from teachers and role-models. Training opportunities need to be available not only for technology professionals but for non-professionals to use ICTs. Encouragement and even incentives need to be given to encouraging women to enter all segments of the ICT labour force, not just the assembly-line positions they have dominated in the past and businesses to hire them 29. Enabling working policies can encourage the establishment of teleworking that has provided jobs for many women. The little research available on the topic of gender and ICTs in South Eastern Europe, points to the fact that women are by far less represented at the tertiary level ICT studies, even though their grades are on average higher than those of men. Upon graduation women engineers in South Eastern Europe are awarded a lower status than male engineers; they tend to face more difficulty in finding work, often end up in lower paid jobs, and rarely have access to senior management positions30. Women’s participation in the labour market is influenced by

Using ICTs for distance learning and ongoing training can address the issue of women being less available for travel or evening/weekend meetings due to household responsibilities or safety concerns. ICTs can expand the use of traditional, low literacy, communications technology, such as radio and TV – still prime communications channels for broad audiences – by offering content reuse or on-demand content via podcasts, video on demand, or video compact discs (VCDs). As more and more cell phones offer MP3 and MP4 (audio and video) playback capability, users can replay programs at will. Experience from other countries points to the fact that when training programs explicitly target women, training rates increase.

29 Gender Perspective of ICT: South Eastern European Strategies and Policies, Nera Nazečić (2008) Master Thesis, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina 30 “Žene i studije elektrotehnike.”, Marković, Vera (2002) Elektronski fakultet u Nišu

31 Funded by USAID (2003-2006)



From the start of ICT investments, gender aspects should be included in the choice of the infrastructure and technology. When modernizing, redesigning network architecture or deploying networks, solutions chosen will provide infrastructure that is affordable to most women such as focusing on universal access (including outside major cities) rather than high-capacity specialized access, or prioritising affordable wireless alternatives can ensure low-cost access. At all steps, women need to be included in the training as new technologies are implemented and the location of infrastructure chosen so as to facilitate access for women since social, economic, and/or cultural constraints may restrict women from accessing them.

If fees for telecommunications, Internet service providers (ISPs), and mobile service licenses are high, these costs are passed on to users, limiting affordability to women and the poor. High fees increase the cost of telephone and ICT services, discouraging women-owned communications businesses (including telecentres, phone-fax-Internet shops) or women-owned businesses relying on technology. Particularly important is to have licensing procedures which are transparent so that women applicants can have ready access to the information. This research suggests that non-governmental organisations often take the lead on the issue of ICT and gender, precisely because they are close to the reality of many women on the ground.

In technology choices, affordability of service is a key issue to women. If technology choices are limited this can restrict new entrants from the market and limit the introduction of technologies such as WiFi Internet that might bring down costs. Gender sensitive assessments about who will use the technology and for what purpose need to be undertaken to determine appropriate technology choices. It is important to promote and support user-friendly technology, particularly in the context of low e-skills levels. Moreover, disaggregated data by sex on internet, computer usage and e-service usage is necessary to orient these choices. Most e-SEE countries still lack these statistics and therefore cannot orient their choices properly.


OneWorld Platform for South Eastern Europe (, an APC member operating from Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a good example of how ICT and gender equality issues can be effectively addressed by the civil society. Through development of online portal with content in four SEE languages, and participating in a series of projects and publications such as Global Information Society Watch, Gender Evaluation Methodology and Digital Story Telling, OneWorld has been successful in harnessing ICTs for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

One of the EU’s fer-de-lance is the telecommunication sector’s liberalisation. By opening the telecoms and ICT sector to competition it is expected that it will bring in needed investment and force down end-user prices to make access more affordable, notably to women. However, monopoly system operators understandably dispute this fact and experience has shown that this has not always happened. Except in a few SEE countries prices remain high. High customs duties on mobile telephones and computer equipment, as well as high prices for service, are deterrents to women users.


In Montenegro, the Department for Gender Equality of the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights collaborated with an NGO, the Institute for Strategic Studies and Prognoses, to produce a report in 2008 with the title of FEMINICT analysing the current digital divide in Montenegro and the role of women in the ICT, through various practical examples. Although the study identifies some improvements made in terms of the role of the women and steps taken to overcome cultural divide and the barriers, it notes the need for further improvements to increase women participation in ICTs.

Regulatory bodies establish a set of rules for market behaviour: “who can provide what service and under what conditions.” Regulation also sets the framework for achieving desirable outcomes established by national policy. Regulatory frameworks can reduce licensing fees, spectrum prices, and interconnection charges that can make ICTs more accessible to women. An independent regulator can compel profit-driven private sector players to meet social and gender equality policy objectives for example, in return for granting licenses, regulators can compel service providers to offer service to underserved areas to ensure that service to poor women in rural areas is available. Regulators can provide funds for research, development, and testing of ICTs that will serve women.


Metamorphosis in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and ZaMirNet in Croatia advocate for increased inclusiveness of ICTs, the later organising workshops with Roma women for working with the media.


In Serbia, the NGO Equal Opportunities has developed an online course to educate all actors of civil society and public authorities about gender issues. Through partnerships with private ICT companies and the public sector, this NGO has created a web platform for information about equal opportunities.



Although globally the gender equality in ICT advocacy movement has grown, in SEE it is still fragmented or undeveloped. Where gender and ICT networks exist, they are confined to the fringes of the women’s organisations that prioritise other burning issues. Research shows that: ”if properly harnessed ICTs stand to meaningfully contribute to and mutually reinforce the advancement of effective, more expeditious solutions to gender inequalities and women’s rights violations, including problems such as gender-based violence or the unequal participation of women in political as well as in economic spheres.” 32


32 Report ˝Bridging the gender digital divide˝ (2004) UNIFEM / UNDP p.i



6. THE PATH AHEAD: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The e-SEE Initiative has a unique advantage when it comes to producing research based on the actual realities of those developing and implementing Information Society strategies, policies and projects: i.e. the unique set of contacts and networks that are involved at every level and aspect, and have been working together in the e-SEE initiative over many years. The level of trust among those involved, as well the key positions held by national counterparts to the e-SEE Secretariat, has facilitated a degree of insight and reflection that would normally be unavailable to researchers. UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the facilitator of the process and the host of the e-SEE Secretariat enjoys, in this sense, a certain privileged position in relation to the Information Society at regional level that enables it to promote actions that others cannot, a position that can be taken advantage of in terms of future support for good practice exchange and joint capacity building actions, and generally further deepening the relationships of all those involved in the Information Society in the region. The research process itself, which involved discussions with numerous institutional stakeholders in each country, has contributed, if only in a small way, to raising awareness of the Information Society agenda, of the structures at national and regional level, and of the central place that the Information Society holds in relation to orienting towards the European Union. A particular effort was made by the team to bring civil society actors into play, sometimes where they were somewhat excluded, and the issue of gender equality was also a new focus in many areas. Thus a deeply informed overall impression was gained during the research of the types of challenges faced by policy makers and in programme implementation, thoroughly grounded in the realities they face, and of the needs that arise in relation to successfully developing e-governance projects and promoting the information society. Below, conclusions and recommendations are presented acknowledging the successes, providing suggestions to tackle the challenges faced, unearthing the opportunities and prioritizing the needs relating to them.



6.1 Successes in progressing the Information Society

government transparency. Examples include issues official documents such as passports and identity cards, birth and other certificates, drivers licenses civil registration; as well as instant access to government documentations and parliamentary procedures. Governments also sometimes benefit directly from these, in the form of cost savings, greater efficiency, as well reaping the indirect reward of being held in higher regard by the public.

Overall, there has been commendable progress towards the information society. The key legal and institutional underpinnings are in place in almost all countries, and most are advancing steadily in terms of their infrastructure and access, with a few making notable gains. This report is concerned primarily with the area of e-governance, and here too all countries of South East Europe have seen positive developments in the last few years.

6.2 Prioritising e-Governance

Very evident is the growth in services provided to government and ministries, such as those noted above in broadband networks for government institutions; Document Management Systems and management tools in ministries, government and e-parliament activities.

However, e-government services to citizens have, in general, been somewhat lower on the list of priorities and in terms of action, despite the priority accorded to these under i2010 and its successors and indeed the wider pressure of market developments. An exception to this has often been e-Education and, in some areas, university and academic networks have been strongly encouraged, partly because these services can be offered in locally identified areas (schools, universities); and partly because quite rightly, most societies recognise the critical value of education to future development. But e-services, whether interactive online or (as noted above, often more important) available in ‘one-stop-shops’, are not as widespread as they might be. And e-services that enhance participation in public debate and policy making are barely present at all.

In some respects such enhancement of government efficiency is a prerequisite to offering services to business and to citizens. For instance, the development of interoperable databases and services within government itself facilitates their further elaboration as e-services, particularly in the direction of greater government transparency, and reducing bureaucracy and duplication. A second area coming to the fore early on is some e-business services relating to government bureaucracies, especially around quick and easy ways of registering businesses, reducing red-tape in the processes of business, eliminating duplication in interactions with different Ministries, and reducing the scope for corruption. Here the benefits have been undeniable with a number of very clear and quantifiable positive outcomes in financial calculations or in accessibility, but not to be underestimated also is the long-term value of aligning these areas with the EU i2010 agenda. Interoperability, too, is a key requirement in terms of confirming with EU requirements and enabling seamless cross border and trade.

Several factors may lie behind the fact that services available to the general public and to civil society organisations have not been high on the agenda. It can be argued that revenue generating e-Services will, once they begin to take effect, generate more investment for launching other e-services in the future, thereby justifying early implementation. Furthermore prioritising e-Business services should in the long term translate into economic growth, which will in time allow for further investment in e-Services for citizens. Donor priorities can also play a part in government e-agendas, for instance through encouraging a bias towards the business sector.

Early targets for e-Services have also tended to be those associated with revenue collection and income generation for government. Examples include e-taxation systems for VAT collection, the barcode labelling system, customs and excise and submitting tax declarations. Additional taxation income is often generated through a reduction in black market activity and smuggling, and they also have the advantage of constraining opportunities for corrupt payments.

It can also be argued that public administrations and businesses are generally more likely to have better access to the internet, and that e-services for citizens should be developed only as wider public access to broadband internet rises.

Some e-Services focused on citizens are already delivering benefits to the public - at least to those who can access them - in terms of higher quality service, time and cost savings and greater

There is some validity to these arguments.



Yet they should not lead to downgrading the priority of e-services to citizens. Indeed, from the perspective of EU accession perhaps the opposite should be the case, given the renewed emphases on developing these services. Certainly arguments concerning the return on investment, including the number of likely early take-up users, must be taken into account. But similarly, for many e-government services public take-up can be rapidly boosted at low cost through ‘one-stop-shops’. And government to citizen e-services are at the centre of establishing the legitimacy of the entire information society project, including the good governance aspects of this, and are central to building trust with the government. They are also critical to delivering visible benefits to the final users.

the quality of life – social, cultural and economic – for citizens merit a higher priority than they currently enjoy, because of their potential to enhance the legitimacy of the broader information society effort, the positive effect on social cohesion, greater appreciation of good government, and because ultimately improvements in the overall quality of life, according to many, is becoming a key factor in attracting inward investment and encouraging locally enterprise. Whether significant rebalancing towards e-services for citizens is justified, however, can be verified only through a more comprehensive process of Information Society strategy development than has been evident in most countries up to now. An Information Society strategy would have to give careful consideration of the different types of benefits accruing with each type of e-service, as well also the costs, the time-scales involved in each, and the various complementarities that might operate between different type of e-services. At present, strategies tend to be weak on such analysis, and strong on aspirations comprising lengthy lists of relatively disconnected services.

Furthermore the EU, from the original Lisbon Agenda’s eEurope Action Plan 2005 and on to its successor i2010 Programme and the Current EU Digital Agenda, has consistently emphasised the vital role that such services play, and has been joined by applicant country on several occasions in emphasising an inclusive e-government as well as the benefits in terms of transparency and democratic engagement. The 1997 Ministerial Declaration strongly urged the signatory countries of the EU, EFTA and candidate EU countries:33

6.3 Tackling Implementation Issues

“To ensure that all citizens can benefit from ICT-enabled administrations, inclusive e-Government policies shall address how best to combine online services together with other channels, such as human intermediaries who have to be equipped with state-of-the-art ICT tools;

A number of concerns have arisen in relation to the implementation of these e-services programmes and projects, derived mainly from the factors outlined earlier that help or hinder the process. 1. First, many e-services are approached as primarily technical matters – ICTs as solutions in themselves – rather than as social interventions that are providing services to be used by people in complex institutional and domestic environments.

“The use of ICT tools as part of transparency and democratic engagement policies have been successful in many national, regional and local initiatives. Sharing these experiences and those of participation actions initiated by the European Parliament and launched by the Commission in 2006, shall contribute to gaining valuable experience.” (Underlining in original)

This can be seen in some e-education programmes, for instance, where progress is assessed by the number of PCs in schools, how many are connected to the internet, and how many teachers are trained. While these are important prerequisites of e-education, ultimately more important is the use to which the ICTs and skills are put. Few have made progress in terms of integrating ICTs into the wider educational system, utilising their potential to improve the quality of teaching and the extent of interactivity, and most are slow to extend beyond their use in an ICT curriculum.

In the end, there must be a trade-off struck between prioritising e-services that enhance government efficiency, those that improve the business environment, and those that improve the quality of life for citizens. The suggestion here is that e-services that, in an equitable manner, improve

Similarly in certain e-business services, such as online income tax payment services, success is claimed when the technical facility is available to do this. However, this is only

33 For two such joint declarations see: and



one stage, one among several prerequisites, for success which ultimately must be judged by the level of use and the benefits derived.

from many e-government projects is reaped at the time of the initial announcement (often during election periods) and at the launch. Fewer electoral benefits are attached to announcing that a programme launched several years earlier is actually benefiting people – especially if the government has changed during the intervening period. Despite the best of intentions, such factors can influence the extent of commitment to follow through.

The emphasis must thus shift from the technologies to the content, usage and impact. 2. This tendency to treat ICTs as solutions in themselves is possibly related to the general absence of prior consultation and research into which services are needed most and how they can address the real concerns of target groups. Most often, a suite of services is included in a broad Information Society Strategy, but the prioritisation can be based on ad hoc or local circumstances, for instance on where progress can be obtained or measured most readily or on the particular orientations of related national strategies.

6. A general absence of informed public discussion and understanding of the Information Society agenda and its implications is also evident. At a general level, many people are understandably concerned that the introduction of ICTs will lead to a loss of jobs, or to greater control and monitoring being exerted over their working lives. And indeed it might, in the short term, lead to the elimination of specific jobs. But in the medium term, other jobs can be created as new sectors expand. Opportunities to open up new markets in countries where the local market is limited or not the target of the product. For example, high-end hand-made products, organic mushrooms, and delicatessen products sell better in the US or in Western Europe than in the local markets. Critical to public debate is an understanding of the dynamics of losses and gains, and how even those sectors who may lose in the short term may gain in the medium term. Furthermore actions must be taken to clear blockages for the creation new jobs, for instance through legislation to support e-Commerce and the further extension of broadband access – public support for these may facilitate their more rapid implementation. Central also is the idea of life-long learning and the development of new capacities among staff to take advantage of openings.

3. A further related issue arises around monitoring and evaluation of benefits. Although the level of implementation of a project is usually monitored in quantitative terms (how many computers have been installed, how many users there are, etc.) few projects plan for longer term monitoring of the benefits and for impact on the target group. A ‘project’ mentality tends to prevail, implicitly or explicitly maintaining that the job is completed once the project plan has been successfully implemented. In fact, establishing and launching a service is best regarded as only the beginning of the process, in which monitoring of impact and constant improvement is central. 4. Sometimes linked to this is only cursory consideration of a follow-up strategy, including questions of maintenance and sustainability. This is exacerbated where the initial organisation or institution primarily responsible for implementing the project is not the same as that which will run it later (where instance where an Information Society Agency initially implements and a Ministry later takes it over). There have also been cases where the presence of consultants has been very prominent among the implementing team, usually donor funded, but their departure afterwards leaving a major capacity gap. Conversely there are cases where external consultants are brought in with little local knowledge, designing projects based on inapplicable experience that proves impossible for the local team to implement.

7. The implications of certain specific aspects of the Information Society are also barely discussed and little understood. A case in point here is the introduction of digital terrestrial television. It is not the technology that holds mysteries here; rather it is how the process will impact on the broadcast media landscape in general, negatively or positively, beyond vague promises of high definition television. There is no discussion at all of how it can be used to bring broadcasting into the Information Society. 8. Finally, there is a strong recommendation for further sharing of experience among the countries of South East Europe and between them and the rest of the EU or even wider. Information Society development is not meant to be developed in isolation. It is too big an issue to be constrained to any national development agenda. e-SEE Agenda+, with one of its core priorities focused on creating single information space aligned with EU

5. The absence of a follow up strategy can also in part be the result of the politicization of the idea of the Information Society. A problem is that the electoral gain for politicians



space, is an important step in this direction. It is based on the premise that each country should not reinvent for itself the map towards, and tools to use, to achieve the Information Society.


Certainly a few of countries lead the way in specific areas, and these are often sought out and are more than willing to share their ideas and technologies. Such sharing is central to the new Digital Agenda for Europe, the follow-on to the i2010 Agenda. The European Council in formulating the new agenda has invited Member States to: “Contribute to reducing disparities in information society developments across the EU, in particular by assisting each other buy exchanging good practice (p7)” 34


The same applies between the countries of South East Europe, and even more could be achieved within the region should greater resources be invested in this cooperation and interaction. The e-SEE Initiative represents the only intergovernmental platform and Community of Practice in which such sharing can take place, particularly at the level of strategic planning, and manifold benefits have accrued from this 35.

1. A significant barrier to effective implementation of e-government projects, behind several of the process related issues above, is resistance among government, politicians and senior staff to actually embracing and using the systems, linked to lack of awareness of the benefits more widely. Partly this may be because they are of an older generation; partly it may be natural resistance to change; perhaps most of all it is that they do not clearly see the benefits to them and to their efforts on behalf of the public. This has led to resistance to supporting e-Service development and in cases where they are designed and built, sometimes to their underutilisation. Thus, innovative ways are needed to bring home the benefits of ICTs to senior level politicians and public servants, both for themselves and for society more widely. 2. While ICTs can be a powerful tool to make public services more efficient and productive, the wider goal of e-governance can add a vital further dimension. e-Governance, as distinct from e-government, begins with the notion that ICTs can enhance governance as a whole, and the manner in which people structure and participate in the structures and processes of society. This includes enhancing transparency of decision making, but also creating opportunities for people to understand and explore policies and policy making, and to actively participate in them at different levels.


t t

The above features are not peculiar to South East Europe, and are likely to be found to varying degrees in most if not all countries of Europe. Some are more accentuated in the countries of South East Europe than elsewhere; but there is also huge variation among them. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement everywhere. 6.4 Exposing opportunities While the above relate especially to the process of building an Information Society, a number of substantive thematic areas have also emerged in relation to which the development of the Information Society can be reinforced. These can be seen as representing barriers, but also as opportunities, towards a deeper and more comprehensive approach to building the Information Society. Some key questions arising from these themes are:

How can government and senior public servants be informed and persuaded of the benefits of using ICTs in government and public processes? Can ICTs best be used as tools to improve governance, and to enhance participation in governance processes by the public? What kinds of consultation with target groups would ensure that e-services address real needs, with appropriate prioritisation? How can we ensure that gender equality issues are planned into ICT strategies and Action Plans? How can relatively small countries innovate in specialist areas such as universal service policies and digital terrestrial television?

An appropriate starting point in the current circumstances could be on public participation and civil society platforms regarding Information Society policies. There are currently few spaces, real or virtual, in which the general public, NGOs and interested people and entities (including those in the public sector) can engage in structured and informed

34 Paragraph (g) Council of the European Union. Council Conclusions on “Post i-2010 Strategy -towards an open, green and competitive knowledge society” 2987th transport, telecommunication and energy Council meeting Brussels, 18 December 2009 35 The e-SEE Initiative Secretariat is currently preparing the next issue of the publication covering good practice in the SEE region.



debate about the different aspects of ICTs and the Information Society. Yet ICTs are themselves ideal tools, combined with more traditional approaches, for creating such a space and enabling such a debate.


Such an approach might also lead to a rebalancing of Information Society strategies towards services aimed specifically at the needs of citizens, a process that as noted above could considerably benefits the overall Information Society endeavour.

t t

3. Effective e-services for people must be focused on their real needs. People’s own priorities for such services should be taken into account when identifying which services to develop, and when designing and implementing them. Various approaches to enabling direct participation of citizens and civil society organisations can be deployed, to assess need but also to enhance service delivery. Best practice elsewhere may be particularly useful here.

A major area is also relates to the gender equality orientation of ICT education at all levels, from primary schooling through secondary, in third level and continuing education 5. Broadcasting of television and radio is often somewhat neglected in the development of the Information Society, partly because it is associated with older technologies. Yet broadcasting (even more than newspapers) remains, and is likely to continue to be for some time, the key means of communication for mediating the shared social experience of being from a particular country and is central to building understanding among different groups in society, whether defined socio-economically, in terms of political participation, or even ethnically.

4. Gender equality issues are seldom, if ever, high on the Information Society agenda. Often they are considered only after the infrastructure issues have been addressed and services launched. Yet there is a strong case, based on experience elsewhere, for planning gender equality actions in from the earliest point in the planning of the society, to ensure that both sexes can fully take advantage of the benefits of ICTs and participate in the various components and activities that comprise the Information Society. For instance the limited research regarding women in ICT industry and generally in jobs using ICTs 36 all points to inadequate representation. What is required is a comprehensive examination of Information Society strategies and action plans, and the processes in place and envisaged for their implementation, from the gender equality perspective. Initially, thorough research is required on access and usage of ICTs on a gender equality basis, and the relative distribution of benefits. Research efforts can target specific areas: t t

Gender-sensitive budget analysis, which attempts to analyse budgets “from the perspective of their impact on women and men, boys and girls” 37 could be revealing if applied to ICTs, and “ensures accountability, transparency and sustainability as well as brings women into budgetary debates by building alliances with a variety of civil society organizations” 38.; A gender analysis of ICT infrastructure, including public access in telecentres and ‘one-stop-shops’ for e-Services, could reveal hidden barriers to certain categories of both men and women; The selection of public e-Services, and their design, can take into consideration gender equality issues, including the possibility of services specifically deigned to promote gender equality and eliminate discrimination in other areas.

The switch over to digital terrestrial broadcasting brings broadcasting into central stage of the Information Society, a process that will not only redefine broadcasting but also generate the ‘digital dividend that can free up the radio frequency resources for developments of others communications services. It is an opportunity to develop a more diverse media landscape, as well as to align policies and practices with EU Directives and frameworks. SEE countries are planning to introduce digital broadcasting of television, thereby freeing up valuable frequency for other services, by 2012 or 2015.

The availability of sex-disaggregated ICT related data can be a source of insights into where issues arise; Identifying and amending discriminatory laws and practices can be crucial to a clear picture of how apparently neutral policies and mechanisms can in practice perpetuate gender inequality, and indeed different classes and ethnic groups within societies;

Little is known about the effects of this on the structure of the broadcast media sector itself. In particular, the implications of the higher costs of broadcasting digitally and who 37 38

36 UNDP RBEC report Bridging Gender Digital Divide in Central and Eastern Europe.



will bear it, and changed ‘footprint’ in terms of who will be able to receive what number of channels, are difficult to assess. Will small television channels, commercial, municipality or community, survive the switch over? Will there be more concentration of media ownership in SEE? What is the likely effect on content? How will competition with cable and satellite play out for local content production? On the other side of the equation, how will the ‘digital dividend’ of frequency be used and who will benefit? Such questions are rarely raised in the public domain, and when they are, they tend to be contained within groups of specialised rather than opened out to the widest possible discussion.

7. The digitisation of cultural heritage is another area regarding which there is only limited understanding, and little debate. Digitisation of cultural heritage is far beyond digital cameras recording different types of heritage. Rather, digital cultural heritage brings together all existing of knowledge about cultural heritage artefacts – historical, physical, legal, ownership, records, research - into a single searchable multi media database. As such it is vital to understanding that heritage, to preserving and enriching it, and to gaining wider appreciation of it, for local populations but also for tourism, a growing conomic sector. The SEE region boasts a very rich and varied heritage, yet no single nation can consider its heritage in isolation. The history of peoples and cultures is interwoven over the ages. It is perhaps understandable that digitalisation of culture heritage tends to be relegated to a second or third level priority in Information Society plans, especially when finances are tight. Nevertheless when the broader implications across various sectors are considered, including its regional dimensions, a case can be made for giving raising its policy profile.

6. To some extent, the issue of universal access to ICTs is in the same position of largely being ignored at the level of the public. The SEE countries vary considerably in their telecommunications regimes, though there is convergence on the EU approach emphasising competition at all levels. Policy and actions to ensure universal service in the form of access to services for all the population and especially marginalised groups have thus also been varied, from being a responsibility of a single main carrier to creating a universal access fund and using it to extend access by competitive means. Yet widespread access to the internet is essential if e-Services are to be available to all, and not simply to the better off in central areas.

6.5 Prioritising the needs Not surprisingly in the current economic climate, the issue of a scarcity of funds for investing in Information Society projects is featured during our research. Allocating between different priorities is a matter for government to decide, and perhaps the benefits outlined in this publication can make the case in that respect. Our focus is on how investment, larger or smaller, can have a greater impact, and the needs that arise in that regard.

Universal service policy increasingly encompasses access to the internet, and indeed to broadband. The above cited Council proposal for the Digital Agenda for Europe invites the Commission to: “Report to the Council on its public consultation on Universal Service obligations, in particular on the question whether highspeed broadband access should be part of these objectives.” (paragraph 6(e))

With a special focus around the general area of e-services for citizens, and taking into consideration what areas can in practice be addressed, the needs identified during this research project can be summarised as follows:

There are also innovative opportunities to use universal service to empower communities and people, for instance by extending it to include training and capacity building and the creation of small locally owned operators. Projects initiated under the Universal Service Fund could be oriented towards Gender equality in order to alleviate gender digital divide. At present, and with a few exceptions, there is little evidence of innovative universal access policies being developed and implemented in the SEE countries.

1. Undoubtedly, limited human capacity comes out as the most important need, in part because is applies across so many areas. This should come as no surprise in that the Information Society is still a relatively new concept, in terms of the length of time it takes for society – including education systems and administrations - to fully adjust to new waves of development. Some areas are general, and some specific.



At the simplest level, expertise in ICT is relatively scarce, and public sector programmes must compete with a private sector capable of offering higher monetary rewards. Beyond this, capacity in information society strategy and policy design, and effective programme implementation, is an area of need in many countries, especially among smaller and less well off ones.

5. More sharing experiences between countries, and with outside best practice, and in some cases developing into collaborative actions, is an efficient way to avoid making mistakes of others and of building on previous successes. There is a strong desire to share among countries in the region, and excellent formal and informal communication and cooperation members states in the context of the e-SEE Initiative already exists. Yet a case could also be made to develop a more flexible and durable online platform for deepening this communication- and this will further be explored by e-Leadership Programme for the Western Balkans.

More manageable are capacity and expertise needs in very specific areas, a couple of which are singled out as currently relevant: the development and implement of universal service policies and of digital terrestrial television. Both have the potential to significantly influence e-services to the public, can benefits from innovative approaches, and can possibly learn from experience elsewhere.

6. Overall, a case can also be made for the need to raise the priority of e-governance services for citizens. This would require a more explicit and comprehensive analysis of the prioritisation of the various e-Services, for enhanced government processes, to support the business environment, and to bring benefits directly to citizens.

2. The need for better monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes, in terms of the actual benefits they deliver, including in gender equality and inclusion related issues, is evident in many areas and would bring significant benefits through more effective actions in the long term. It would also help to make the case for the Information Society. Ideally, gender equality is introduced from the moment of design and planning phase of ICT programmes, projects, strategies, policies, and action plans, ensuring gender equality related activities are linked to concrete project outputs, and that they have their budget lines allocated to ensure their implementation. However, if this not be the case it is important to proceed with the gender mainstreaming of current projects and initiatives.

6.6 Recommendations Clearly, the issue of e governance is much more than a technological initiative but is made of a complex set of relationships between the policy agenda, the stakeholder’s commitment, structured developmental processes and adequate infrastructural resources. Advancing the digital agenda therefore means balancing these complex relationships. A recent Ministerial Declaration on e-Government 39 signed by EU, EFTA and EU candidate countries commits their countries to making progress in specific areas that would lead to governments being more “open, flexible and collaborative in their delivery of public services�, and for such services to be empowering of people. Among the priorities up to 2015 declared by Ministers for their respective public administration are:

3. A better informed and involved public and civil society would inevitably improve the quality of policy and strategies for the Information Society. There is a need to develop modalities and mechanisms for greater participation of the public and NGOs, not just in policy (including in the risks and potential benefits) but in prioritising e-service development and in implementing programme and projects. 4. Gender equality issues are seldom taken into consideration at policy, planning and implementation levels. If they are ignored too long, the Information Society will inevitably reflect, or even deepen, the existing gender divides. In addition, inclusion of persons with disabilities, the poor and otherwise marginalised groups should be taken into consideration.


Services should become more user-centred and inclusive, bringing down barriers experienced by digitally or socially excluded groups (para 9)


Third parties, such as civil society organisations and individuals citizens should be invited to take part in the development of government services, to ensure that they address real needs (para 10)





Ways will be found to ensure greater stakeholders participation in all public policy processes, using ICTs as tools for civil society and citizens to engage with policy development processes.


Greater availability of public sector information, for reuse to enrich the services available.

A major research project for the European Commission entitled Breaking Barriers to e-Government, put the following at the top of its list of guidelines to overcoming barriers: “Support e-Government champions, at whatever level such leadership emerges. Political support from the top is good, but difficult to sustain or feed down to other tiers of government unless it is backed by highly motivated and creative officials at all other levels. The leadership drive shown by these officials can, in turn, be greatly enhanced by political support, say from a Government Minister.� 40

The e-SEE Agenda+ already commits governments in South East Europe to specific targets in these areas. This report demonstrates clearly the commendable progress that is being made. Within this context, our recommendations intend to deepen the benefits of the implementation of the Information Society for citizens, and facilitate convergence with the evolving EU approach to the Information Society. Recommendations are targeted at two groups. Most, the first ten below, specifically focus on what the government and public sector should be doing. Recommendations to other stakeholders, who often take the lead role in furthering the Information Society, are then offered.

Although e-Government has been adopted by governments in SEE and worldwide as part of reform initiatives, findings here suggest that an over-reliance on technology, insufficient collaboration in government, a lack of emphasis on building human capacity and inadequate public consultation limit the possible benefits of such initiatives. For this reason it is important to look away from technology towards strengthening human capacity as a critical agent driving the process of change.

The first recommendations concern the need for improving human capacities which is central to this stage of the development of the Information Society in SEE countries.

There is a strong recommendation to Governments to address the necessary shift of focus from technology-enabled improvements in government operations (Electronic Government) to improvements in interactions between government, citizens, businesses and civil society (Electronic Governance). This shift is also at the core of the e-SEE Initiative as the only intergovernmental regional ICT platform and Community of Practice in the SEE region. It is thus important for future success of the e-SEE Initiative and its ICT oriented reforms, not to let technical or organizational issues alone drive Electronic Governance initiatives. This calls for the adoption of a multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder and community-oriented approach to Information Society development.Actions to build capacity should be taken in the above process-related areas for relevant public service and Ministry staff, civil society and private sector actors. These might include short focused training courses, resources packs, study visits, technical assistance and others. Special attention should be devoted to those in a position to offer leadership in e-governance programmes, and gender equality and persons with disability issues should be included as a topic.

Recommendations for Goverments 1. Capacity Development 1. Further systematic efforts should be made to exchange experiences and skills, and implement joint projects in the area of e-Governance between SEE countries. 2. An online platform could be considered as a means to share experiences, identify skills needed, document good practices and implement collaborative programmes. The limited supply of skills and experience has been identified as the main current bottleneck for the effective identification of services, the implementation of projects and programmes and subsequent support. In this context, e-Leadership becomes critical and should be the number one priority for the advancement of the Information Society in e-SEE countries. The issue of e-Leadership has been identified as especially important.

40 See the following for all MODINIS reports; the report on overcoming barriers:



Therefore, systematic efforts should be made to exchange experiences and skills in the area of e-Governance between SEE countries. The exchange of best practice, of detailed benchmarking data 41 , the organisation of skills sharing activities, identifying and successfully applying for EU funding and projects, and where relevant the planning and implementation of joint projects can be highly efficient in this regard, reaping very significant rewards for minimal investment. Exchanges with more advanced (in Information Society terms) EU countries can also be organised in a regional manner, sharing the costs between several countries.

without Frontiers Directive, which creates the conditions for the free movement of television broadcasts within the EU; and on delivering the ‘Digital Dividend’ to citizens, associated with the switch to digital terrestrial transmission. Moreover, countries should focus on the establishment of a transparent, predictable and effective regulatory framework for public and private broadcasting, in line with European standards. 3. Developing Information Society services goes well beyond the deployment of ICTs. Change management capacity building for public administration staff must be included from the onset of e-service design. Strong attention should be paid to priority needs that respond to citizens’ demand, and to content and services that will be effectively used by the public.

An online platform could be considered as a means to share experiences, identify skills needed, document good practice and implement collaborative programmes in the issues above. 2. Policy, Regulation and Management

According to the Roadmap for e-Government in the Developing World, government reformers should “use e-government and ICT as elements of a larger government modernization program. Simply adding computers or modems will not improve government, nor will only automating the same old procedures and practices.” Furthermore:

1. Although necessary, e-governance strategies alone are not sufficient for effective implementation of priorities. Indeed, strategies should go beyond e-services per se, and need to be integrated with the country’s long-term development strategy and aligned with sectoral (health, education, industry, etc.) strategies and priorities. Strong consideration should be given to raising the priority and enhancing the profile of citizen-centric e-governance services, especially those that deliver tangible benefits to them, contribute to transparency and efficiency of public administration, and lessen the burden of bureaucracy. This will enhance legitimacy and support among the public for the Information Society and align national efforts with EU priorities.

“… e-government, as with all reforms, cannot be achieved simply by drafting a law or issuing an order from political leaders…. It requires re-engineering the government’s business processes, both within individual agencies and across government…. Leaders should think about how to harness technology to achieve objectives for reform. ICT is an instrument to enable and empower government reform.”42

2. Governments should support in substantive ways priority actions pertinent to the implementation of Chapter 10 of the EU Acquis on Information Society and Media, with a focus on electronic communications, information society services, and audio-visual services. On electronic communications, countries should eliminate obstacles that prevent the effective operation of internal markets for telecommunications services and networks. On audio-visual policy, the stress is on legislative alignment with the Television

Therefore careful planning and re-thinking of administrative processes need to come first. Building on this, more attention should be devoted to the content and usage aspects of Information Society projects and services. Though not at the expense of technology aspects – technologies must work before usage can take place at all – in fact other factors should be prominent in the mind of planners.

41 An early example from the European Union was the SIBIS Project, which gathered together detailed benchmarking, case studies and other data from EU countries, and made them available online. Much more sophisticated forms of networking and exchange can now easily be developed, at relatively low cost.

42 Roadmap for e-Government in the Developing World, Pacific Council on International Policy, April 2002, pdfs/e-gov.paper.f.pdf cited in Parks, Thomas A Few Misconceptions about eGovernment, The Asia Foundation. August 2005 page 8



As one observer put it:

Existing strategies programme and projects can also be gender mainstreamed even after launch. Gender sensitive e-education programme are critical to the development of an equitable Information Society in the longer term.

“Ironically, most of the obstacles to successful implementation of e-Government have nothing to do with technology. In fact the technical aspects of an e-Government project, while complex, are usually a known quantity… But when you look at the fundamental causes of failure in e-Government projects, the reasons are usually anything but the technology. In most cases projects fall short because of ‘human factors.’” 43

Similarly, ICT programmes have tremendous potential for enhancing choices for persons with disabilities. According to the overall EU Agenda and UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities 47 that came into force in May 2008, this is rights issue and not discretion. Article 9: “Right to access to ICT”, Article 21: “Right to access to Information “, and Article 30: “Access to TV channels” of the UN Convention refers directly to the Information Society and media. Developing the e-Accessibility agenda, which is dealing with the issue of fostering social inclusion through ICTs, should be tackled head on. A Universal Design principle and the use of assistive technologies should be promoted and supported throughout the whole process of building the Information Society, in which persons with disabilities and their organisations can participate fully and on equal terms with non-disabled people.

Here again capacity building for handling change within the administrative staff needs to be included from the onset of the design of e-services. At least an equal focus should be placed on assessing priority needs for services, and building capacity, content and services that will be effective for and demanded by users. 3. Social Inclusion: Participation and Marginalized Groups

2. Linked to the above, consideration should be given to enhance and expand consultation processes with the public, especially in the area of e-governance services. Mechanisms for stakeholder participation in policy development and the programme implementation should be developed and institutionalised. These could include public information and publicity activities, surveys, focus groups, and virtual internet platforms that allow citizens to exchange ideas, debate and express preferences over priority public services.

1. The development and implementation of Information Society policies and strategies should be ‘gender-proofed’. There are distinct and wide ranging benefits to ‘genderproofing’ the development and implementation of information society policies and strategies. Such an approach is encouraged and facilitated by a range of international organisations, such as World Bank, 44 UNDP 45 and communication-based NGOs. 46 There are several comprehensive and readily available methodologies that can be used to quickly achieve this goal. There exist several systematic methodologies to achieve this, including training and support activities, which could be implemented.

Research indicates that people must believe that they can potentially have an influence in policy before such consultation is effective; and that other factors – such as that women and men tend to respond better to different forms of consultation – must also be planned in. 48 Yet combined with clear political leadership, consultation mechanisms can considerably enhance the prospects for service delivery and take up as well as deliver firmed support for Information Society policies.

43 Parks, Thomas A Few Misconceptions about eGovernment, The Asia Foundation. August 2005 page 3 44 World Bank, 2004, Engendering information & communication technologies: challenges & opportunities for gender-equitable development, 45 See for instance: 46 See for instance Association for Progressive Communications resources:, and the Gender Evaluation Methodology GEM, for ICTs:

47 As of 11 June 2010, UN Convention on Persons with Disabilities was signed by 145 countries, 87 have ratified it, while the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has 89 signatories and 54 ratifications 48 See for instance the research reports in the MODINIS project above.



4. Technology and Applications

Therefore, benchmarking should be thought through from the onset of projects so as to measure progress or failure. The point, of course, is to learn from mistakes, and include these elements specifically at planning stages of Information Society strategies, and build them into programmes and projects.

Specialist areas identified as needing attention include: switchover to digital terrestrial broadcasting especially in terms of the economic, social and institutional aspects; innovations in the implementation of universal service policy; and the digitalisation of culture.

Recommendations for Private Sector Associations 5. Monitoring and Evaluation The private sector hasplayed a critical role in catalysing support for the information society and in generating services. Where possible they should reinforce their efforts in:

SEE countries are by no means unique in downgrading the assessment of impacts: “In 2005, €11.9 billion was spent by the EU25 on [e-government] services, with 60% of this investment being made at the level of regional government. Yet only five member states have sought to measure the impact of these investments.” 49


However, the follow-through of Information Society projects, in terms of evaluating effectiveness, ongoing maintenance and evolution of services, and learning lessons, is critical for long term success and sustainability.


Identifiable and measurable indicators to assess the success of e-governance projects should be formulated in terms of both intangible benefits, such as increased transparency, empowerment through access to information, and tangible improvements such as more efficient delivery of public services.


Measurable parameters should include rationale behind choices in hardware and software, over-reliance on outsourcing or cost of service deficiencies. Identifiable and measurable parameters to assess the success of e-governance projects need to be formulated in terms of intangible benefits such as increased transparency, sense of economic and social empowerment by access to information but also in tangible improvements such as better efficiency in delivery of public services.

Use existing regional and national platforms (ICT Forum, MASIT, BAIT, etc.) to develop partnerships among private sector and public entities to accelerate the deployment of high bandwidth telecommunications networks to ensure that all stakeholders (citizens, businesses, public sector) have access to Broadband and Next Generation Access networks, as one of the drivers of competitiveness of SEE region. Public Private Partnerships should be used to provide access to least developed and underserved areas, where there is insufficient commercial interest; Developing partnerships among private sector and public entities to develop e-Services and promote their use; Lobbying for the introduction of e-Services for business in areas that directly address their needs, and supporting the process; Promoting the use of e-Services among SMEs, thereby contributing to a critical mass; Advocate for corporate social responsibility initiatives and inclusive business models applying ICT to tackle exclusion and poverty, and “expanding economic opportunity”.

Recommendations forCivil Society and NGOs Civil Society and NGOs are critical to identifying needs as both intermediaries with the public, and as service suppliers in their own right. They should: I)

Engage with government and Ministries in defining needs, including advocating for the right to be involved in this;

49 Oxford Internet Institute, Workshop in October 2006: Breaking Barriers to eGovernment: Overcoming obstacles to improving European public services, part of the MODINIS project sponsored by the European Commission. (page 3) http://www.egovbarriers. org/?view=project_outputs





Undertake research, lobby and provide support for, as appropriate, greater transparency in government through the use of ICT tools, and in the development of Information Society related policies in the wider public interest, including gender aspects, the persons with disabilities, the marginalised groups and communities and universal access; Where relevant, service-type NGOs should seek to design and provide e-services especially among disadvantaged groups, in partnership with others; Strengthen developing countries’ voice in international negotiations on ICT issues Exploit the power of the Internet to facilitate the ability of citizens to gather information, mobilise community networks, generate awareness about policy problems and lobby in the public interest; Use modern technologies to foster reconciliation and regional dialogue in South Eastern Europe, and to foster consultation between citizens and government, between citizens and political parties and between groups of citizens, by which government and social representatives seek to understand people’s needs and in which citizens seek to contribute actively with their knowledge.

South Eastern Europe with the Western media content. Rather than counting the number of media outlets, the focus should be on looking into varied ownership, such as media run by local people and communities. It means also media that reaches the majority of society, including poor and rural people, featuring content of local interest and in local languages, and in which many different voices and perspectives can be heard print or broadcast. Media should have a ‘watchdog’ role in society, but they also influence general attitudes and can greatly educate and inform (or misinform) public opinion. Also, the mass media is so much a part of our lives, that it is easy to forget it forms a fundamental part of the Information Society. In relation to the Information Society the media should: I)

Recommendations for Academia and Research Centres Academia and Research Centres supply society with both the necessary skills and the capacity to objectively analyse social developments. They should:



Analyse whether the current academic curricula are appropriate to future needs, and take measures to ensure they are; Undertake research on the overall social, economic and cultural impact of the Information Society, in an objective manner and apart from policy exigencies, as appropriate in cooperation with civil society, private sector and government; Pay particular attention to areas often neglected in the move towards the Information Society, such as impact on marginalised groups and niche areas identified above.

In the traditional media in South Eastern Europe, there is very little reporting on in-depth, analytical and thought-provoking pieces on the impact of ICTs on development, and their long-term consequences and potential. Such media the media should therefore contribute to enabling an informed and critical public debate on the Information Society by going beyond press releases, and building journalistic expertise capable of critical analysis and commentary particularly in the long-term impact on society. Media should raise general awareness about the importance of the Information Society across all sectors, and in relation to EU accession, with feature articles and ongoing reporting; Radio, television and newspapers journalists in South Eastern Europe should make a bigger effort to educate those on ‘the other’ side of the digital divide about how ICT can be used to improve standards and quality of living.

Recommendations for International Organisations International Organisations can capitalise on the groundwork they already supported for the Information Society by:

Recommendations for Media


Reviewing their priorities in the light of the current situation of the Information Society, and its significance in the wider European context;

Despite the new freedoms following the dissolution of socialist regime and the larger number of media houses, locally-produced coverage of news, public affairs and debate is actually decreasing thus putting under the question mark the real media pluralism in SEE region. In parallel, ICTs flood





IV) V)




A Final Comment

Consider support in other areas close to their remit, and where some reluctance is often present among governments, such as enhancing governance (an area in which considerable support has already been forthcoming); but also e-service development for persons with disabilities and other marginalised groups, and innovative actions in areas like universal service and improving the capacity of digital broadcasting to address the public interest; Further invest resources and capitalise on the e-SEE initiative mechanisms for the South Eastern Europe region, thus supporting the existing and not building parallel national and regional programmes in the area of Information Society. Discourage the development of new multilateral institutions or fora on ICTs.; Consider taking a regional approach to the Information Society, including supporting regional actions and SEE 2SEE exchange; Initiate multilateral agreement on clear roles and responsibilities for the various multilateral global initiatives and organisations addressing ICT issues (eg. DOT Force, Global Knowledge Partnership, infoDev, The Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility, the Global Development Gateway, ITU, UNDP, the UN ICT Task Force other UN agencies, Development Banks, DFID) - to minimise further duplication of efforts; Promote common research agendas and the sharing of project results by International Community on ICTs; Improve and focus the response of the international community in the area of ICT: ICTs should not be seen as an end in itself. The measure of success should be progress towards reaching the International Development Targets, rather than just the spread of technology or merely bridging the digital divide; Properly deployed, ICTs have enormous potential as tools to increase information flows and empower poor people, people with disabilities, and marginalized groups. International Community has responsibility to focus their attention on ensuring that ICT needs of these groups are met, as well as contributing towards creation of information rich societies as an essential part of efforts to tackle exclusion and poverty; Participants from South Eastern Europe are, for different reasons and mostly due to the lack of funding, frequently underrepresented at the important global Information Society fora- causing on one hand an exclusion of SEE voice in the global debate and the process of production of knowledge, and on the other hand the lack of input on global trends for SEE region. International Community should secure funding to this end and promote participation of SEE representatives at the important Information Society Global and regional fora.

The primary focus of this publication on e-governance further underlines the context of the wider Information Society development agenda, including e-services to enhance government efficiency and the business environment as well as developments in the area of infrastructure and access, laid down in the e-SEE Agenda+. The interaction between a given country’s development agenda with its objectives, policies and programmes on the one hand and the exigencies of a world-wide impetus towards an Information Society on the other create a complex mesh of sometimes competing issues that need to be reconciled. At the heart of this complexity lies the human dimension which if acknowledged and tackled readily can accelerate the advancement of the digital agenda. It is expected that our recommendations should feed into the next stage of the e-Leadership programme and assist SEE countries on their path to EU accession. This publication also presents progress on the e-SEE Agenda+ implementation and identifies good practice in the region, especially in relation to e-governance. Blockages and needs for further development are identified in each country. Innovative practices in the area of gender and ICT are highlighted. Finally, a proposal for the first draft of e-SEE Agenda+ revised deadlines is presented as an annex. Experience has shown that e-leadership sees a gradual move from 1) individual champions to 2) embedding within new or redefined institutions and then 3) general diffusion among all stakeholders. The key to creating a positive forward-moving dynamic rests in the fashion by which this leadership interacts with all other development factors. This research shows that by moving along the eSEE Agenda +, SEE countries are making the first e-leadership leap. This type of leadership necessitates new knowledge and skills as it rests on expertise and not authority. It is expected that the regional dynamic created by the eSEE initiative will allow SEE countries to jump to the next stage and reap the fruits of the digital era.



Conclusions The primary focus of this publication on e-governance further underlines the context of the wider Information Society development agenda, including e-services to enhance government efficiency and the business environment as well as developments in the area of infrastructure and access, laid down in the e-SEE Agenda+. The interaction between a given country’s development agenda with its objectives, policies and programmes on the one hand and the exigencies of a world-wide impetus towards an Information Society on the other create a complex mesh of sometimes competing issues that need to be reconciled. At the heart of this complexity lies the human dimension which if acknowledged and tackled readily can accelerate the advancement of the digital agenda.


It is expected that our recommendations should feed into the next stage of the e-Leadership programme and assist SEE countries on their path to EU accession. This publication also presents progress on the e-SEE Agenda+ implementation and identifies good practice in the region, especially in relation to e-governance. Blockages and needs for further development are identified in each country. Innovative practices in the area of gender and ICT are highlighted. Finally, a proposal for the first draft of e-SEE Agenda+ revised deadlines is presented as an annex. Experience has shown that e-leadership sees a gradual move from 1) individual champions to 2) embedding within new or redefined institutions and then 3) general diffusion among all stakeholders. The key to creating a positive forward-moving dynamic rests in the fashion by which this leadership interacts with all other development factors. This research shows that by moving along the e-SEE Agenda +, SEE countries are making the first e-leadership leap. This type of leadership necessitates new knowledge and skills as it rests on expertise- and not on authority. It is expected that the regional dynamic created by the e-SEE initiative will allow SEE countries to jump to the next stage and reap the fruits of the digital era.



ANNEX 1: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND ACTIVITIES The e-Leadership Programme for the Western Balkans is a regional e-governance initiative designed by UNDP and funded by the Government of Italy to support the South Eastern Europe region in the implementation of the e-SEE Agenda+ (2007-2012), the current regional action plan for Information Society development. The programmatic priorities of the e-Leadership Programme are therefore fully aligned with the targets of e-SEE Agenda+. The e-Leadership Programme is implemented by the Sarajevo-based UNDP funded e-SEE Initiative Secretariat, capitalising on their existing knowledge, networks and resources. e-Leadership and e-SEE Secretariat are positioned within the Democratic Governance Cluster. The UNDP Country Office in Sarajevo is working closely with the fellow UNDP Country Offices in the region, while UNDP in New York is providing expert and top level political support. The Government appointed members of REGATA, act as Government Focal points for their respective countries. Research presented in this report is an outcome of two complementary factors. The first is the unique epistemological position of the e-SEE Secretariat as the regional knowledge resource centre. Drawing on its eight years of institutional memory, knowledge, resources and networks, this has proven hugely valuable to this research. The second is the analysis and synthesis of the findings of the missions to programme beneficiaries from 11 October to 3 November 2009 50, conducted with several purposes in mind. The methodology included both structured face-to-face interviews and group discussions. Interviewees were selected with the support of the e-Leadership Programme government counterparts (REGATA). They were advised in advance by REGATA regarding this publication, its goals, and their contribution, thus encouraging an atmosphere of confidence and trust. Following an open call for proposals, the research team was constituted, comprising a Senior Assessment Consultant and an Assessment Consultant who joined the e-SEE Secretariat/e-Leadership project team in UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina.

50 In addition to interviews arranged on 4 November, the interviews for Bosnia and Herzegovina were organised on 8-10 December when project team convened for meetings



The research comprised, in summary: t t t t t t t

Secondly, the mission comprised a ‘situation-scan’ and an updated status of Information Society development, tracking the record of implementation of e-SEE Agenda+ with a primary focus on e-Governance solutions and services in line with Annexes 1 and 2 of the e-SEE Agenda+. This was both timely and necessary due to the decision of the e-SEE working group and RCC 51 to revise the e-SEE Agenda+ deadlines in preparation for the next ministerial conference.

Development of the research plan and methodology A 25 day mission to seven countries of South East Europe Review of extensive documentation gathered Country Report drafting Verification of results by the REGATA network Creation of Analysis, Recommendations and Conclusions Final Review, editing and formatting.

Thirdly, the missions were organised with a view to collecting best practice ICT projects in SEE, both documenting such projects and providing a mechanism for the exchange of these good practices, lessons learnt and expertise in the SEE region. On-site visits to acclaimed best practice ICT projects in the beneficiary countries, seeing these projects and solutions at work; learning first hand about processes of implementation, the advantages, flows, lessons learnt, and their practical implementation; as well as the opportunity to interact with both staff and beneficiaries all offered invaluable insights and contributed to a more impartial picture of these projects.

The team convened on October 7th in Sarajevo to develop the research plan and methodology. Interviews were structured and guided by a set of pre-designed questions developed in advance. Questions were chosen in such a way as to obtain as much information as possible in 60 the 90 minute format chosen.

Through an examination of government sectors with a specific emphasis on determining the benefits already achieved through the use of ICT, the assessment illustrates the process of automation and level of involvement of different institutions.

The e-SEE Secretariat/e-Leadership project team and the Senior Assessment Consultant conducted a 25 day mission, beginning on 11th of October. The countries visited (in order of research meetings) were Serbia, Montenegro, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Albania, Moldova, UNMIK/Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the following schedule. t t t t t t t

During the missions, a total of 160 key persons from 75 institutions in 7 countries were interviewed over a span of 25 days, and the findings are recorded in this publication. Of 160 interviewees, 110 were male and 50 were female. It is worth noting that of 50 female participants, 40 had an expertexecutive role while 10 had a support role (interpreting, power point presentation handling, etc.).

Albania: 22–23 October Bosnia and Herzegovina: 4 November, 8-10 December Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: 19-20 October Montenegro: 14-16 October Moldova: 26-27 October Serbia: 12-13 October UNMIK/Kosovo: 29-30 October

Individual face-to-face structured interviews were held with each institution in order to maximise the opportunities for subjects to freely voice their obstacles, challenges and concerns, as well as training needs. Interviews and focus groups were set up with the following groups of key players in the Information Society arena in SEE region:

The primary goal of the mission was to identify the gaps, challenges and obstacles facing the countries with a view to ensuring that the current needs of the beneficiaries are taken on board and addressed through the e-Leadership Programme. The research served as a primary input when designing the e-Leadership capacity building activities, including training supplemented by digital self-learning online courses and targeted educational publications. This ensures that ownership of the programme rests with the Western Balkans, which is the shared goal of UNDP and RCC who are jointly providing support to the e-SEE Initiative.

51 Conclusions of e-SEE Initiative Podgorica meeting, e-SEE Secretariat, June 2009



a.) b.)

c.) d.)

Line Ministries for Information Society development in each participating country directly responsible for implementation of e-SEE Agenda+; Other Ministries/State Institutions indirectly involved in implementation of the e-SEE Agenda+ arising from the interdisciplinary nature of the Agenda and ICT being a crosscutting issue: Ministries of Education, Economy, Culture, Public Administration Reform, Interior Affairs, Gender Equality, Foreign Affairs, Labour and Social Affairs, Cadastre, Regulators, Customs and Taxation Directorates, etc.; Civil Society, Associations of ICT companies, Academic Research Networks, and Research Institutes; International Organisations (UNDP COs, USAID) active in the ICT area.

To complete a wider regional picture and to cover all members of e-SEE Initiative, further research was undertaken on two additional countries, Croatia and Romania, (which were not eligible for funding under the e-Leadership Programme), comprising desk research, documentary and Web analysis and telephone interviews with key respondents. During the month of November the primary and secondary material gathered was analysed by the Team and first draft assessments on each country prepared. The full team reconvened from the 2nd to the 10th of December 2009, to analyse the results and structure the drafts. Additional follow-up with representatives was organised when necessary to provide further detail via email or telephone interviews. Relevant literature was reviewed in English, Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, , Macedonian, Romanian, Russian and Serbian languages.

The REGATA network members had organised a series of meetings with key stakeholders in each country, and supported the visits. The interview approach on many occasions extracted deeper and more honest answers than initially expected. Furthermore, it provided space for elaboration and examples, discovering new relationships, and modifying issues covered as on the work preceded. Detailed information was collected on what worked, what causes problems or produced benefits, thus gaining a comprehensive grasp of the situation.

Draft National assessments were prepared, and circulated to the REGATA network members for comment and verification, after which this Final publication was edited and finalised. While it cannot claim to be exhaustive of all activities relevant to ICTs, this publication provides an authentic picture of the Information Society Development in the region.

Face-to-face interviews also provided an important platform for consolidating relationships with target groups, contributing to an important goal of the e-SEE Secretariat: to further extend its network, establish new contacts, and to consolidate existing relations with the line ministries as direct project beneficiaries. Thus, additional brain-storming sessions with the line Ministries in charge for Information Society were arranged in the format of groups discussions. The bias implicit in all self-reporting approaches has been taken in consideration, along with the fact that the interviewer must accept the word of sources regarding the accuracy of information provided. Although much of what the interviewer learned is based on the perceptions and knowledge of the people being interviewed, rather than objective and behavioural data, the associated risk was minimised by several measures. The knowledge, networks and institutional memory of e-SEE Secretariat, combined with the extensive experience of the consultant secured answers to nearly all questions, and ensured critical analysis of the data generated.






ANNEX 2: COUNTRY ASSESSMENTS REPUBLIC OF ALBANIA Having achieved transition to democracy at the end of the 20th century, the Republic of Albania (hereafter named Albania) has been a potential candidate for accession to the European Union since January 2003, and formally applied for EU membership on 28 April 2009. Albania joined NATO in 2009. 1. Progress with the Information Society BASIC STRUCTURES A major development in Albania was the establishment at the end of 2007 of the National Agency for the Information Society (NAIS), currently the direct responsibility of the Minister for State for Reforms and Communications with Parliament with the support of UNDP. A Council of Ministers’ (CoM) decision during 2009 means that all government ICT projects are coordinated by NAIS, thus avoiding duplication and easing the development of the interoperability framework (for which a study is currently underway and funding being sought from the pre-accession IPA 52 funds). Between 2007 and 2009 several legal reforms have taken place in relation to developing electronic services. Legislation on Electronic Signatures was approved in February 2008 and the relevant rules adopted in July 2009; followed by amendments to the Criminal Code regarding Cybercrime in December 2008; and a law facilitating e-commerce was passed in May 2009. It is expected that a Law on e-documents will be approved by the Council of Ministers soon and sent to Parliament. Gender issues are supervised by the Department of the Policy of Equal Opportunities under the leadership of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

52 Instrument for Pre-Accession




Other measures are also intended to reduce bureaucracy for business. For instance all new laws are subjected to a Regulatory Impact Analysis, to eliminate any unintended bureaucratic impact on business; and a Website has been developed to bring together all legislation and regulation relating to business.

E-Government has seen few developments although a Document Management System for government is actively under consideration. The Albanian e-procurement 53 system is functioning on line and in full conformity with EU requirements for electronic procurement and Albania’s Public Procurement Law (2006). Downloading tender notices or bidding documents is readily available. After registering as an “economic operator”, a once-off procedure, and obtaining a user ID and password, a business may then submit tenders. To avoid the possibility of procurement failure due to incomplete bids, the system contains safeguards to alert bidders if they have not uploaded all required documents. The tender evaluation commission in the contracting authority meets after the bid closing time, and commission members log into the system individually using their passwords. Only when all members have logged in can bids be opened. In use by most of Albania’s central government contracting authorities, the e-procurement system was designed for use by municipalities and communes as well. 54

Although there is little on the ground as yet, developing e-commerce is a particular focus of the Agency for Business and Investment (under the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Energy). E-commerce is a central part of their Business and Investment Promotion Strategy, being implemented in close association with the Chamber of Commerce. A few elements are in place: t

t The development of e-business services overall is somewhat patchy, but notable progress has been made in a couple of areas.

Legislation was passed in January 2009 obliging contracting public authorities to use electronic procurement. They must now publish all procurement notices and tender dossiers on the website of the Public Procurement Agency; and indeed the information is available only online forcing those seeking contracts to use ICTs. There are still exceptions, where legal or administrative factors require a paper copy. Under the Ministry of Finance and also funded mainly by MCC 56, the first phase of online e-taxation system is in place since August 2008. Filing tax returns became possible first in January 2008 and now about 30% of tax payers use it. The service is expanding from Tirana as the 15 regional offices (down from 37) are connected and by the end of 2009 the facility is expected to be available nationwide. Tax payment is not yet possible online, however, though it is planned for the second phase.

Among these is the business licensing service launched in June 2009.55 Facilitated by a legal reform of the licensing process in February 2009, the National Licensing Centre (NLC) in Tirana opened for business the following June. The Centres are under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Energy. The service is not fully online, as applying for a license requires a visit to the Centre or must be submitted by post using a downloadable form. However, apart from that, the system acts as a single point of contact for all Ministries involved in issuing business licenses arranging for instance for site visits or other actions from relevant Ministries. Uniquely, licenses are granted automatically if the official response is not forthcoming within a set period, which can be as low as two working days (see further on.). It was funded under USAID’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

The ambitious second phase is already underway, supported by the MCC with a further US$15 million, and includes the introduction of online Cash Registers, with their use monitored using GPRS technology. All VAT Registered businesses will be required to purchase them by the end of 2010. By the end of 2010, all cash based businesses, including even taxis, markets stalls and others, will be required to use them. Five companies have been licensed to offer the registers, to ensure price competition, but businesses will have to purchase them from their own resources.

53 Instrument for Pre-Accession 54 Support to Albania’s Millennium Challenge Account Threshold Agreement Final Report USAID Sept 2008 55

56 The project was part of the first phase of a $13.5 million partnership between the government of Albania, the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and USAID. The project, administered by USAID and funded by MCC, was designed to improve Albania’s score on MCC indicators in the area of corruption and thereby qualify for greater Millennium Challenge Account funding.



In terms of e-education, the ambitious e-schools project launched in December 2005, the Master Plan developed with support from UNDP 58, is proceeding along two tracks supported by a loan from the World Bank:

The Customs Office began introducing ICTs into its processes as early as 2001 and, with funding of about €1 million from the EU as well as significant government support, is now fully electronic using a Single Window system for all customs declarations and interactions. It covers the full spectrum of their activities, integrating almost all their services based on UNCTAD’s ASYCUDA system. (See further on)


SERVICES FOR PEOPLE Currently, e-services for the public are mainly at stage two i.e. forms and documents may be downloaded, with just a few services fully available online. The creation of an e-government Portal is a key priority for NAIS The national portal is under development 57.


All primary and secondary schools, about 1,400 in total, now have an internet connection and a computer lab - although for many small rural ones this might mean one to three computers. An ICT curriculum is in place and ICT teachers trained; and about 2,000 laptops have also been provided to teachers. The internet is free for one year to schools, provided as a mixture of ADSL, fixed 2.5G, and satellite. Consideration is being given now to delivering subjects other than ICTs in the labs, as well as to monitoring the impact. The second strand comprises an Education Information Management System. This links the regional educational directors, to whom all schools supply a wide range of data on schools, teachers and pupils. The data is centralised with the Ministry of Education, and made available back to the regional and school level. It is expected to be running in 100% of schools in 2013 59.

A start has been made with several underlying elements. A Citizen Data Registry project began in 2007, with the aim of digitising a range of records covering 32 fields. With technical assistance from the EU and OSCE, and hardware from the Norwegian Statistical Office, about 20,000 volumes have been entered manually by their 500 staff - each given a PC and internet connection - cleaned using a double entry system, and checked. By September 2008, validated documents could be printed for citizens at about 355 Civil Status Offices around the country; and the database has other uses such as updating the voters’ registry. The entire database is managed by the Ministry of the Interior in Tirana, and all new data taken in is now entered directly into the system.

A Strategy for ICT in Education is being prepared, between the Ministry, the Institute for Curriculum Development and the Institute for Student Achievement (responsible for examinations and monitoring) to consolidate developments and move it forward.

A National Electronic ID Card was also introduced in January 2009, containing data from the Registry. Issued upon production of a passport at the issuing office, applicants can check and if necessary correct the accuracy of the data as the card is produced. At some point in the future use of the Card will become obligatory for everyone over 16 years of age, and indeed will be the only method to access some services. Albanian embassies abroad will also be able to issue ID cards, to facilitate up to 800,000 diaspora Albanian citizens. The ID Cards contain two microchips, the second of which could be used as an electronic passport and a secure e-signature. Health Insurance information will be included in the future, and ultimately it is envisaged that the Card could be used, in conjunction with a reader and PIN number, for a range of e-services. Nevertheless, such developments are some way down the road.

While drafting the National ICT Strategy (2003), the Government of Albania launched the participatory ICT strategy process at a national conference. Following the conference, several expert working groups were established, with the participation of a few well-known women from the IT sector. Even though the national ICT strategy development group made an attempt to incorporate gender, the final version of Albanian ICT strategy refers to women only once, in reference to universal access.60 A new strategy on information society was approved by the CoM in January 2009. This document again outlines that offering services should be all inclusive, non discriminatory, transparent and provide equal access for all with again no specific mention of gender. While IT staff in public administration shows good parity, it is 48.57% female and 51.4% male, there needs to built capacity within the IT world for awareness raising and better advocacy.

Other areas, such as cultural digitalisation and research and academics networks are at a low stage of development in Albania.

58 Support to the Ministry of Education and Science for the Implementation of e-Schools Programme. April 2006. 59 Albania National Education Strategy 2004-2015 60 See for more information on engendering ICT policies





2. Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development

The Regulatory Authority for Postal and Electronic Communications, the independent regulator, greatly simplified the licensing system and moved towards a simpler authorisation scheme with the 2008 Law on Electronic Communications. In principle, with a few exceptions for technical reasons (such as spectrum allocation), it is now based on a notification system. Technology neutrality is also legislated for, to remove any barriers relating to the type of technology deployed. Their Action Plan is working in a number of areas including unbundling the local loop, broadband wireless access (where a consultation paper is under preparation), and an analysis of broadband generally.

As a model of transparency and efficiency – if not yet of a fully online service – the system of licensing business in Albania is exemplary. The National Licensing Centre is based in newly renovated offices in Tirana. With application forms and instructions available online, applicants supply requirements in person or by post and the application is first checked. There are of three kinds of license, each with a different deadline for completion: First are relatively simple licenses that can be administered entirely within the NLC itself. These must be issued within two days. Licenses where some additional checking is required of the NLC must be granted or refused within four days. The third type is forwarded by the NLC to Ministries for further processing that might involve physical inspections or other time consuming tasks. Their deadline is from nine days up to, in onerous cases, 60 days.

An ˝Electronic Communications policy˝ is being drafted by the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Telecommunication. The National Council for Radio Television (NCRT) finalised a draft strategy in November 2008 for the analogue to digital switchover, and undertook some consultation at government and institutional level. A draft Broadcasting Law was finalised in 2009. But the European Commission notes that the Action Plan for media reform “needs to be stepped up” and that progress is needed to ensure sustainable funding for the public services broadcaster. 61

Some notable features set this apart. Progress of all applications can be tracked online through the public portal. 65 Perhaps more important, it operates on a principle of ‘silent consent’: if the applicant hears nothing within the designated period, the license is automatically issued – it requires no actioning from the Centre itself or the applicant.

A feature of the Albanian digitalisation landscape is the fact that there is already digital television offered by DIGITALB 62 since 2004 with four fixed and one mobile network covering most of the country with an estimated high number of subscribers. DIGITALB is a digital programme provider, digital broadcasting transmitter and runs the commercial operation of the broadcasting. In addition, DIGITALB also transmits mobile television on an unauthorised frequency. There are also two other programmers that offer experimental digital broadcasting in the Tirana region, “Super Sport” produced by “Klan TV” and “Tring” produced by Vizion +.

Of 589 license applications between June and late October 2009, a total of 384 were approved – 11 on the principle of ‘silent consent’ – 108 rejected, and the remainder are in process. The benefits are unambiguous:

In broadcasting the cut-off date by which analogue broadcasting should be fully replaced by digital in Albania has been set at 31 December 2012 63, 64. 61 Brussels, 14.10.2009 SEC (2009) 1337 Commission Staff Working Document Albania 2009 Progress Report Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2009-2010 {COM(2009) 533} p41. See 62 63 Analysis of the draft Albanian Strategy for Digital Switchover OSCE - 2009 64 Note that EU digital move relates only to terrestrial broadcasting, not to cable or mobile digital.


Speedier issuing of licenses: previously it took 40 to 45 days to obtain a license to do business in Albania; now the vast majority are issued within 2 to 4 days and efforts are continuing to reduce the time of the remainder;


Applicant Time Saving: Previously, applicants were often required to go to several offices; now the applications is fully completed in one;





Reduced bureaucracy, duplication and the potential for corruption: Personal contact is now limited to inputting data into the system, with no discretionary flexibility;


The cost to the client is much lower: applications cost 100 leks (less than a euro).

There are currently about 2,000 users, mainly brokers and import and export dealers, and larger companies. But 10,000 and more companies are involved through brokers and intermediaries. Their goal is to have the most advanced system in the region. The substantial set of Ministry of Finance Projects is also focused on generating tangible and rapid benefits. The e-taxation service is designed to simplify tax returns for everyone; to reduce contact between tax payers and the administration – thereby crucially reducing the potential for corruption; reduce the costs of tax administration including at the regional offices; and to increase the transparency of the service. Although savings and impacts are yet to be fully quantified, the Ministry is satisfied that these benefits are emerging.

The second phase will deepen access into other institutions and Ministries, reducing the time further and introducing new functionality. The introduction of ICTs into the Customs Services occurred, as noted, over a much longer period, customs generally being an early target for ICTs everywhere. But the system has been developed to an international standard in Albania. It began as stand-alone systems for each Customs office, but in 2008 the process of putting them online began and it was completed in April 2009 with the migration to a new single database. All customs declarations are online at this point, with direct electronic payments of taxes and charges. They have now completed a TIR Carnet 66 online system, and are adding an E-Manifest System beginning with the private company DHL, then moving to containers, airport cargo, border and inland (‘indent’) operations. Plans are also in place to use an electronic signature, for greater security.

The Civil Registry Database also generates immediate benefits for users. Instead of having to visit several offices, and wait often long periods, authenticated copies of most civil certificates, such a birth, marriage and death certificates, are available instantly at of 350 centres around the country.

Again the benefits are clear:

3. Hindering and Helping Factors to Information Society Development


Customs clearance time is greatly reduced, with significant benefits for manufacturers, transporters and importers;


There is greater transparency, and the scope for human interaction and hence corruption is greatly reduced;


The Customs database is more complete, accurate and up to date, for planning purposes;


The system significantly reduced the effort demanded of the client, for the Finance Ministry and government, and for the statistical office INSTAT.

The electronic public procurement system has improved access to information and reduced procedural costs, and has reduced the scope for corruption.67

The human capacity to deal with complex aspects of the information society is an acknowledged area of need. The independent regulator, for instance, would benefit from both market regulation and technical regulation capacity building. One of the problems here is that both law and the technologies are ever changing with technological convergence and new legal and regulatory demands. The Ministry of the Interior noted the need also for advanced skills in the use of proprietary IBM software, pointing to the very high cost of support and training from IBM itself. Reducing dependence on high cost commercial services, while developing affordable training capacities nationally, is an important challenge. Media policy and the switchover from analogue to digital, are also areas where capacity could be built.

67 Brussels, 14.10.2009 SEC(2009) 1337 Commission Staff Working Document Albania 2009 Progress Report Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2009-2010 {COM(2009) 533} Page 30.

66 The TIR Carnet is a Customs transit document used for covering duties and taxes during the international transport of goods.



The Ministry of Education is also not alone in experiencing a lack of qualified people, capable of working with ICTs as a reasonably high level, both in attracting new people and in training existing staff. ICT skills are much in demand in the private sector. The National Agency for the Information Society also recognises this issue, and notes that the government is developing a strategy to deal with it, for instance through special salaries and bonuses. Such schemes, however, are difficult to implement in practice for a number of reasons.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA Bosnia and Herzegovina is a potential candidate for membership in the European Union and NATO. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the EU was signed in June 2008 68. The Interim Agreement, which focuses on the trade-related areas of the SAA, has been in force since July 2008. An international presence under UN auspices — the Office of the High Representative, OHR— has been in place in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995. Its possible closure is being considered by the international community, but a decision depends on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s progress in meeting specific objectives and conditions, which have been determined by the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board. The EU has started preparations to strengthen its engagement in the country upon the closure of the OHR.

Funding is a major problem for many areas in Albania, especially in what is sometimes seen as a second tier of services such as in cultural digitisation, academic and research networking needs. But the need for replacement of equipment is now also being felt in areas that introduced ICTs some time ago. The Customs is a case in point, as the servers and computers badly need upgrading, some up to eight years old.

1. Progress with the Information Society

Raising awareness among businesses on the benefits of using the internet is seen as a major challenge by the government in developing and disseminating the use of e-services. As the e-service available, benefits can accrue and the investment be justified only where the level of usage is high, which in turn needs both knowledge and some skills in ICTs. This is linked to encouraging businesses, especially SMEs, to connect to and use the internet.

BASIC STRUCTURES The application of the Dayton/Paris Peace Agreement (1995) ending the Bosnian war has contributed to the complexity of the governing system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). At present there are two levels of political and administrative competence in BiH: 1) the State, 2) the Federation of BiH (FBiH) (including the ten cantons of the Federation of BiH) and the Republic of Srpska (RS) plus the autonomous region of Brčko. The complexity of the fragmented, multi-layered political and administrative organisation, with many different national and local institutions and bodies, poses many difficulties in establishing unified state-level cooperation.

Localisation of content and of software is also an issue, especially given that the Albanian language is unique. In the educational area, producing educational modules for use not simply in ICT curriculum but for adapting other subjects to the use of ICTs is seen as critical and something of a bottleneck.

As a result of this complex institutional makeup, Bosnia and Herzegovina does not have a state level agency or any related structure dedicated solely to ICT. Legislation to establish a state-level Information Agency in charge of implementing the Information Society Strategy throughout the country has not yet been adopted. Approval requires agreement at the State Council of Ministers (CoM). As a result the State does not have a body, nor what would be attached to it - a budget dedicated solely for ICT development. Leaving it to the entities leads to disintegration, duplication of work, loss of resources, and poses huge interoperability challenges. At the entity level, the RS has an Agency for Information Society 69.

Interoperability of e-service is also seen as a major challenge, and developing the infrastructure to enable it. A project financed by UNDP on Preparation of Feasibility Study on Interoperability Framework for the Government of Albania is ongoing. A National Data Centre would be seen in this context as beneficial and is being planned. Conclusions The positive steps taken by Albania towards e-government have already yielded fruit in term of transparency and diminished corruption. This will certainly help promote general awareness on the benefits of ICTs in the public opinion. Investments in education will take more time to deliver benefits but one can only expect the public interest in the Information Society to built momentum.

68 The European Commission (EC) allocated to the country a total of € 89.1 million under the 2009 Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) programme. The main areas of assistance are: public administration, constitutional reform, rule of law, civil society, culture, SME development, labour market and acquis approximation. The 2009 Programme also aims to alleviate the impact of the financial and economic crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 69



UNDP BiH is one of initiators and a key player in the development of an Information Society in BiH. In 2002 it called for an ICT Forum Project in which over 100 BiH experts took part in and in 12 different round-tables prepared the set of recommendations and suggestions for the government in the domain of ICT and development. UNDP also led the creation of first ever e-Readiness Assessment Report (see later). In the course of implementation of the ICT Forum, over 1000 citizens participated in public and expert debates and provided inputs for final version for ICT Forum findings and Publications. In cooperation with Stability Pact for SEE, UNDP BiH led the process of preparation and Ministerial signing of the e-SEE Agenda (2002-2007), as the strategic framework for ICT development for countries in SEE, and with this also the commitment to host the e-SEE Secretariat as the regional knowledge repository and the support centre for the SEE countries in implementation of e-SEE Agenda. Following the ICT Forum recommendations as well as the Government commitments taken by signing e-SEE Agenda, UNDP coordinated the work of national experts to create the blueprint for development of Information Society in BiH, and in 2004 the CoM of BiH adopted the ˝Policy, Strategy and Action Plan for Information Society Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina˝ covering the period 2004-2010 70. The document covers five development pillars: e-Legislation, e-Education, e-Governance, ICT Infrastructure and ICT industry. It organised major IS Development Conferences in BiH in 2003 and 2005. In order to create necessary legal framework for the government e-operation as well as development of ICT the e-Legislation Reform Project aimed at developing and adopting the BiH laws on e-Signature and e-Business. In cooperation with the RBEC office UNDP BiH prepared and published the SEE ICT Sector Status Report that provided the first ever comparative overview of the ICT sector, strategies and policies in SEE. In 2004, UNDP successfully advocated to align the ICT section of the PAR Action Plan with UNDP activities and BiH IS Development Strategy. Under its e-Legislation project, UNDP drafted the Law on the Agency for Information Society, as an institutional mechanism for the implementation of the ICT strategy. In cooperation with the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe and the emerging Regional Cooperation Council – RCC, UNDP prepared e-SEE Agenda+, a new framework for ICT development for countries in SEE based on EU i2010 agenda that was signed by 9 Ministers of the SEE region on 29 October 2007, at Regional Ministerial Conference hosted in Sarajevo by UNDP under the auspices of Ministry of Communications and Transport and in cooperation with the Stability Pact and European Commission. Since 2007, UNDP provided support to the e-Goverment Project in BiH, the regional e-Leadership for the Western Balkans Project and to the establishment of the regional Centre for e-Government Development for SEE (CeGD) –UNDP BiH being one of the stakeholders in the Centre.

At this moment, the responsibility for development of e-government services lies at the state level with the State Ministry of Communications and Transport and at the entity level with the FBiH Ministry for Transport and Communication and the Ministry of Science and Technology of RS. Management of the information networks of the State Border Administration, Customs and Police are under the responsibility of the State Ministry for Internal Security. The main agenda of the State Ministry of Communications and Transport is the rebuilding of transport structures, and it has limited resources for ICTs. At the state level, it is worth pointing out the adoption of the State level Law creating an Agency for Identification Documents, Registers and Data Exchange of Bosnia and Herzegovina (IDDEEA, Agency for Identification Documents and data exchange 71) has entered into force on 22 July 2008. This agency replaces the Directorate for Implementation of the Citizen Identification Protection System (CIPS) Project which was established by the CoM in 2002. At the State level IDDEEA maintains central registries of identification documents (passports, IDs, citizenship), vehicles register, elections voting lists, fines and infringements. It is responsible for the digital signing of identification documents, i.e. for electronic certificates and electronic signatures related to identification documents. It is worth noting that this e-signature is valid only for a limited number of institutions concerned with the process of establishment of such documents. Indeed in BiH, although the legal framework on e-signature has been adopted in 2006 it is not yet implemented. The draft law on e-documents is still to be adopted. The RS has only recently adopted a law on e-business (May 2009) and electronic signature (Nov. 2008). The government of the entity of Republic of Srpska published an entity strategy for e-government for 2009-201272, which identifies the needs for interoperability between agencies in RS. However, the strategy does not include interoperability or potential linkages to FBiH or state level institutions. The CoM adopted in 2006 the Gender Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina of the Gender Equality Agency of the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina (GEA of the MoHRR BIH), and the Gender Action Plan has a chapter with a set of measures for reachin targets to increase gender equality through ICT. In Chapter 15, the document bears reference to e-SEE Initiative plans and states that the next ICT Policy, Strategy and Action Plan of BIH has to be gender mainstreamed, in line with the existing international and national standards, legislation and recommendations. 71 72

70 Policy for IS strategy in BiH




Citizen Service Centres (CSC) 81 and Urban Permit Centres (UPC) which operate as one stop shops established in almost every municipality of larger towns (40) offer simplified and faster services for citizens. Each civil servant now has access to a document tracking system that shows the exact status of every request filed so citizens do not have to always seek out the person who originally took their request.

For the CoM, the establishment and successful functioning of a system for the registry, management, and reporting of grant assistance made available to the public sector in BiH was implemented by UNDP through the e-Government project for the CoM in BiH. The first step of this project concerned the re-engineering of public administration business processes, communication and IT infrastructure, interoperability, security, computerisation of basic registers, digitalisation of joint and specialised functions of the administration, other electronic services as well as Internet portals and public access points. The second phase concerned the analysis of business processes and information, creating a Document and Knowledge Management System (DKMS )conceptual design and strategy of implementation, Creating a DKMS detailed technical specification and tender documentation, creating detailed technical specifications for a Web portal upgrade, assessing and analysing of the Group Decision Support System (GDSS) structure and the conceptual GDSS design as well as implementation strategy – as part of the DKMS design; upgrading the existing network infrastructure and communication services; connecting additional locations, institutions and users to the existing e-Government platform.

The Swedish government funded a project in which Municipal registry offices were furnished with IT equipment (software, hardware, computers and smart card readers) for an automated exchange of digitally signed data throughout BiH for issuance of biometric travel documents. Trainings for the Registry office employees dealing with entering of data and their exchange are included in the project 82. In October 2009, the RS released a single portal for all RS administrations 83. This portal, still in test phase, is mainly informative about services provided by institutions at the entity or municipal level. However, the portal does not use the .ba national domain denomination. In the RS, nineteen basic courts are operating a land registry office, with 28 municipal courts in the FBiH and one land registry office in the Basic Court of the Brčko District. The full digitization of all registries is projected to be finished in 1st quarter 2010. The court of Sarajevo had already completed the digitization by the end of 2008. Communication between the cadastre offices and the land registries is poor. The Land Registration Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice has established a Working Group for developing a methodology and technical specifications for the “systematic mapping and registration” component of the World Bank funded Land Registration Project (20062011) 84. This component aims to proceed to a systematic updating of cadastre maps and records, and to the corresponding updating of land registry records. The final goal is to achieve fully identical and current descriptions of real estate in both registers. In preparing the methodology, the Working Group has been confronted with the necessity of modifying specific legal provisions related to the registration of built objects which do not comply with the requirements of the existing public law.

E-government services are not yet fully developed and most are not offered to a fully interactive level. With a few notable exceptions, forms to fill in are only downloadable and cannot be filled in on-line. Most sites provide information in the three constitutional languages. The introduction of electronic document management has followed closely the adoption of ISO standards in many local governments in the FBiH, as one of the key innovations for ensuring better service delivery. Several entity level Ministries, Cantonal institutions and municipalities have developed e-services, or have made progress in that direction. Declarations and information on income taxes73, State employment74, Social Security benefits75, Building permits76, National Library on-line catalog and search tools77, Enrolment in Higher education78, Request and delivery of birth, marriage, death and citizenship certificates79, Health related services (interactive advice on the availability of services in the different hospitals, obtaining an appointment)80. 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 for the FBiH Federal Employment Institute Federal Ministry for labour and Social action Canton Sarajevo National Library Cantonal level University of Sarajevo Municipality of Sarajevo Centre Federal Institute for Public Health

81 82 83 84


GAP Project funded by USAID and SIDA in the FBiH Source: IDDEEA =73230&theSitePK=40941&menuPK= 228424&Projectid=P096200


Similar services in the RS are provided for registration of businesses, while electronic filing on tax returns for businesses is available in the FBiH 85. Information on Social contributions 86 and customs 87 are available on line. Businesses can also fill in their corporate tax 88 online.

SERVICES FOR PEOPLE Students from 6th grade on follow an ICT curriculum. E-education curricula are being developed by each of the 10 cantons of the FBiH, and in RS. About 90% of schools have a computer lab with internet access available to pupils with an average of 20 pupils per computer. However, only 10% of schools have broadband access. Commercially, many private firms offer advanced Microsoft, Cisco, etc. courses but certificates are not regulated for private businesses.

At State level, the ICT environment for the introduction of VAT in 2006 was a success for the Indirect Taxation Authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ITA) 89. Adjustments to the customs information systems were introduced at the same time. The information system automatically verifies the accuracy of files and while all approved files are uploaded to central database, the files which are not approved are automatically shown on the generated reports. Therefore this report can be used as a source for corrections. The system provides user-defined reports automatically detecting the cases with inconsistency in the user’s bookkeeping.

The Academic and Research Network (BIHARNET), to date the only institution of higher education, science and culture organized on the state level, has survived for more than a decade through foreign funding. However, due to the lack of political will to collaborate between universities of BiH, the network has become redundant.

At the same time the network of the ITA which integrates the customs subsystem, the VAT subsystem other revenues subsystem, and the Central bank information system to provide a single access point for government information, is one of the best examples of state level advances in e-government.

Other areas are proceeding slowly, such as the digitisation of cultural heritage. This is in its initial phase due to a lack of well-defined cultural policy and insubstantial financial means. Localized databases are created all around the country with no coordination. The Department of Computer Science of the University of Bristol and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of Sarajevo have created a joint project (UNESCO sponsored) to develop a system capable of 3-D computer reconstruction and interactive high fidelity visualization of Bosnian heritage sites. Such a system would enable archaeologists and historians to collaborate on hypotheses concerning site utilization, structure, contents and development of the area. Furthermore, a database of these high fidelity 3-D models could show to potential donors the quantity of cultural heritage existing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The FBiH’s Public procurement agency through the WisPPa network 90 allows online submissions by contracting authorities. In RS the NGO EXIT, IT Business support centre 91 (funded by the EU) provides an interface for tenders while also offering information to ICT businesses. It is part of the RS’s e-government project. The NGO also received funding for an e-readiness study for RS entity aiming to gather information and analyse data as well as to gather the experiences suggestions and opinions from different target groups, and to identify strengths and weaknesses of public administration in relation to end users. To date this study is not yet published but a PR campaign aimed at promoting ICTs and their benefits has been launched in RS.

85 86 87 88 89 90 91

Regarding electronic communications and information technologies, the state level regulatory framework on Electronic Communications needs further reform. The telecommunications sector policy (2008-2012) was approved in December 2008, with a one-year delay. The new policy provides for the future transition to an authorisation framework and the amendment of Reference Interconnection Offers (RIOs) to enable market entry of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) by the end of 2010. Since the sector policy determines the priorities and specific regulatory objectives, important regulatory decisions - such as on 3G licences, number portability and local loop unbundling - were delayed until its adoption, even if the Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA) had already adopted rules in 2008. Federal Institute Source:



Finally, The Strategy for the Transition to Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) which was recently developed is the framework for the introduction of DTT in Bosnia and Herzegovina, also providing guidelines for the work of competent institutions in this field, including the duties to inform stakeholders in the communications sector, as well as to familiarise citizens with the digitalization process. In early January 2009, a draft version of the Strategy was formally opened for public consultation. The closing date for the submission of comments, recommendations and suggestions was set for 14 February 2009. Following public consultations the document is to be submitted to the CoM of Bosnia and Herzegovina for adoption. No switchover date has yet been published. Installations are not yet in place although the strategy envisages the test signals to start in 2010. By 2011 analogue signals crossing borders are to be switched off. The complete switchover to DTT in Europe is supposed to take place no later than the year 2012. By then BiH will need to switch off all analogue signals.

In January 2007, a cross-border dark fibre cable was connected to the University of Banja Luka. The initiative is part of SEEREN2 in partnership with the National Research and Education Networks of Greece (GRNET) and Serbia (AMRES). The fibres are leased from Telekom Srbija and Telekom Srpska, whilst the communication equipments have been provided by Meriton Networks. 2. Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development The UNDP e-Readiness Assessment project in 2002 was a pilot project that showcased for the first time the current utilization of ICT in the country. The second edition of the e-Readiness report was issued in 2005 while the report to be launched in 2010 will be focused on assessing structure, penetration level and status of ICT usage in BiH. However, to facilitate and ensure the implementation of the Information Society strategy, it is imperative to continuously measure and report on its progress by introducing a comprehensive benchmarking system. In order to measure such progress and resulting changes regarding IS implementation, an adequate value index must be created and continuously followed. This type of reporting can be also used for targeted development and advocacy of ICT policies, which will have a direct influence on the use of innovative ICT products and services within society. The importance of putting into place a system that measures the information society development in pre-ascension countries was further emphasized by the conclusions by e2010 IS Framework of EU, whereby it was strongly recommended to pursue a close monitoring of ICT indicators for pre-EU accession countries. Currently, there is no such reporting system in BiH other then the UNDP’s e-Readiness Assessment Report - which serves as an integral part of the overall ICT initiative organised and conducted by UNDP.

UNDERLYING INFRASTRUCTURE The EC 92 has funded a closed state network the Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) network in 2005 for the use of the project CIPS, which is since 2009 managed by the newly created agency IDDEEA who use the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). The EU 93 also funded the telecommunication systems used by the police and security authorities and owned by the Ministry of Internal Security, TETRA 94 which covers only Sarajevo and part of Eastern Sarajevo and VoIP which uses SDH. Extension of TETRA to all regions is pending to a decision of the CoM. TETRA is a system of digital radio communication network which carries voice and data. VoIP phone system is a shared system of telephone connections between the police authorities, courts and prosecutors in BiH, which contributes to the reduction of telephone charges users. However, security authorities in RS have raised security issues about the use of the SDH system as it is not managed by their umbrella ministry and have applied for funds to build a new network for the use of the police. Parts of the unused SDH capacities were supposed to be used also for the e-Government project spearheaded by UNDP for the presidency, the CoM and the ministries. However, the separation of ownership and management has stopped the advancement of the project. The decision lies at the moment with the Prime Minister.

The entire territory of BiH is networked using leased lines provided by three BiH telecommunications providers. The structure of the WAN matches the organisational structure of the ITA, meaning that all inland customs offices and border crossing points are linked with their competent regional centres, and all regional centres are linked with the ITA Headquarters. Future plans foresee networking of all locations in BiH, but it will also depend on the readiness of state telecommunications providers. The national policy and strategy for Broadband development in the wider Telecommunication strategy for BiH (2008-2010), is planned for 2010. With an internet penetration of 20% in 2008 with an estimate of 30% in 2009, BiH has a 6% level of penetration of broadband services (as a proportion of the population).

92 First under the CARD 2005 then under IPA Funds for BiH 93 CARD 2004 94 Terrestrial Trunk Radio is an open digital trunked radio standard for professional mobile radio users



The information system of the ITA is used by 3,500 users at 80 locations throughout BiH on a daily basis. It enables the average daily input of 2,100 customs declarations representing transfer of goods with the value of BAM 4.3 million. Over 40,000 VAT returns are processed on a monthly basis.

The above is reflected in infrastructure, legislation and application. As a result resources are not pulled together and interoperability of system country wide is not realised. Hence, the creation of a National Agency for Information Society is part of the e-SEE Agenda that BiH has signed and should be set up as soon as possible to support initiatives in this area. All stakeholders in the field agree that this a major hurdle that needs to be addressed.

An evaluation of civil servants’ training levels in BiH showed that the vast majority of local government employees use computers in their work, the most common applications being MS Office word processing. It is worth noting that while 100% of junior employees use computers only 76.9% of the more senior age groups do 95.

On the road to Digital broadcasting one major hurdle is the current politically charged atmosphere challenging CRA’s independence. The CRA and the CoM have been in dispute for more than two years regarding the appointment of a new director general of the CRA 99. The nomination of CRA Council members, which was due to be finalised in April 2009, also remains unresolved. Since the start of the debate on the procedure for appointing the CRA’s director general, and in the absence of a sector policy, the adoption of several decisions on broadcasting and telecommunications prepared by the CRA has been delayed by the executive. Moreover, the Public Broadcasting Services have not shown any interest in the switchover which means that the tenders for digital broadcasters have not been issued.

With the development of Citizens Certificates Centres (CSCs) in municipalities, birth, death, and citizen’s certificates are now issued within two minutes of making a request, compared to approximately 30 minutes in municipalities where such centres do not exist. For example for in the municipality of Ilidža in the suburb of Sarajevo, which issues approximately 30,000 certificates annually, the ICT upgrade means that 180 working days are saved for citizens and the local government administration 96. Another positive impact of CSCs is that, as they are usually situated outside the main office floors and have high visibility, they increase transparency and reduce opportunities for corruption 97.

A lack of a law on intellectual property represents a barrier for the development of software and thus business development. Also, the implementation aspect of the law on e-signature needs to come to light in order to speed up the process of developing e-services. UNDP has been assisting authorities to draft the law but the different step till the adoption and implementation rest with these authorities.

3. Hindering and Helping Factors to Information Society Development Overall, Bosnia and Herzegovina has made little progress on making the State-level government structures more functional and efficient. In SEE, BiH was one of the early starters having put the Information Society high on its agenda. The e-SEE interministerial conference in 2007 with more than 500 participants from the region was hosted by the MCT under the UNDP umbrella in cooperation with Stability Pact and the EC. During this conference the e-SEE Agenda+ was signed. Currently, the lack of coordination, political instability and lack of resources continue to delay reform. Fragmented policy-making between the State and the Entities remains the main obstacle to efficient work by the State government. The frequent duplication of competencies leads to increased administrative costs 98.

95 96 97 98

The delays in the implementation aspects of the law on electronic commerce are hindering development of e-businesses. One such business -, an online booking site for tourism - could not find a single bank in BiH to provide them with on-line payment services. They were ultimately able to go around this hurdle when they obtained a USAID grant. An American payment company was finally able to provide the service but on condition that USAID would be the guarantor.

LSG UNDP report p 6 Source: GAP project news ibid Enlargement evaluation EC - BiH 2009

99 Some points unclear in the law are now being used as political arguments in this dispute. See comments of OSCE in BiH Head of Mission




The recent report on Local Self-Government training needs assessment 100 notes: ˝The highest ranking cross-cutting issue highlighted by the survey is information technology, attesting to the local authorities’ awareness of the need to modernise service delivery and administrative operations. The section on information technology highlights the need to modernise local government administration through electronic document management and further capacity building in the use of the MS Office package. E-mail and Internet use are also identified as priorities in this area.˝

The Republic of Croatia (henceforth Croatia) is a candidate country for European Union membership since 2004 and a member of NATO. In its recent communication to the European Parliament and Council 102 the European Commission stated that ˝If Croatia meets all outstanding benchmarks in time, the accession negotiations, including on any transitional arrangements, could be concluded next year [2010].˝ 1. Progress with the Information Society

The overall basic computer literacy rate of local governments’ employees in FBiH is approximately 91%. While this indicates that most use computers in their daily work, it has to be noted that such use is largely limited to basic word processing. Some 8% of managerial civil servants are not using computers in their work at all. There is a clear correlation between age and computer use in administration, with younger staff almost all using computers in their daily work and the rate declining as age rises.

BASIC STRUCTURES Croatia was an early champion and leader of ICT development, indeed Croatia was the first regionbased chair of the e-SEE initiative, taking over from Sweden in 2001. Croatia is again assuming chairmanship since February 2008. The Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia (established in 2003), reporting to the Prime Minister, is responsible for the coordination of development of public administration information systems through a single network, and the standardisation and adoption of technical rules for the use of IT equipment in the state administration. The Office is in charge of promoting and improving public access to internet services, and the coordination of the development of e-government, e-education, e-health and e-business. It is also involved in the drafting, monitoring and implementation of laws and other regulations in the area of ICTs. Within this office, the Department for International Cooperation is specifically responsible for Croatian participation in i2010 initiative and Community Programs in the area of information society (IDABC/ISA, CIP ICT PSP et al.).

The assessment of the training needs of the local administrations shows that the highest priority training should be for information technology: 1) MS Office (basic and advanced, including e-mail and Internet use), 2) electronic document management, and 3) developing and maintaining a municipal website 101. 4. Conclusions BiH was an early bloomer in the road to Information Society and played a central role in the shaping of the e-SEE agenda. It is now essential for BiH to implement its policies and develop the corresponding legal and policy instruments, aligning with EU standards. The development of small and mediumsized enterprises in this field as well as generally will inevitably pick up once the instruments for e-business are in place. The further development of broadband infrastructure must be achieved. While the current lack of political consensus behind issues related to ICT needs to change if BiH is not to lag behind in the region’s development, the international community a main partner in the development of BiH should show the way and put its full weight behind unifying actions instead of playing along the lines of division.

First precondition to development of the information society is a favourable regulatory framework and Croatia has to date adopted legislation which is fully harmonised with the EU framework. In 2002 Croatian government adopted a national ICT strategy “Information and Communication Technology – Croatia in the 21st Century”. The strategy was based on wide consultation process involving all the stakeholders. 102 Communication from The Commission to the European Parliament and the Council; Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2009-2010, 14.10.2009, available at

100 Report Prepared by the UNDP Municipal Training System Project, July 2009, p.6 101 Report Prepared by the UNDP Municipal Training System Project, July 2009, p. 61



In 2002 the Government adopted decision on creation of the Information–Communication Network for State Administration (HITRONet) and assigned it to the Financial Agency (FINA). It presents a basic system of compute-based communication network for State Administration interlinked into a unique communication infrastructure. Today HITRONet connects 460 locations of state and public administration, and it is available in all county offices. Additionally, HITRONet hosts e-Justice services, e Administration services, Personal Identification Number (PIN), State Treasury service etc.

In 2006 “National Programme for the Digitisation of Archival, Library and Museum Holdings” was adopted. The Croatian Cultural Heritage portal ( was established in 2007 as a central access point for collecting and presenting digital collections of Croatian cultural heritage. In 2007 “Strategy for the Development of Electronic Business in the Republic of Croatia for the Period 2007 – 2010” was adopted. It aims at removing the remaining legal and institutional obstacles to more rapid implementation of e-Business in Croatia, establishing a favourable environment for e-Business and initiating projects of national e-Business infrastructure.

In 2004 Programme e-Croatia 2007 was adopted. Building on the implementation of the ICT Strategy, this programme further aligned activities of the Croatian government with the EU eEurope Initiative, focusing on e Government, e Justice, e Health, e Learning and e Business. Within the framework of the e Croatia Programme several sectoral programmes and strategies were adopted.

To help businesses in the transition from paperwork to electronic business transactions, the Government has launched in 2007 an e-Corner campaign in all HITRO.HR offices in FINA branches. E-Corner is a free education spot intending to give insight into the possibilities and advantages of using an e-card and the services attached to it.

In 2004 “One Stop Shop ( Strategy” was adopted. It aimed to provide common architectural and interoperability guidelines for information systems of central administration and establish a network of offices where citizens and business can obtain information and services of public administration in one place. By the end of 2007 total of 61 HITRO.HR offices opened within FINA’s (State Financial Agency) branch offices. In order to speed up the process of registration HITRO. HR launched service for on-line registration of a limited liability company (e-Company service). The e-Company is implemented in collaboration of the Ministry of Justice, Central State office of e-Croatia, Commercial courts, Croatian Chamber of Public Notaries and Financial agency.

In 2007, the Croatian Government initiated My Government portal 103 with the aim to build and maintain the system which will provide complete, reliable and applicable information and services to citizens, entrepreneurs and other users of public government services by using all appropriate manners of communication. My Government portal is an Internet system for communication between citizens and companies with the government. In 2008 Strategy for Digital TV Switchover in the Republic of Croatia was adopted. By the end of 2010 Croatia intends to finalize digital TV switchover. Digital broadcasting will enable better service quality, access to wider variety of content and new interactive services.

In 2005 “National Programme on Information Security in the Republic of Croatia” was adopted. In 2006 Croatian Government adopted the “Open Source Policy”. Standard ISO/IEC 263000:2006 Information technology -- Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 was adopted as Croatian national standard HRN ISO/IEC 26300:2008.

Since January 1st 2009, the Personal Identification Number, an 11 digit number, is compulsory and will be used by all registries in Croatia. This number will gradually replace ID numbers for all companies and individuals. At the time of its introduction, the PIN was functional for the system linking the Ministry of Justice, the Central State Administration Office, the Ministry of Interior and the Central Bureau of Statistics.

In 2006 “Broadband Development Strategy in the Republic of Croatia until the year 2008” was adopted. The Croatian Government passed the Strategy aiming to accelerate and encourage further development of broadband Internet access as one of basic foundations for establishing the society of knowledge and for joining Croatia with other Europe’s developed countries.

In January 2009 the Government of the Republic of Croatia adopted the Strategy for development of electronic administration in the Republic of Croatia covering the period from 2009 to 2012. 103 Most visited topics were: Overview of laws and regulations, the state administration, divorce, import vehicles, how to use the portal, stocks and shares.



The purpose of this Strategy is to create framework and standards for all ICT solutions in public administration to enable electronic forms of operation and to make public services more available to users.

As a conclusion, the research mentions that Croatia is catching up after a relatively late start of developing e-Administration and recognizes a significant progress and increased availability of user-oriented e-Services.


In 2009, the Customs Administration implemented projects related to the establishment of inter-operability and inter-connectivity with the European Union systems and Member States within the area of EU as part of the customs union. For the most part, these projects have been financed by European Union pre-accession funds (PHARE programmes 2005 and 2006). The projects are “Interoperability of IT systems with EU Customs Systems” (PHARE 2005) and “Integration of the Croatian Customs IT System with EU Customs IT System” (PHARE 2006). The implementation of PHARE 2005 projects started in September 2007 and ended in July 2009. The systems of information interconnectivity (TARIC, NCTS, EMCS) which are necessary in order to exchange data between the European Commission and EU Member States immediately after accession into EU have been developed within this project. The implementation of PHARE 2006 projects started in December 2008, ending in August 2010. The objective of this project is to further develop the customs systems of information interconnectivity with the EU system including the development of IT applications software (ITMS, EMCS phase 3, NCTS economic module, and Export control system (ECS)), three twinning projects to support the Tax Administration in managing software development projects and agreement on setting up CCN/CSI systems through procurement of equipment and provision of technical support.

In many respects e-services is Croatia are the most advanced in the region. Having created strong environmental conditions for e-developments (legislative, policy, regulation), strong development of ICT infrastructure and services, creating the climate for decreasing the digital divide, fostering the e-government developments, developing open and competitive economy, Croatia is decreasing the gap on the way to e-Europe. e-Government According to the European Commission study on the availability of public services over the internet entitled „e-Government Benchmark Survey 2009 Smarter, Faster, Better e-Government, 8th Benchmark Measurement“ 104, Croatia is ranked 30th as to availability or 31st as to the complexity of e-services out of the total of 31 countries encompassed by the research. This was the first time Croatia was involved in a European Commission research in e-Government, which has been assessed as the growing commitment of the Republic of Croatia to implement the European e-Government Agenda. The research has shown that the e services intended for businesses are more developed in Croatia than those intended for citizens in terms of availability and degree of development. In terms of full online availability, Croatia obtains 35%. Business services are by far more mature: they obtain a score of 63% on full online availability as compared to the citizen services’ score of 17% for this metric. In terms of online sophistication, Croatia marks 56%. This score can be split into an online sophistication score of 44% for citizen services and 74% for business services, with again a marked gap between the quality of supply for businesses and citizens. The research also emphasizes that ‘Moja Uprava’ (My Administration) portal, according to the indicators monitoring the level of user-oriented portal, have reached 100% as opposed to 71,5% of the EU27 average which puts Croatia among the 15 best countries encompassed by the research. Furthermore, the same source underlines the results of ‘One stop shop’ approach where the country attained 80%, as opposed to 81,6% of the EU27 average. It is the Moja Uprava portal that links the State administrative body data and represents a unique approach to e-Administration services in Croatia.

e-Education In terms of e-education the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports has been also developing and maintaining fundamental infrastructure for the application of new technologies used in the Croatian education system through the Croatian Academic and Research Network - CARNet 105 - which connects larger Croatian cities, Schools, faculties and institutes linked to the Pan European research network GEANT. All those within higher education and science system have access to broadband and all schools are connected to the Internet and equipped with computer rooms, with planned ongoing investments into the CARnet network.





In 2007 106 the e-Islands project enabled distance learning at local schools in poorly inhabited islands 107 by connecting them to main schools in the areas of Dubrovnik, Šibenik, Zadar, and Trogir was launched. Some 21 island schools have been connected via video-conference system and receive educational materials. This project is part of the eInclusion aspect of the National Broadband strategy and uses the CARNet network. It allows the dwindling child population on islands to receive lectures from teachers using video and multimedia equipment, including smart-boards (touchsensitive whiteboards for displaying computer output) on the mainland and thus avoid being sent out to boarding schools.

Also, the World Bank funded a project to help children from disadvantaged household or behavioural problems to acquire the ECDL certification thus enhancing their employability. Text books printed in Braille and stored in digital form have been produced with the support of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in order to enable visually impaired persons to prepare for the ECDL. e-Justice The Croatian Ministry of Justice implements a comprehensive programme, through a series of projects, to achieve more efficient work of the justice system e-Justice services. The management of court cases (e-File) is being implemented across different Municipal courts, with plans for expansion to 60 other municipal, county and commercial courts. Apart from e-File, a number of other projects have been covered within the e-Justice project: e-Cadastre (database with over 16 million digitised land plots), digital land registries with access to databases of approximately 50 courts; implementation of the Real Property Registration and Cadastre Project; court practice of the Supreme court - enhancing transparency of the court’s work and increasing their efficiency; courts’ e-Bulletin board of municipal, county, and commercial courts of the Republic of Croatia; court register, covering activities such as simple registration of companies; Ministry of Justice e-Portal, providing judges with access to legal databases and register; and Judges Web - an online service for access to legal information.109

The National information system 108 of applications for university faculties was launched in November 2009. Depending on their success at state high school leaving exams, students will be able to electronically apply and gain admittance to selected university studies. The detailed results of state exams, as well as detailed calculation of credits for each university study and on their place on ranking lists will be made available. Thanks to networking of databases of the Central State Office for Administration and e-Register, which contain all the data on achievements of students during their entire secondary school education, students no longer need to submit papers such as certificates of nationality, birth certificates and secondary-school degrees. In a country where admission to university studies was subject to corruption, the system will increase transparency of the admission process.

The online Commercial Court Registry contains information on all registered corporate entities. The Registry contains information on the name of the company, its headquarters, business activities, board members and equity capital. Access to the Registry first became available in 1995 110.

The Ministry of Science, Education and Sports has officially accepted the ECDL and has plans to ensure that all teachers and staff in government agencies will have the ECDL certificate. Future projects include support to information-supported education, financing the right to Internet access to commercial bibliographic databases and e-Magazines to high education system employees. Complete implementation of the National information system for application to colleges (NITPVU) is also planned in the coming years.

Since December 2003 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Croatia (Vrhovni sud Republike Hrvatske) has been publishing texts of court decisions on the internet (anonymising the parties, names). Similar to the online database of the High Commercial Court decisions, the aim of this is to increase the efficiency and transparency of the Court’s and judges’ work. Published cases go as far back as 1993. The web site offers a full text search of court decisions in HTML format in Croatian. The site also contains expert papers written by Supreme Court judges. The public can access the database via the Supreme Court web site 111 free of charge.

106 Project of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia, Croatian Post and Electronic Communications Agency (HAKOM), and CARNet for of 16,6 million HRK. 107 The islands of Lošinj, Dugi otok, Krapanj, Unije, Koločep, Zlarin, Iž, Šipan, Lopud, Silba, Prvić, Ist, Olib, Ilovik, and Susak 108 Project of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport, Agency for Science and Higher Education, within which the Central Application Office has been established, Croatian Academic and Research Network, and National Centre for External Evaluation of Education

109 See the e-Justice report at: 110 111



Croatia has been in the process of computerising its Land Registry. This process is still ongoing. However, it is currently possible to search most of the Land Registry books online and obtain an electronic Land Registry extract for a property that has been entered into the database. In May 2005 an online service for a digital Land Registry with access to databases of around 50 courts became accessible to the public. By the end of 2005, all 87 courts which enter data in digital form opened a digital Land Registry and all municipal courts became equipped for digital entry of Land Registry data. These data are consolidated into a single central Land Registry 112.

e-Health The implementation of the information system for eHealthcare projects of the primary health care was conducted in three phases to be concluded in 2010, and includes the creation of the reporting system linking the Ministry of Health and Social Care, the Croatian National Institute of Public Health, the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance and the Croatian Institute for Health Protection at Work. Pharmacies and primary health care laboratories were connected to the central system with electronic guidelines for subscription of medicines. The final stages of the programme include connecting specialist consultation activities, school clinics and central stocks units of the 66 Croatian hospitals to the central system. For populations living outside main cities, this will allow faster access to the appropriate specialist and hospital.

In addition, the e-Cadastre 113 service enables online insight into the legal status of properties in Croatia, based on a number of the relevant land plot and cadastral municipality data. Considering that e-Cadastre contains stored information on all cadastre plots in Croatia, which makes it the most complete database on spatial conditions in the country, it is becoming very important in solving cadastre-related issues

The HZZO Portal 115 of the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance provides safe electronic data exchange with the entities of the Croatian health care system. The introduction of a smart card allows for example doctors and clinics to gain faster access to reimbursements of health care costs.

The IT component of the Joint Information System (JIS) Project is being developed, representing the most important activity of the continued Real Property Registration and Cadastre Project. The aim of this project is the development and establishment of the system that will cover all information from the official cadastre and land registries, and enable electronic processes between the cadastre and land registry offices’ and citizens.

e- Culture The National Programme for the digitization of archival, library and museum materials was launched in 2006 by the Ministry of Culture. The programme is supported by the Central Office for e-Croatia and the National Council for Information Society. In 2007 an agreement on cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Culture and the founder of the National and University Library in Zagreb, the Croatian State Archives and the Museum Documentation Centre as the project leader for the implementation of the national project “Croatian cultural heritage” 116. The portal was initiated by the Croatian Ministry of Culture and the Open Society Institute for the period 2003-2013, and aims at pooling information resources available on Croatian culture (organizations, associations, institutions, projects, etc. The project ARHiNET 117, managed by the Croatian National Archives, was launched in 2006 for the preservation, protection, processing and use of archives. The system is designed in a modular fashion, enabling the creation and addition of individual modules as separate projects, for example private archives, and their continuous connection to a single system.

In 2009, an online database of selected decisions allows the public to view decisions of the High Commercial Court 114 (Visoki Trgovački Sud) in the first and second instances. The project was carried out by the association Sudačka Mreža (“Judges’ web”) with the financial support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Judges of the High Commercial Court also participated in the project’s implementation. Searching the database is possible drawing on an index of more than 4,000 key words suggested by the High Commercial Court judges.

112 http:// 113 http:// 114

115 116 117 was awarded the Good Practise label 2009 from the European eGovernment awards



In developing services for the large tourism industry in Croatia, the Ministry of Culture developed the Geographic Information System (GIS) to manage protected areas of national parks, nature parks and areas managed by county public institutions. On the basis of accurate and updated data, a GIS set-up enables accurate overview of topographic, cadastral, land registry, spatial plans and monitoring of nature conditions and habitats, including tourist intensity. This allows planning of tourist facilities, building and preservation of spaces.

According to the data obtained during the research, in 2007 Croatian citizens spent an average of 93 kn to purchase goods via electronic means, compared to 9 kn spent six years earlier, while the expenditure in the business sector per capita in 2007 totalled 605 kn, compared to 89 kn spent in 2002. Despite the optimistic growth indicators, 57 percent of the companies in Croatia still consider their company too small to be using e-business. According to the data issued by the Croatian National Bank during the first quarter of 2009 in Croatia 597,866 citizens and 155,721 business entities were using e-banking services. In the same period in 2008 the service was used by 452,736 citizens, and 135,035 business entities showing an increase of 32 % for private users and 15% for businesses.

e-Tourism For maritime tourism, an Integrated Maritime Management System or e-crew 118 managed by the Tourism Boards allows companies renting boats and yachts and using a FINA e-card to register passengers and crew on-line 119.



According to the data from the Croatian Post and Electronic Communications Agency 122, the number of broadband Internet connections in the Republic of Croatia on 31 December 2009 totalled 937.194 with the achieved density of 21,13 percent, out of which 684.956 connections or 15,44% belng to the cable Internet access, and 252.238 conections or 5,69% belong to mobile Internet access. This numbers present a continuation of the trend of growing numbers of broadband Internet connections that began in 2003 and continues to yield results each year.

Electronic business implies all activities performed by legal or physical entities with the purpose of exchanging goods or services via computers and modern communication technologies. Electronic business is a necessary precondition for the participation of the Croatian economy in the global markets through the offer of Croatian good and services and the extended possibility of purchasing goods and services from the global markets.

The high level of broadband penetration in Croatia can be attributed to the adoption of a Broadband strategy that enabled the country to catch up, despite lagging behind many countries in the region at the time of adoption in 2006. Three months before the deadline, the key goal of the Strategy (2008) had been surpassed. The implementation of the Broadband Strategy has ensured continuous strong growth of broadband Internet users in the Republic of Croatia up to present day. By comparison, the number of broadband users in 2003 was around 4.400, with the penetration of 0.1%. However, the growing number of broadband users is not the only visible result in the implementation of the Broadband Strategy. The Government of the Republic of Croatia allocated some € 7.53 million for the development of broadband infrastructure up to the end of 2008, under which € 2.7 million was spent on e-islands project and some € 2,7 million for a project to develop broadband infrastructure in areas of special state concern and hill-mountains areas.

Within the framework of the implementation of the Strategy of e-Business Development in the Republic of Croatia for the period of 2007-2010, at the end of last year the Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship ordered two research projects whose results were published in ‘’The Study of e-Business Development in the Republic of Croatia for the year 2006 and 2007’’ 120 and ‘’The Study of Obstacles Impeding the Implementation of e-Business in the Republic of Croatia for the year 2006 and 2007’’ 121. The studies are the first of their kind in Croatia. They were carried out last October and November by IDC Adriatics agency following the methodology of the e-Business Watch project.

118 119 120 121 The c-crew was awarded a Good practice label in the European eGovernment Awards in 2009.




2. Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development

In these areas, 15.310 new users were connected by the end of 2008. According to the comparative report on the electronic communications and information society market of South-East European countries 123, Croatia led South-East Europe countries with the penetration of 21,13 of broadband Internet connections. Although according to this research, Croatia still lagged behind the average penetration of 23,9 in the EU, it was nevertheless ahead of countries such as Bulgaria (11,9) and Poland (12,8), and in the line with Slovakia (14,3), Greece (15,6), and Romania (12,3) 124.

The e Government Development Strategy for the period from 2009 until 2012, adopted in January 2009, formulates the guidelines for development and implementation activities that will continue to develop a communication network of state administrative bodies, establish a data and document management system, additional basic services that the activities of electronic government will be based on and the construction of adequate competences, both on the side of the administration as the service provider, and on the side of the service users. Its successful implementation will create the conditions for directing the entire public administration work towards its users, that is, for establishing an electronic public administration in the Republic of Croatia.

The Croatian Government passed on 31 July 2008 the ˝Strategy of transfer from analogue to digital television broadcasting in the Republic of Croatia˝. The complete transfer from analogue to digital television broadcasting is set for 31 December 2010. The Strategy implementation is entrusted with the Ministry of Sea, Transport and Infrastructure, the Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia, the Ministry of Culture, the Croatian Post and Electronic Communications Agency, the Agency for Supervision of Electronic Media and the network operator ˝Odašiljači i veze d.o.o.˝ However, the overall responsibility of coordination of activities of the digitalisation process has been given to the Central State Administrative Office for e-Croatia. Croatia is one of few European countries to provide financial forms of support to all public television payers for purchasing receivers of digital television programmes. According to its form, the Croatian subsidy system for the transfer to digital television is most similar to that used in the United States of America.

The Croatian e Government Development Strategy is based on four foundations: computer and communications infrastructure; data/information and documentation base; accessibility of electronic services and human potentials. The mentioned foundations unequivocally determine the direction, content, goals and expected results and are directed towards the strengthening of the existing technological base and continuing the redirection of office activities into the channels of electronic communication, along with raising the level of accessibility of the e-government services. What is more important, electronic government in the Republic of Croatia is not being built from scratch. In other words, all accomplishments and solutions present in any form in state government are taken into consideration, especially results accomplished in development of information systems under the “umbrella” of the eCroatia programme from 2003. These results testify the accomplished progress in all areas of public administration, and with their implementation, foundations are set which guarantee an equal and systematic development of information society as one of the main assumptions for the development of the society and economic knowledge.

In the process of implementation of Strategy of transfer from analogue to digital television broadcasting, Croatia has assured technological neutrality, in the manner that the subsidy is being given not only to purchase receivers for digital terrestrial television signals, but also receivers of all digital terrestrial television signals - terrestrial, cable or satellite signals, thereby securing equal and non-discriminatory position of all forms of provision of digital television services on the market. In this way, we have fully aligned the digitalisation process with European Union acquis communautaire. Finally, on 26 January 2010 Istria and Primorsko-goranska county become together the first Croatian region to switch off all analogue television transmitters following with all other regions which should switch off analogue television until the end of 2010.

One of the good examples is HITRO.HR service. From the beginning the approach of the HITRO.HR service to clients was through two interfaces – the office as the human contact and the web for the electronic solutions. In four years 19,844 e-cards were issued to businesses for use on e-services. Through HITRO.HR over 30,000 companies and crafts were established. 125

123 Cullen International, January 2008 124 Broadband Penetration Rate, Eurostat, July 1 2009

125 Data updated on Nov. 2009



It is noteworthy that in its 2009 evaluation of top performers and most improved in the key areas of electronic filing and compliance, Companies House (the UK government register of UK companies) favourably evaluated HITRO.HR. 126 The Companies House report notes that the opening of HITRO.HR offices around the country meant that five steps related to company incorporation could be completed by one office instead of having to go to different offices or send documents via regular mail.

Lately, there are also some encouraging statistics regarding the e-business development in Croatia. The Survey 131 showed that 98% (the same as in the previous year) of enterprises used computers in everyday business and 95% (a decrease of 2%) of enterprises had the Internet access. The Internet became a necessity for an efficient business conduct, so 57% (a decrease of 7%) of enterprises had its own web site. The Internet simplifies performing of some business processes, such as banking and financial transactions; it also allows usage of administrative public services (e-government). There are 84% (the same as in the previous year) of enterprises that use the Internet for banking and financial services, while 61% (an increase of 5%) use the Internet for administrative purposes. Usage of the Internet caused changes in the ways of business conduct by allowing for the integration of business processes at a higher level. There were 84% (a decrease of 2%) of enterprises that conducted banking and financial transactions via the Internet. Moreover, there was an increase in both the usage of administrative services and in staff training. Administrative services via the Internet were used by 61% (an increase of 4%) of enterprises, while a significant increease was shown in the number of enterprises that use the Internet for education and training of employees, from 18% to as much as 29%. The usage of e-government services provides for better information accessibility and speeds up a delivery of administrative procedures. There was a small increase recorded in the usage of almost all services. Out of several services available, 56% of enterprises used services to obtain information (an increase of 5%) and 54% to obtain forms (an increase of 2%). Other servies, such as returning filled in forms (37%) and the treatment of administrative procedures (36%), were somewhat less used. The service of submitting tender proposals showed a decrease in usage, from 16% to 13%.

3. Hindering and Helping Factors to Information Society Development Despite ambitious efforts, according to the Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009 published by the World Economic Forum, Croatia still lags somewhat behind in its usage of IT in public, state administration processes and services 127. So, to further develop ICTs, more needs to be done to raise awareness and understanding of the information society, and to engender commitment across all sectors of the economy and society. Internet penetration in Croatia is 45 %, one of the highest in South East Europe 128. However, despite of the high penetration rate, Croatia still didn’t reach the EU average, where according to the Eurostat data from 1 July 2009, penetration rate of the fixed network in EU27 reached 23.9 %. In September 2009 Croatia had 2.446.770 Internet users 129. As to the usage of Internet, by comparing the results 130 with the last year’s data, it can be observed that individual users tend to use the Internet mostly to gather information on products and services (70%), send e-mails (77%), and read newspapers and magazines (increase of 10%). Internet use for educational purposes and in order to gather health related information is increasing (increase of 8%). A relatively small share of e-banking and e-Administration demonstrates the fact that online usage of these services is still not significant, although a slight increase in both categories was noted.

For e-services, the lack of widespread access to internet at local level is also an issue. Development politics have emphasised household ownership of computers rather than public points of access which are few. Yet local level implementation and access of e-services is believed to be critical to their widespread acceptance and use.

126 See Companies House, Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (March 2009), “World class indicators” cited in Croatia: EU accession enhances public sector transparency Oct. 2009, 127 See World Economic Forum: The Global Information Technology Report 2008-2009, available at: gcp/Global%20Information%20Technology%20 Report/index.htm. 128 ITU Statistics 129 130 Croatian Bureau of Statistics, Usage of ICT in Households and by individuals 2009, First Release, January 28, 2010.

131 Croatian Bureau of Statistics, Usage of ICT in Enterprises 2009, First Release, January 28, 2010.



4. Conclusions


Croatia has been taking a strong lead in the region’s development towards the Information Society. While the present services for government, businesses and people are numerous, the impetus of EU integration process will certainly step up the pace of development and range of services available. Having already caught up with some EU member countries in the development towards an Information Society, Croatia is expected to reap favourably the fruits of a decade of legislative and structural transformation.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 132 is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations in 1993, but as a result of an unresolved dispute with Greece over its name, it was admitted under the provisional reference of the ˝Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia˝, sometimes abbreviated as FYROM. Since December 2005 it has also been a candidate for joining the European Union and has applied for NATO membership. 1. Progress with the Information Society BASIC STRUCTURES The development of ICTs has been a high priority for government for some time and is expected to remain so. To achieve its strategic priorities in this area, the Ministry of Information Society 133 (MIS) was established in July 2008 as a central body for building and developing the Information Society. The MIS had previously been a Ministry without portfolio, and prior to that a Committee for ICTs, set up after the first UNDP-supported National Strategy for Information Society Information Development and Action Plan 134 in April 2005. This was supplemented with the National Strategy for Development of Electronic Communications with Information Technologies 135, under the Ministry of Transport and Communications 136 (MTC), focusing on measures to develop the communication infrastructure up to 2010 as a technical platform for the Information Society, and a precondition for their introduction. The MIS is pursuing e-Government Strategy (2009-2012), and an e-Government National Action Plan is in progress to cover 2010 to 2012. MIS is also responsible for the e-SEE Agenda+ implementation and the eLeadership programme. Meanwhile the bSEE Action Plan, regarded as virtually complete, has been transferred to the MTC.

132 The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) under whose umbrella is the Electronic South Eastern Europe Initiative uses this appellation hence the terminology used in this report 133 134 135 136



The Ministry’s work is project based, with about 20 ongoing projects. Each has a Work Group, set up by government decision, which includes the relevant Ministries and some non-government representatives, the ICT Chamber 137 and the NGO Metamorphosis 138 being among the most active. The National Council for Development of Information Society was established to support the implementation of the Information Society Strategy, with representatives from public, private and the non-governmental sectors and the universities. The Council’s role is advisory, intended to mobilise the participation of stakeholders in the process of Information Society development, while supporting the Government with implementation of the ICT projects in the state administration.

At the present time, MIS is overseeing or implementing an ambitious range of projects, for business, government and the public, many of which will be made available in the central e-Government Portal. 142 Currently relatively undeveloped in terms of interactivity, the portal will be integrated with the government document system (as a sub-project of the interoperability project mentioned above), enhancing transparency by giving public access to government documentation and processes. E-SERVICES FOR GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS While few have so far been brought to completion (see the e-business Portal) e-services for government have made significant progress.

The Ministry has grown considerably since its establishment, from an initial five people to a current team of 25, and rising to 30 by the end of 2009. Their work is strongly supported by the Government with ICTs, as noted, being one of the priority areas for 2009, a trend expected to continue into 2010.

Most advanced among e-Business services is the public procurement system, managed by the Ministry of Finance, Public procurement Bureau. This is now fully online, and includes measures to reduce bureaucracy and eliminate discretionary decisions. Under the umbrella of ‘Interactive Macedonia’ and funded by USAID, other business services are under development: Upgrading of the one-stop-shop system will enable the electronic registration of many businesses possibly in as little as one day; and import and export licenses will be available interactively, as well as employment registration.

Some remaining key legal aspects are now in place. The Law on Free Access to Public Information came into force in 2006, and the Law on e-Commerce was passed in October 2007. The Electronic Administration Act passed during 2009, is central to the goal of interoperability, in compliance with the EU Framework 139, enabling the integration of various databases and governing all e-services. Relevant by-laws are being drafted to precisely define the methods of communication, obligations and responsibilities of all parties. But in the meantime, five key administration registries (covering for instance citizens, businesses, taxation and customs) will be piloted for interoperability, the tendering process for hardware and software now completed. This will underpin the development of the integrated set of services available on the e-Government Portal.

A Document Management System (DMS) is quite well advanced, led by the MIS and connecting a total of 20 Ministries and government institutions. Fibre backbone is in place between them. Users will have a digital signature, for which a National Root Certification Centre is to be established under the MIS. (The digital signature will also be used in the e-Health project, under which all citizens will have an electronic health card.) It is expected that the system will cover its first set of processes during 2010. Government sessions and processes were also recently upgraded.

The interoperability project drew on an interesting collaboration between civil society (Metamorphosis and the Foundation Open Society Institute Macedonia) and the Government Secretariat. They undertook an Assessment of Good Governance Potential in Macedonia, looking at issues such as best practice interoperability standards 140 and developing a website to promote the idea of good governance.141

137 138 139 140 141

, a number of


An e-Cadastre project for both business and public use, is fully developed and being tested alongside the paper system. Implemented by the Agency for Real Estate Cadastre and supported by SIDA, it digitises the registration of land and buildings and changes to them (the Real Estate Cadastre and the Land Cadastre), and allows for online tracking of the progress of requests. The system holds information on ownership and sale of land and buildings, and mortgages held, and all the information will be publicly available (the only exception being the amount of a mortgage). See Recommendations for ICT Standards in the Civil Service in the Republic of Macedonia, 2008, Foundation Open Society Institute.

142 143



The system can also produce electronic .pdf documents, with e-signature verified by a USB attachment. The e-Cadastre goes live in Skopje during 2010, where 45% of the workload is, and will then be rolled out to the rest of the country linking branch offices by virtual private network lines (VPN).

SERVICES FOR PEOPLE Some of the above services, such as the e-Cadastre and the Court Information System, will also bring benefits to the public. And a further ambitious range of projects is under development for citizens, a few already delivering.

An Integrated Court Information System is also being installed, covering 33 courts. This enables the automated distribution of cases to judges, and ongoing monitoring of progress. All judges and their assistants are being provided with computers, and work is underway to establish a single Data Centre connecting the different segments of the judiciary.

As noted the e-Government Services Portal will bring together many of the citizen e-services 146. Applications, registrations and payments for various licenses, public services, taxation are planned to be available online on a phased basis (some can already be done via mobile phone). The interoperability of government systems will also mean that a citizen’s transaction with a single government department will have access to all documents contained by other departments, simplifying procedures and preventing duplication; and citizens will also be able to access all public and government documentation from a separate Portal. 147

The ICT sector itself is represented and supported by the Macedonia ICT Chamber of Commerce (MASIT) 144, which works closely with the government and undertakes its own activities. A team of four represents 80 ICT companies accounting for 90% of the total turnover in ICT market. Exports are primarily to other countries in the SEE region and to the USA, with major growth being reported over the last few years ($8m in 2004 to $24m in 2007 and $34m in 2008). In cooperation with the MIS, MASIT produced a National ICT Strategy for Software Development; and is working with GTZ and USAID, the former funding a regional ‘branding of ICTs’ and the latter supporting their work by providing capacity building for purpose of advocacy and lobbying.

An innovative project already completed over a two year period is a Vouchers for Computers scheme 148 which provided all final year students, and all students with a disability, with a voucher worth about €200 to be redeemed against the purchase of a new computer. About 12,200 were issued to students at the beginning of the academic year in 2007, and a further 10,250 in 2008 149. The goal of the programme is to raise the number of computers in usage in the country among the younger generation, specifically among students who are close to entering the labour market.

The e-BIZ Project, a USAID project, helps SMEs adopt high-impact ICT applications that support their competitiveness and growth. The approach is to address both demand and supply sides of SME adoption of ICT. It partners with Macedonian entrepreneurs to offer “high impact ICT solutions that significantly improve SMEs’ competitiveness. Several specialized e-Biz Centres have been established. In the apparel industry for example, the New Trend Apparel Technology e-BIZ Centre offers Computer Aided Design (CAD) services for pattern design, digitizing, grading and pattern making and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) services for tension-free spreading and automated cutting to apparel manufacturing companies. The project further helped develop an e-Commerce Portal 145, helping Macedonian apparel and footwear companies to promote globally and to expand their business opportunities via Internet. Finally, e-BIZ Centers offers advanced classroom training programs, video-conference based training, Web based training, consulting, business conferences and video conferences services to the companies to broaden the management capacity of local business leaders.

e-Health is also an area of emphasis, in its early stages. This project is expected to lead to the introduction of an Integrated Health Information System (IHIS) and e-health card, as noted above accessed via a digital signature. It is expected to deliver increased efficiency in provision of health services, improved access to relevant data (for health service providers, as well as financial purposes) and a full record of treatment, at lower cost and faster speeds.

146 147 148 149 Ministry of Information Society: Report for the results from the Programmes for distribution of valuable bon certificates – Vouchers organized in 2007 and 2008.

144 MASIT is a volunteer, non-profit organisation. The chamber was founded in 2000 as an Association within the Economic Chamber of Macedonia by the top fifteen Macedonian IT companies. It became in April a Chamber of commerce representing about 80% of the domestic IT market. 145



Perhaps most ambitious of all is the e-Education project, Computer for Every Child, a collaboration between the MIS and the Ministry of Education and Science (MOES), and funded mainly by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia with additional contributions from donators.

The Macedonian Academic and Research Network (MARNET), linking universities internally and externally, is also relatively advanced for the region. Established initially in 1994 and technically managed by the Institute of Informatics of St. Cyril and Methodius University, it now connects MARNET to the regional SEEREN and GEANT networks via 1Gbps broadband Internet. The initial 64kbit connectivity, funded by the Australian government and Soros, was later upgraded through participation in SEEREN to 4 mbits. In July 2008, connectivity to the GEANT network was increased to 155 mbits, the EU and the government each providing half the funding. There are plans to connect other state universities, all primary and secondary schools and to allow the private universities to use this network. Further upgrading the network will bring it to a world standard, enabling universities and research centres to attract EU Projects and to complete them more efficiently. A new Law is under discussion that will make MARNET into an independent entity, which should bring in the medium term more secure funding.

A forerunner project, Macedonia Connects, laid some groundwork a few years previously with the introduction of about 5,300 computers donated from China, and ICT training of about 12,000 teachers funded by USAID. Its success encouraged support for the new programmes, considerably bigger in size and scope. The figures by the end of 2009 were impressive. t

t t

About 180,000 computers have been introduced, in mixed configurations. A laptop has been provided to each of 23,000 teachers; about 56,000 laptops to primary school students, using adapted Intel Classmates; and PCs each powering seven ‘thin client’ computers make up the rest. Notably, the software is all Open Source (the operating system is EDUBUNTU, the world processing Open Office), all localised to Macedonian and Albanian languages. Each of the 460 primary and secondary schools has broadband internet access. About 6,500 secondary school teachers have been trained by the MOES, in addition to those trained early, and virtually all 23,000 will receive training.

The digitisation of cultural heritage, under the Ministry of Culture, has also made some progress. The Ministry leads a UNESCO project on the preservation of tangible cultural heritage, the Regional Centre for the Digitisation of Culture in Skopje, established in 2005 and initially funded by the Italian Government through UNESCO. Prior to this, a World Bank project provided them with a grant for the digitalisation of culture. The Centre’s current software, based on international UNESCO standards, has been used to store all data. A National Strategy on Cultural Heritage is expected to be finalised by the end of 2009, which the Centre hopes will help them to implement their projects and to introduce much needed standards.

School curriculum content development is also underway, beyond simply the use of the computers to learn ICTs. Intel has donated 400 ‘learning objects’ (valued at about US$14m), used to develop pedagogical software in maths and science for use mainly in primary schools. MOES is developing additional curricular subjects with the Bureau for Development of Education (the body responsible for school curricula), and intends to enable the full curriculum to be taught using ICTs.

Issues relating to gender do not feature in current ICT-related activities. The Ministry of Labour and Social Policy adopted an Equal Opportunity Act in 2006 and there is a National Action Plan for Gender Equality 2007– 2012, including some programmes on women in media. But neither makes any reference to ICTs. Several expressed the view that in the education system, there is gender equality among teachers and students, even within ICT departments; but less so in management and political positions.

It is intended that in April and May 2010, about 250,000 students will undertake their examinations online, using a multiple choice format. The results will be combined with teacher assessments during the year to produce the final results. A localised version of Moodle, Open Source software that produces an educational platform for a variety of uses, has been deployed to achieve this. Moodle is also underpinning a database of students and teachers, now in its final stages of development, to assist planning in the educational process. The entire system is located on a centralised database, already being tested, that will enable efficient and rapid processing.

A portal for people with disability 150 is also introduced. The portal will offer a central location to those with disability to find information and services offered by the state institutions that are important to them, to make complaints, as well as to discuss different questions that interest them. 150



An earlier inclusion project, mainly for people with disabilities, was developed by Metamorphosis, offering resources, news and information. 151

The electronic public procurement system is already saving time and money, and reducing the possibility of corruption and level of bureaucracy.

Finally it is worth noting that free wireless is available in 15 towns at public internet access points, and in kiosks in some rural areas.

The e-Cadastre system, which is fully operational and about to roll out, also offers clear benefits to users, in terms of time and cost savings, as well as enhancing public transparency.


Experience suggests that the DMS will automate and significantly improve the current work processes of ministries through quicker processing of data; reduced operative costs; easy access to past data; e-filling and storage. The recently enhanced electronic government system has also improved and speeded up the preparation of documentations and materials for government sessions. Through the e-services Portal, it will also deliver greater transparency of government to citizens.

In some respects, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can claim to be among the most advanced country in the region, and indeed beyond, in terms of infrastructure. The entire country is covered by broadband wireless, four competing companies offering WIMAX services, with about 10 more at sub-national level. Their plans are even bigger. The government believes it can move ahead of broadband as usually conceived, and in April 2009 adopted a National Strategy for the Development of the Next Generation of Broadband Internet under MTC. The target is to roll-out fibre to the home by 2015. At municipal level, a programme is underway to develop public/private partnerships that offer broadband locally – the target is for all municipalities to have entered into such arrangement during 2010 - and further fibre backbone is planned including the use of the Energy Company’s network.

The innovative Vouchers for Computers scheme boosted PC ownership among the cohort of thirdlevel qualified job seekers in 2007 and 2008. The MARNET Research community has essentially eliminated the bandwidth bottleneck for academic and research institutions, enabling the building of partnership in the EU and beyond. The major e-education project, is aiming to achieve a number of immediate benefits. The introduction of ICTs will profoundly change the examination system. Sitting exams online and the introduction of multiple choice questions will greatly increase the efficiency of marking and grading. More important, however, a national examinations system will reduce the arbitrary element that currently exists in a system largely based on teacher assessment. With every child using a computer, there will be an immediate rise also in computer and internet literacy, improving the labour force overall. In the longer term the expectation is that the quality of education will improve, suited to the idea of a ‘knowledge society’.

A National Broadcasting Digital Switchover Strategy has been adopted, with digital broadcasting services planned for May 2012, with analogue expected to continue until 2015. The multiplexes will be divided between public services and commercial operators, and the plan is for set top boxes to be provided by the commercial side. Currently about 140 small television channels broadcast at municipal level, which the Broadcasting Council is considering combining into fewer numbers as a result of digital switchover. 2. Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development

The e-BIZ project accomplishments are measured in terms of establishing sustainable Centres, five of which have already begun generating a regular profit, enabling them to continue operations with current provisions. The e-BIZ centres have collectively generated more than 1,500 new jobs, $1 million in matching funds from local entrepreneurs, and $9 million in foreign direct investment. Three of the e-BIZ centres, after a sustained period of positive results, are now continuing with their activities independently of USAID support.

Most of the impressive range of e-services and activities in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are still under development, and the benefits will take some time to come. Some projects are advanced enough to reasonably anticipate the outcomes.




3. Hindering and Helping Factors to Information Society Development

The Agency for Real Estate Cadastre established an IT section three years ago to cover their 29 branch offices. Here too a key challenge the management is the very low salaries, effectively preventing the recruitment of more senior and skilled staff and making it difficult to retain those that have been trained.

Simultaneously implementing such a wide and ambitious range of actions and projects inevitably involves a steep learning curve, and encounters obstacles along the way. As always, funding is the main issue. The ambitious national infrastructure plans for Next Generation Networks (NGNs) are feeling the current level economic crisis, as some companies scale back their anticipated investments. Developing the Public Private Partnerships at Municipality level faces the additional problem of the limited capacity of Municipal governments and officials in this area. To address this, the Ministry has selected a number of larger Municipalities to develop a model that others can then replicate.

The Regional Centre for the Digitisation of Culture similarly has planned a number of projects on the digitisation process but face the challenge of too few skilled staff in all regions to do the work. As a result, the Centre is currently limited to theoretical work, defining standards of the Centre etc, and has done little in terms of actual practical deliveries. Obviously the risk is that obstacles faced in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia may lead to a growing gap between the ambitious plans for ICT projects and what gets delivered in practice.

MARNET is also facing funding problems. At present its government subvention for bandwidth has been cut, and it is running on the funds saved from 2008. Universities face the prospect of up to ₏15,000 a month for national and international connections. Under the new Law, it is proposed that the government will fund 70% of the cost and the universities the remaining 30%, but raising even that will be difficult for the first few years. MARNET’s funding to connect internal buildings within campuses was also drastically cut, and it has had to curtail its work in this area.

4. Conclusions In this first decade of 21st century, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has shown strong political will, and made special efforts to equip itself and develop a wide-spread usage of ICTs in all areas. ICT adoption values are now close to EU levels and the ambitious plans to develop specific projects within the framework of the EU strategies will need to mobilize international government and private sector finance.

The cost of broadband bandwidth also remains high, despite great strides in coverage, and the quality is not always good enough. The e-cadastre project is planned to begin its regional roll out in 2010. However, though the VPN lines to all branches are available, the infrastructure is very expensive and not at the level the Agency needs. There is also no real choice of operators. The Ministry of Culture’s digitisation project faces high VPN network charges as well as network breakdowns, and they cannot afford the quality they require. Human capacity in ICTs is an issue not just at municipality level. The need for more experienced and trained staff have been noted by the MIS, where suitably qualified public administration staff in the areas of ICTs tend to be few and far between. Furthermore, it is hard to motivate people who are trained in ICT as they tend to leave for higher salaries paid within the private sector. For the DMS project, those directly involved within government institution will be trained to use the system. At the moment there are no incentives to encourage them to stay but additional enticements are being considered such as a bonus salary, or perhaps a signed contract, to entice and secure skilled staff for longer periods.




Several Ministries and State Enterprises have developed e-services, or have made progress in that direction.

The Republic of Moldova (hereafter referred to as Moldova) took its independence on August 27, 1991. The EU-Moldova Partnership and Cooperation Agreement entered into force in July 1998 and the country has implemented the first three-year Action Plan (2005-2008) within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) of the European Union. In 2003, through the Stability Pact for SEE intervention, Moldova has become associated with e-SEE Initiative processes and has been actively participating in several working groups of the Initiative, including the e-Leadership Regional e-Governance Advisory Taskforce (REGATA).

Registru has developed key state registers 156 and is gradually building out services from them: t t t

1. Progress with the Information Society t BASIC STRUCTURES Responsibility for the information society lies with the Main Directorate of Information Society Development under the Ministry for Information Technology and Communication (MITC). 152 Ministry sub-divisions take the form of State Enterprises, key among which are the State Information Resources Centre (Registru), 153 employing about 1,900 staff and responsible for the integration and interoperability of state information resources in all Ministries, and managing the databases of most key ‘registries’.

A high degree of interoperability and integration has been achieved between these four registers. For instance, using the unique 13 digit number assigned at birth or at border entries to each individual, the system is capable of tracking that person across all the databases, including links to their families, vehicles owned, directorships, place and map of residence, visas granted, and more. A total of 98% of the population has now been allocated a number and issued ID cards. These interoperable Registries along with others not yet fully integrated are regarded as the foundations for the development of e-services, and a number are already offered to a fully interactive level, although payment is currently made at post offices or banks. These are currently accessed via different Portal and Websites. 157

Also relevant is another State Enterprise, the Special Telecommunications Centre (STC) under the State Chancellery 154, which has responsibility for developing the single eServices Portal to provide access to e-services from all other Ministries, as well as for security related ICTs such as the digital signature, bio-metric systems, and secure e-document exchange.

A Digital Signature has been established using a high security chip and pin. Although its use is at present limited to a small number of public officials and enterprises, the intention is to extend it to access the e-services Portal by business and the public, when the funding is available and the volume of e-services available justifies it.

The first e-Moldova Strategy and Action Plan was launched in 2005 covering the period to 2010, and a new one is under preparation for the period from 2011 to 2015. The main of its components are e-Governance and e-Democracy. A separate Concept on e-Governance was adopted in June 2006 which serves as a base for the implementation of ICT tools in public administration. 155

152 153 154 155

the Population Register (holding personal details on passport and ID cards, marriage, births, deaths, migration, etc.); the Legal Entity Register (with data on legally registered businesses, associations, including religious, political parties, non-governmental organisations, tax status etc.); the Geographical Register (with cadastre land and building ownerships, maps and geographic indicators); and the Vehicle and Drivers Register (comprising data on all vehicle registration, divers licenses etc.). It was previously known as the Ministry of Information Development National Strategy for Information Society Building ‘e-Moldova’ see

156 Responsibility for Population and Legal Entity Registries have recently been moved to the Ministry of Justice though REGISTRU still manages the databases. 157 or



In terms of e-business services Registru has a number available online. Vehicles can be registered, and applications completed to register businesses, and information about employees. 159 Vehicular backgrounds can be checked on payment terminals located all over the country and soon online and through mobile phones. Services are charged and payment done through the post-offices.

The official Moldova e-Services Portal is also ready for use, under STC, with the technical core and digital signature and interface in place. 158 But access to e-services has yet to migrate there from their current locations. In March 2008, after the new Law on Electronic Communications had come into effect, the former National Regulatory Agency for Telecommunications and Informatics (ANRTI) was reorganised and became the National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology (ANRCETI). In order to implement this new law, the ANRCETI has issued secondary legislation among which are authorisations and licences for the use of resources for public electronic e-communications services, and regulations on control procedures for e-communications services.

An e-taxation system has been developed by the State Taxation Inspectorate under the Ministry of Finance and businesses can download forms and tax certificates on-line. 160 The State Tax Inspectorate and the State Enterprise FiscServInform in partnership with the USAID BIZTAR project launched the free downloadable ˝Declaratia Rapida˝ or Quick Declaration software and management system for faster tax declaration. Taxpayers are able to complete their reports, using tools for error checking and then print them as a barcode which will allow the State Tax Service to read the information using scanners financed by USAID. Electronic signatures are delivered only by the Certification Authority in Chisinau and in Cahul through a public-private partnership for service delivery with a centralized government agency, in this case with the STC and a business association, the Cahul Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to deliver services on its behalf outside Chisinau.

In 2008, the Governmental Committee on equality between women and men was re-established and insurance of its functionality with sufficiently high status of members – Deputy Prime Minister (Head of Commission), Minister of Social Protection, Family and Child (Deputy Head of Commission), ministerial representation at the level of deputy ministers and representatives of civil society. Gender focal points in line ministries and inter-ministerial coordination were established and consolidated and the Government established gender focal points at regional level. The National Plan of Action on Gender Promotion in Moldova (2006-2009) which was adopted in August 2006 does not mention access to ICTs.

The Customs Office, under the Ministry of Finance has also been digitally overhauled beginning in 2005, deploying the industry standard ASYCUDA (Automated SYstem for CUstoms DAta) and Frontera. At present 95% of customs documents and declarations can be completed online. Certificates are issued online, and all their offices are connected in a VPN, mainly using leased lines. About 400 to 500 brokers use the system, catering for at least 1,500 companies. Vetinerary and phyto-scientific services will be verifiable online soon, and real-time video surveillance of frontiers.

E-SERVICES FOR GOVERNMENT, BUSINESS AND PEOPLE Moldova has made some progress in terms of electronic services to government. An e-document system has been developed and implemented by another state enterprise, MoldData, in about five Ministries (as a test version), the Prosecutors office, the Cadastre and other areas. Email and e-voting system is used by government for their daily communications. The digital signature system is ready to be used for all government documents, and Ministries and public building within the capital Chisinau, though not outside, are connected by fibre. A system of e-procurement for government contracts is under implementation, allowing for creating and maintaining orders through the government portal, accessing data and documentation on tenders of state procurement plans, and automatic record-keeping for purchasing authorities and economic operators. A request for an e-signature key delivered by the Certification Authority of public authorities can be sent through the government portal.

UNDP, in support of the e-Moldova Strategy and the Strategy of Statistical System of Moldova Development and Action Plan for 2008-2011 approved by the Government, is contributing to the development of the Statistical Information System of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The Government Portal and Gateway is being developed and implemented by the Centre for Special Telecommunications (CTS). This project has completed its first phase in 2009 and a standardized concept and the draft technical requirements for an e-statistical reporting subsystem of the NBS are being developed.

159 160

158 See



Due to the characteristics of Moldova’s population - according to some estimates up to one third of its active population is working and living abroad - e-voting for emigrants is of particular interest. The Moldovan Central Elections Commission requested in September 2007 UNDP’s support to improve the management of elections in Moldova, with particular focus on e-voting. The Law on the Concept of State Automatic Information System “Elections”, which envisages electronic management and implementation of all the stages of the electoral process adopted in 2008, provides the legal framework for e-voting. The Central Electoral Committee (CEC) has started the process of implementing these provisions by developing and approving a Concept paper on a new Information System “Elections” (ISE). It provides for automating the process of preparation, processing and counting the votes of elections or referendums. ISE will: t t t t t t t t

The labels are attached to both home-produced and imported goods (except wines) in special warehouses, linked to a set of data on each individual product. Using the barcode number, the public can search for information on that specific item on a Website 161 or using an SMS message and retrieve relatively detailed data, for instance the active ingredients in medicines, date of production and expiration, and for wine, the year and location of production, the grape used, and whether chemicals were added. It is obligatory for retailers of these four products to ensure that items each carry a label, and selling products without them can lead to a fine or the loss of a license to trade. The system, which was designed and developed in Moldova to suit Moldovan circumstances, uses readily available technologies, and is now being marketed to other countries such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan with interest expressed elsewhere.

Ensure the transparency of the electoral process Offer citizens the possibility to vote electronically Allow quick publication of accurate figures on voters participation and, when the system is fully implemented,- the results of the vote, Increase the efficiency of all processes within elections and referendum periods (collection, processing, and transmission of information) Create conditions for better public control on reliability and integrity of information used in the election period Avoid pitfalls of paper voting lists such as duplication of voters, delays in re-registration, etc. Reduce the organisational cost of election and referendum processes Integrate all citizens of Moldova into the international practice of ICT use.

Finally it is worth noting that an ICT Sector Development Strategy 2010 – 2013 is also under development, covering the telecoms and IT sectors, which currently account for about 8% to 10% of the economy. SERVICES FOR PEOPLE Also on the Registru Portal are a set of e-services for citizens 162. These include issuing copies of civil certificates, such as birth, marriage, divorce and death. So far the records of 10 of the 32 regions of Moldova have been digitised, and the remainder are expected to be completed within three years. Applications can also be submitted for driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, and for a second passport (useful for frequent travellers since embassies often hold passports for some time while issuing visas); and changes of residence can be registered. It is expected that these will migrate to the e-Services Portal at STC at some point. Payment, as noted, is at post-offices or banks but other options, such as SMS message and e-banking, are being considered.

The CEC submitted the Concept to the Parliament for approval. According to the Concept, the first stage of e-Voting implementation is creation of the Register of voters was expected to be functional at 2009 Parliamentary election. Quite separately, the medicinal, wine, bottled water and cigarette industries have been the subject of an ICT driven labelling innovation aimed at reducing smuggling, tax fraud and illegal production that involves a unique barcode number attached to each product. To take the example of medicines, each packet or bottle sold in Moldova has a small label with a barcode number unique to that specific item. ‘Latent’ content is also included that can be read only using special small readers that are widely distributed, as a means to authenticate the label.

161 The medicines website is here 162 A list of e-services available can be found on the MITC website, but the links are to the Registru Portal and they are at different levels of development:



In education, the ‘Leap’ Programme (Programme of Informatisation of Education), going since 2004, has resulted in over 700 of the 1,500 primary and secondary level schools have a computer lab (each with a minimum of 11 PCs); and almost all connected to the internet, over half by broadband and the rest by dial-up. At present they are used mainly for the ICT curriculum, with about 10% (in 9th to 12th grade) also being used for other subjects. The programme continues with developing ICT tools for schools managements and with new pedagogical software in others subject. All operate in Romanian and Russian, and use Microsoft software although government policy is to use Open Source software where possible.

UNDERLYING INFRASTRUCTURE Accurate and up to date ICT statistics are difficult to obtain in Moldova (UNDP is supporting the development of a new methodology), but indicators available suggest progress: Internet penetration rose from 4-5% in 2005 to approximately 37% in 2009; the e-Readiness Index rose form 20% in 2005 and to about 32% now. And while fixed lines have fallen from 35% to 32% in the same period, mobile phones have risen from 45% to 80%. In terms of accessing the internet in rural areas, the MITC with support from ITU is to establish 20 Public access points to the Internet in rural areas, each with five computers, internet, fax and other computers. The cost will be divided equally between the ITU and the Postal Service, and they will be located in post offices. More funding is being sought, but they are intended to be self sustaining. MoldTelecom provides the internet connection.

RENAM (Research and Educational Networking Association of Moldova) is the academic and research network of Moldova, an independent association overseen by a Council that includes the Academy of Sciences, Universities, and other scientific and educational institutions. A total of 36 institutions are connected nationally (22 research institutes, 9 universities and 5 colleges) – though only one linked in the north of the country - and externally they are members of SEEGRID, GEANT 164 and other international networks, benefiting from Soros, Asia Foundation, and EU funding over the years. RENAM is refunded the cost of its connectivity by the universities. 163

Finally, a Strategy for Broadband 2010 – 2013 (in draft form since March but with approval delayed by the elections) is soon to be adopted including an Action Plan annually updated, as well as a Regulation on Broadband. And an agreement with Romania and Ukraine is in place to supply external fibre optic access. The strategy will include plans to build FTH and lay fibre along railways and electricity routes.

Other areas are proceeding slowly, such as the digitisation of cultural artefacts. While a state Register of National Heritage has been created, it covers only a fraction of artefacts. It is known for instance that many culturally important books originally in Moldova are now in Russia, but there are no precise records of which ones or how many. Digitisation of national heritage and folklore is fragmentary, though a couple of Websites are online 165. Each of the three national museums has its own database, but they are not interoperable.

2. Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development The benefits of the product labelling system appear to be immediate and substantial. In the case of medicines, the introduction of the system resulted in a large reduction in the sale of counterfeits and in illegal importation, and a significant rise in taxes.

Finally switchover to Digital Broadcasting in Moldova is scheduled for June 2015. There is still considerable work to do in terms of implementing the broadcast and multiplex infrastructure, relating to the provision of set-top boxes, national and regional coverage, and in getting greater public understanding of the process and goals. In December 2008, National Council on Audio and Visual (NCAV) decided to interrupt the licence of the private PRO TV channel. This decision, later suspended, questioned the independence of the national broadcasting regulator in practice, and furthermore put to the fore the issue of compliance of Moldova’s audiovisual legislation with EU standards.

Error! Reference source not found. shows the value of medicine sales more than doubling between 2005, when the system was introduced, and 2006, caused by a major drop in illegal sales and a corresponding rise in the amount of VAT revenue generated. The economic downturn is credited with having caused a fall again in 2008, though to nowhere near the 2005 figures. It is estimated that black market sales fell from about 10% of all medicines in 2004 to 0.4% in 2008; and cases

163 164 GÉANT - Gigabit European Advanced Network Technology - is the pan-European data network dedicated to research and education 165 See and



3. Hindering and Helping Factors to Information Society Development

of counterfeit producers fell from ten in 2004 to zero in 2008. The cost of the labelling system is calculated to be less than €0.02 (two cent) per label.

The introduction of ICTs within organisations can lead to significant worries among staff. There is concern that jobs may be lost, and that workers will be replaced by computers. A reluctance to change work practices has also been reported, particularly where new skills and disciplines are to be used. The introduction of an e-document system, for instance, allows for precise tracking within a bureaucratic system, and also to the possibility of the pace of work being monitored more closely. It was reported that such was the concern with the introduction of ICTs in the Public Prosecutors office that staff were given a two week deadline to learn and deploy the system, or leave the job to others.

The online register of business electronic licences launched in January 2009 generated 22,700 hits in its first five months of operation. The register allows business people to check the status of prospective partners before signing a contract with them. Before the register was accessible electronically to the public, entrepreneurs had to apply in writing and pay approximately 3 Euros to check on the licensing status of a potential partner; a reply would then typically take 30 days. The same information is now available online for free. The register also precludes periodic visits by the police or tax authorities to check on licenses as a pretext to extort a bribe. Businesses, when receiving a surprise visitor, can now use the online register to prove their license is valid 166.

For e-services, the lack of widespread access to internet at local level is also an issue. The vast majority of households lack internet access, and public points of access are few. The relative high cost of internet connectivity (5 -10 times higher in CIS countries in per capita affordability terms) is also a hindering factor. The non-sharing facilities of telecom companies (including ducts, masts, etc.) are partially responsible for the high costs and hampering development. Local government offices and staff tend to have little training or funding to offer ICT services. Yet local level implementation and access of e-services is believed to be critical to their widespread acceptance and use.

For the State Tax Service Declaratia Rapida speeds the availability of the information from tax declarations. Currently the State Tax Inspectorate’s IT arm, FiscServInfrom, has 67 people working in 2 shifts whose only job is to transcribe taxpayer paper declarations. Also it is estimated that at the moment Moldovan taxpayers need 228 hours per year to complete their declarations 167 while with Declaratie Rapida that figure should be less than 200 hours. The ‘Leap’ schools programme has already led to a significant growth in third level students in ICT subjects, in both quality and quantity. The Polytechnic, for instance, had about 80 students annually in ICTs subjects in 2005, and it has now risen to almost 500. The number of graduates is also rising, and demand is such that they are reportedly starting employment with higher wages than their lecturers! Benefits are also spreading to the community. Students are getting their families interested in the internet, and many schools are opening access to wider families and community.

The e-taxation project also points to issues of access. A relatively high annual fee of €250 probably discourages some users. But many more simply do not have the reliable internet access needed to use the service; and there is also as yet little awareness of its existence. More users may lead to reduced fee, but investing in promotion may yield little in the absence of better internet access for the public – e-services face a challenge in finding a way past this cycle. It was anticipated that a centralised Electronic voters’ list would be available for e-voting for the elections in April 2009. However, this project was abandoned, partly because of lack of resources. The CEC made arrangements for the conventional voters’ list to be used again, which was unfortunate, given the unsatisfactory manner in which the current system is regulated by the municipalities, and the lack of quality and uniformity in the voters’ registers, between different municipalities 168.

It is understood that some benefits will be felt only in time. For instance, the facility to produce bio-metric passports may in the long term facilitate visas for travel, especially to the EU. They are already available for purchase but the cost of obtaining one is more than for a standard passport.

166 SAID-BIZTAR project 167 According to ˝Doing Business˝ reports, 168 Council of Europe- Report on Observation of the early parliamentary elections in the Republic of Moldova (29 July 2009)




Changes of government have taken their toll in Moldova as they are preceded and followed by periods of relative uncertainty during which decisions are often postponed, or plans and activities that had been long in preparation dropped. A new government can also mean a loss in institutional memory and of experience. This may have been a factor in the apparent current lack of coherence in relation to e-services and the e-government Portal. At present, the official Portal is lying unused, awaiting clear guidelines on whose has authority over each of the services; who should invest in developing the Portal, and some relatively minor legal changes.

On the basis of a referendum, Montenegro declared independence from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro on 3 June 2006. Montenegro is an official candidate for membership in NATO, having been offered a Membership Action Plan (MAP) by the alliance in 2009. Montenegro applied to join the European Union on 15 December 2008, and having delivered its answers to the European Commission questionnaire in end 2009, the Commission’s opinion will be submitted to the Council in the course of 2010.

4. Conclusions 1. Progress with the Information Society Important milestones have been reached in the implementation of e-government such as the creation of key e-registers fully interoperable, as well as the design of unique Information Systems. Citizens and businesses are starting to benefit from the fruits of such efforts and more applications are being developed. Whether the political momentum will be able to sustain the effort and counter the effects of the economic crisis will be crucial to the development of the Information Society in Moldova.

BASIC STRUCTURES The start of the process of reforming the ICT sector in Montenegro can be pinpointed to the year 2000. In 2001 Montenegro introduced a new Telecommunication Law, amended in 2008 and adjusted to EU directives under the name ˝Law on Electronic Communications˝. Since 2001, Montenegro has adopted several significant pieces of legislation such as the E-commerce Law; Intellectual protection Law; and the Central Register Law, all aligned to EU legislation 169. The Government of Montenegro adopted its first strategy on the Information Society in 2004, recognising as key priorities the development of the Information Society and electronic services for the public and the private sector. Realizing the need for further improvements in the utilization of ICTs, and in line with e-SEE Initiative processes, at the end of December in 2008 the Government created the Ministry for Information Society 170. The responsibility for ICT development had previously been part of the Republic’s Secretariat for Development mandate. The present Ministry is responsible for the coordination of Information Society development and implementation of the Strategy for Information Society Development of Montenegro 2009 – 2013 171. The Minister for Information Society is also Deputy Prime Minister, and thus in a position to influence and coordinate other ministries and entities in implementing the e-SEE Agenda+ objectives.

169 170 171



Key aspects, such as the legislative framework and infrastructure policy, are the responsibility of the Ministry of Marine Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications 172, and other Ministries look after their respective areas.

t t t t t

Since its establishment, the Ministry for Information Society has focused on implementing the Information Society Strategy, producing an annual Information Society Action Plan updated each year 173. Its goal is to create an enabling environment for the Information Society, implementing certain elements and actively coordinating the inputs across different Ministries, and working with others on a number of projects such as Information security, e-signatures, and e-government services. For each approved project, a Council is formed bringing together the relevant Ministries and other stakeholders, and overseeing the implementation teams within the Ministries. The Ministry also coordinates the provision of information to the Ministry for European Integration.

A central component of effective e-services for government is now in place with the creation of a system for electronic signatures. The Ministry for Information Society regards the launch of e-services for government as currently their most pressing challenge, and some progress has been made over the last year. Recent developments include the signing of an Electronic Document Management System (eDMS), managed and implemented by the Ministry. The system, with the Project still in its infancy, is intended to cover government and all Ministries. Launch of the initial set of services is expected to coincide with the relocation of government to new buildings, the plan being to hold the first paperless government meeting in their new office around mid 2010.

The need for up-to-date information and benchmark indicators for the information society is recognised, and the Ministry is planning to produce data for 2009 by early 2010, working with the Statistical Office which is deploying the Eurostat methodology. The Gender Equality Office of the Government of Montenegro established in 2003, developed with the assistance of UNDP and UNIFEM the Action Plan for the Achievement of Gender Equality in Montenegro (2008-2012). This was adopted by the government in 2008. The Action Plan includes a chapter on ICTs with the goals of reducing the digital gap between women and men and increasing the number of ICT literate women, especially Roma and rural women 174.

Although the law on e-signature for government was signed in 2003 and the legal infrastructure is in place, the government EDMS will be the first application in practice. A system for qualified e-signatures for the use of citizens and business is not yet available. The 2010 Information Society Action Plan will see the beginning of work on government to business e-services. Among the plans are services to allow electronic payment of taxes, obtaining construction licenses, filing and obtaining environmental reports, and an e-legal service to follow services. A computerised Business Registry will be launched for quick and easy registration of businesses, though initially not available online.

SERVICES FOR GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESSES Key sections of the Information Society Strategy and the associated Action Plans are: t t t

E-business and E-banking; E-government; Institutional and regulatory framework; European goals and standards; E-health.

ICT infrastructure; E-education; Registers of the population;

SERVICES FOR PEOPLE In general, information on government services can readily be accessed online by the public, but it is spread between different locations. The existing e-government portal 175, which was designed on the principles of the Annex I of the e-SEE Agenda+, also provides information but with only very limited interactivity to the user public.

172 173 The 2009 plan is contained at the end of the Strategy above. 174 Action Plan for the Achievement of Gender Equality in Montenegro (2008-2012) available at




There has been some progress in e-education at primary and secondary, with the pace of development increasing. The key player, the Ministry of Education and Science has prioritised the introduction of ICTs in education system. The beginning of 2003 saw the launch of a major project, MEIS (Montenegro Educational Information System), defining the specific methods, resources and technologies required for the implementation of the information society within education. Progress so far includes:

The 2010 Action Plan, however, prioritises the development of a set of online e-services for citizens, building on progress in a few areas. In general, this involves the creation of a set of integrated databases, initially available in offices, but later directly online. The Ministry for Information Society has developed a Central Population Registry, available as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for people to obtain birth, marriage and death certificates, registration numbers, and other civil data in one place, across all municipalities. In 2008, an e-legal service was developed in 2008 and tests are currently underway, set to be available also at the municipality level. This will enable citizens and businesses to track each step in legal processes.


In media and culture, the legal framework including Laws on Electronic Media, Museums, Archives, and Cultural Goods of State Importance have all been drafted and are currently under discussion, but there are as yet few practical developments of e-services.


Inevitably delays can be experienced at project level. A National Programme for the Digitalisation of Libraries, with a three year Action plan to December 2008, has not yet yielded the expected results to the disappointment of the Ministry for Culture, Sport and Media. Library Documents are being scanned, under the guidance of a Council, but full digital archiving has not commenced.




All secondary schools have an internet connection and are equipped at minimum with a LAN, a PC for administration, and a computer classroom/lab; Of a total of about 200 primary schools, 162 are ICT equipped, 80 of these (mostly very small rural schools), however, without permanent internet connection; A school portal for teachers has been developed to allow them to share learning materials, form discussion groups and so forth; Each school is also getting its own Website, and a competition for the best Website design is running to offer encouragement; An extra-curricular course on Website development is running very successfully (see further on).

Montenegro was previously connected to the Academic Research Network of Yugoslavia (AMREJ). After the establishment of the confederation of Serbia and Montenegro, each republic assumed greater responsibility for its own affairs and this led to the establishment of the Montenegrin Research and Education Network (MREN) in 2005. Upon independence in June 2006, MREN became the official national research and education network of Montenegro. Montenegro has also been active in developing MREN in terms of internal and external connectivity and services. The Centre for Information Systems, within the University of Montenegro is the technical manager of the Montenegro Research and Education Network 176, connecting universities campuses, an academy and two ministries (a total of 28 buildings). The network, currently running at 3 mbits, is also connected to GEANT (the European high speed academic network) and SEERAN, with plans to raise GEANT connectivity to 34 mbits next year. The national infrastructure is provided by Telekom Montenegro at no cost under a 15 year contract, though the Network pays for external connections and access to the internet. The Centre is also developing additional services in e-education. Video conferencing is used to connect different faculties and campuses for simultaneous lectures; and a Learning Management System has been created to support distance learning from home, using web based interactions, including the completion of examinations.

In December 2009, the Ministry of Education and Science in partnership with Microsoft Montenegro launched an on-line magazine ˝Prozor˝ 177 whose aim is to facilitate the exchange of experiences among teachers in the educational system of Montenegro, and to present examples of good teaching practices particularly the use of technology in education, e-learning.



The Department for Gender Equality was set up in 2003, initially as part of the General Secretariat’s office, but moved to the Ministry for Human and Minority Rights in May 2009. The Department’s has a wide remit including gender equality, violence against women, and economic issues. Their 2008-2012 Action Plan does acknowledge a gender gap in the information society, particularly in ICT education, and recognises the need to close the digital gap between men and women generally, and to raise the digital literacy of Roma women and rural women. The Department collaborated with an NGO, the Institute for Strategic Studies and Prognoses, to produce a report in 2008 with the title of FEMINICT analysing the current digital divide in Montenegro and the role of women in the ICT, through various practical examples. Although the study identifies some improvements made in terms of the role of the women and steps taken to overcome cultural divide and the barriers, it notes the need for further improvements to increase women participation in ICTs.




It will be some time, however, before these ambitious actions can be consolidated and their success judged.

The institutional arrangements needed to support the physical infrastructure are proceeding: a Law on Information Security is expected to pass in the first quarter of 2010. And the Ministry for Information Society plans to establish a Computer Emergency response Team, and a National Security Centre.

The Top Level Domain name for Montenegro, .me, has been available for some time and is managed by the Centre for Information Systems. The choice of letters has enabled the commercialisation of the domain name beyond national borders, and its sale generated about €5 million during 2008. As noted, a National Digital Broadcasting Switchover Strategy has been adopted, and the target for the introduction of digital broadcasting services is April 2012. The Broadcasting Agency of Montenegro will be the licensing agency for digital switchover and oversees the change. The Agency feels that the switch to digital broadcasting raises a number of issues in terms of the affect it will have on the media landscape nationally and regionally, not just in technical terms, but also relating to social issues. It may, for instance, result in fewer channels with associated concentration of ownership an issue is that Montenegro has a large number of local level television channels, some supported by municipalities. Such local channels, with the right regulation and structures, can strengthen democratic participation as well as local cultural production and identity.

Other policy and regulatory developments include: t


The preparation of a National Broadband Strategy as part of the bSEE Taskforce, covering a 4 to 5 year period, fully in line with EU requirements and with the objective of raising the number of broadband subscribers from the current 5.5 to 25 per 100 population. Funding would come from the Greek government, INA (Informatics Research Institute, Greece), and with the political support of the RCC (Regional Cooperation Council), with contributions from the Ministry of Telecommunications and the Ministry of IS. Working closely with the government of Montenegro, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is financing the preparation of a draft regulation on universal service provision, including the Quality of Service (QoS) and speed for broadband.

2. Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development

Under the regulator, the Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services, the issuing the licenses has been greatly simplified. There are three mobile operators, none dominant, and all offer 3G services. Overall, telephony tariffs are comparatively low, and they also offer a fixed mobile telephony service at low cost for rural users.

Montenegro has one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates in the region (185.51% at the end of 2008) 179. The internet penetration rate is 40, 7 % with only 3.45 % access to broadband. 180 ICTs in health care (e-Health) is an area in which significant benefits can be obtained through providing better management, an expansion of medical access, and improved care. Benefits can accrue to everyone, patients and health care providers, through information such as health portals, advice on healthy lifestyles, advices and consultations via e-mail; accessible medical data on electronic health card, and through systems for the monitoring of vital life functions at a distance.

Current broadband access is a mixture of ADSL, Cable, 3G and Wimax, covering over 100,000 of the total of 190,000 households in Montenegro. However, the hope is that Montenegro could become a ‘testbed’ for Next Generation Networks (NGNs). A pilot for FTH (Fibre To the Home) is underway by T-COM 178, intending to extend to the capital Podgorica in 2010; and a mobile operator is planning to implement LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G in the near future. External fibre links are also being expanded and Serbia and, by undersea cable, to Italy. Furthermore the nationally owned electricity company is in partnership with an Italian company to build a national fibre network.

In Montenegro, the reform of the health system has progressed especially in primary health care. Significant attention is paid to the development of information system (e-Health), to support all reform activities and ensure integration of business processes and data on the level of the primary system, as well as building the foundation to upgrade other parts of the system.

178 T-COM is a subsidiary of Telekom Montenegro, the former public operator privatised in 2005 and now owned by Deutsche Telecom. T-Mobile, among others, is also part of the group.

179 This is based in SIM cards issued, many of which may be inactive or secondary ones. 180 Data from the Agency of electronic communications and postal services of Montenegro



The human capacity to deal with complex aspects of the Information Society is a second area of need. It should be noted that small countries often face the same set of challenges and onerous obligations as larger ones, their smaller scale doing little to mitigate the scale of the work involved.

This includes the development of information systems to enable more efficient consumption and use of resources in all areas and comparison between them. Thus opportunities will increase for better management in health care institutions and system in general. This reform is implemented by the Council for Privatization under its project ˝Strategic Development of the Republic Fund for health insurance to 2011”.


If the experience of elsewhere is anything to go by, Montenegro can expect immediate dividends from the deployment of its e-government eDMS during 2010. But Montenegro already offers a good example of where benefits can accrue from only a very small investment, in the extra curricular course in Web-development mentioned above, undertaken as a collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the Bureau of Education (responsible for approving the National curricula). There years ago very few students had ICT experience and, encouraged by the Minister, the Ministry prepared and proposed extra curricular (non-obligatory) courses on the ICT skills. The Ministry deployed only internally available resources, trained their teachers and developed the final examination testing. This approach has proved to be successful, both in terms of the approved number of ICT courses and participants, with this now being the third most popular extra curricular course nationally, but also in terms of financial benefits as it delivered significant results from modest funding.




3. Hindering and Helping Factors to Information Society Development Plans to develop the information society in Montenegro have been affected by the reduced availability of public funds in general, as well as by uncertainties in private investment. Although EU support from pre-accession funds, and the ISP and IPA activities of the 7th Framework R&D Programme, is relatively stable for participating projects and programmes, national sources have come under pressure. The 2009 Information Society Action Plan has seen its central funding cut from a planned €9 million to about €5 million resulting in the effective postponement (though not the cancellation) of many activities. This further extends the list of planned projects which the Ministry of Information Society believes could yield a high rate of return, even in the short term.

The Ministry for Information Society is lacking sufficient budget not only to implement all planned projects but also to cover the costs of its staff and administration. As a result, the Ministry currently operates with fewer staff than anticipated or required. A pressing task for the Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services is also to finalise the market overview analysis, a complex analysis that will in turn allow it to develop the Cost Model of operates. Such a dynamic cost model is an essential tool for regulators enabling them to estimate to calculate the ‘real’ cost of service provision. This will help them to resolve any disputes on different claims by the operators, including the cost of LLU and interconnection charges. The Department of Electronic Communication and Post has a very small number of staff, yet deals with a wide range of international policy and regulatory bodies each with its own set of demands, including the ITU, WARC (on international radio frequency allocations) and European Union Directives. The Broadcasting Agency of Montenegro would like to have a better understanding, and more public debate, on issues surrounding the digital switchover, which could as noted above have serious consequences, but could also offer significant benefits. The distribution of benefits in terms of the ‘digital dividend’ - the spectrum released after analogue broadcasting ceases - as well as the use of the new digital channels available, are subjects for both expert consideration and public concern.

The issue of motivation and high staff turnover was raised by the Ministry of Education and Science, whose skilled software developers need additional training and capacity building. Pedagogical aspects of learning management systems (i.e. training of trainers in LMS) has been suggested, and SEE region has experts who could help in this. Currently, each school has a nominated ICT coordinator, and there are 10 regional coordinators who could be trained by the staff at the Ministry to ensure they gain the appropriate skills. Extra training and development opportunities provided by the Ministry would discourage its staff from moving into the private sector.

An interesting case is the further exploitation of the .me domain, TLD. The Ministry has reserved certain uses, such as ‘’ and ‘’ and others, with a view to developing a partnership with a private company to commercialise the name abroad. However, the €150,000 required to develop this is not immediately available. The plan would be to offer these for free in Montenegro, but to charge commercial rates to users outside.



The issue of weak inter-relationships between Ministries and difficulties in coordination was also raised, particularly where the leading Ministries have not allocated sufficient resources or provided support to particular areas agreed within the ICT agenda (as in the case of national archives and the slow pace of their digitalisation).

ROMANIA Romania joined the European Union on January 1st 2007. Since 2005 Romania has attached itself to the work of the Taskforce for Broadband (bSEE) by accepting to follow the bSEE Action Plan. Moreover, Romania has shown interest in the work of the e-SEE Initiative and has acted as an observer for a number of years, before formally deciding to join the Initiative by signing the e-SEE Agenda + on 29th October 2007 in Sarajevo. Romania, as EU member, has in many ways been supportive to the e-SEE Initiative process, and has acted as provider of good practice for the region.

Concerns were raised about uncertainties in the development of fibre infrastructure, as well as the high cost of access to backbone broadband. T-COM in many areas owns both fibre and the pipes/ducting through which it runs and has a monopoly on the service. For instance the Centre for Information Systems (which runs the Montenegro Research and Education Network) is uncertain as to whether it can run its own fibre to the new campus building of the University of Montenegro, or whether they will be obliged to utilise the T-COM pipes at a significant tariffs.

1. Progress with the Information Society BASIC STRUCTURES

Along the same lines, the Ministry for Information Society has noted the need for coordination between the development and running of infrastructure (including servers and wide area networks) and e-services, some of which currently lack supporting infrastructure. The importance of interoperability is defined in the new Strategy for Development of Information Society (2009-2013) as an aspect of the vision on modern administration.

While Romania’s income level remains one of the lowest in the European Union, reforms have led to some growth. The e-readiness index for Romania has grown steadily since 2003. In 2008, Romania was at 45th place in the world, unchanged from 2007 181 but well ahead all South Eastern European countries.

Progress on gender equality and ICTs, it is perceived, depends largely on individual awareness among the key actors in government and institutions. Awareness raising workshops, to reach the right people and highlight the current issues, may be useful there. Those directly involved in gender equality issues strongly feel that gender equality should be included throughout the Information Society Action Plan e.g. in education at all levels and in public campaigns.

The new National Strategy on Digital Romania – e-Strategy for an Information Society began implementation at the end of 2009, developed by the the Ministry of Communications and Information Society (MCIS) 182. It was designed to act as a roadmap. There are three objectives: t

4. Conclusions The dynamics of ICT development of Montenegro launched early on by the government have put the country in a favourable position in the region. The advantages of the country’s size are also a disadvantage as costs tend to be higher and resources fewer. In April 2009, the government of Montenegro commissioned the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts to prepare a development document “Montenegro in the 21st Century”. This further reinforces the commitment in Montenegro to move towards a knowledge-based society.

The first concerns the capacity of public institutions to develop the potential of e- services. These objectives are based on a SWOT analysis and evaluation of data regarding the preparation level for implementation of e-services.

181 The Economist, E-readiness rankings 2008 , available at 182 Based on the Law no. 329/2009 published in the Official Monitor no. 761 of 9 November 2009, the Agency for Information Society Services was reorganized into 2 national Centers: the National Center for Information Society Management will manage and operate the National Electronic System, Electronic Procurement System, Electronic Information System for awarding transport permits and ABA, while the National Center “Digital Romania” will ensure that Point of ˝Contact Unique˝ electronic strategic project in the context of the Services Directive (Directive 2006/123/EC). At this moment, the two national centers are in the process of selecting their staff.



t t

The second is derived from the European Union recommendations and provisions from existing Romanian legal framework, being related to the priority supply of services or to their quality. The third is related to the characteristics of an e-Romania portal.

1. Support the use of information technology including high-speed Internet connections for SMEs and NGOs, development of high-speed communications infrastructure in disadvantaged areas, and schools to connect high-speed Internet 2. Develop and increase efficiency of modern electronic public services (e-government, interoperability of electronic systems, e-Education and e-Health), where beneficiaries are central or local public institutions

e-Government is part of a wider ICT/Information Society strategy, and focuses mainly on back office infrastructures and services. Political responsibility lies within the Ministry of Interior and Administrative Reform (MIRA), whilst the dedicated Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has executive control. Within the MCIS, AISS set up in 2008 is responsible for implementing policy and operating the systems that provide e-Government public services at national level.

3. Development of e-economy dedicated to supporting SMEs for the introduction of electronic systems (software and hardware) in the companies or the development of electronic commerce. Romania boasts a well-articulated and non-discriminatory legal framework although not explicitly as a part of the ICT policy. The European Commission emphasised in the evaluation document Agenda 2000 that in the field of equal opportunities, the national Romanian legislation covers the provisions of the Community legislation on non-discrimination on account of gender. The steps for improving the legislation concerning equal opportunities between women and men have been created through the ratification of the Revised European Social Charter; the adoption of the National Action Plan for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (2000) and the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (2002).

The State allocated €10m for the creation of the e-Romania Portal. The contract involves securing a framework agreement with a single operator, for a period of 45 months. e-Romania would integrate other subsystems such as: e-Justice, e-Agriculture, e-Environment, e-Transport, e -EMS, e-Civil servants, e-Tourism, e-Culture, e-Statistics, e-Education, e-Citizen, e-Association, and e-Health. To date the e-Romania portal is still in development. It is being created by the MCIS with the support of the National Institute of Research and Development in Informatics (NIRDI and AISS). The Portal will be providing services from government at the national level as well as integrating portals at the county or city levels. MCIS has signed protocols with universities to ensure to e-Romania a high level of reliability and compliance in information.

In 2002, Romania hosted the Pan-European Preparatory Ministerial Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society entitled ˝Building a Gender Sensitive Information Society˝. At governmental level, at the initiative of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, a Consultative Inter-Ministerial Commission on Equality of Treatment for Men and Women (CODES) was established to ensure a permanent exchange of information on the experience and measures in the field of gender equality and the elaboration of recommendations for the authorities of the central public administration. The Commission monitors the application of the provisions of the National Plan of Action for equal opportunities between women and men in sector policies as well as the progress achieved. In 2008, Romania Gender Development Index (GDI) was notably high being second only to Sweden.

Pursuant to the ’Emergency Ordinance on the service providers’ freedom to establish and provide services in Romania’, the points of single contact (’ePCU’), called for by the EU Services Directive, are under the implementation procedure in Romania. According to the national document for the transposition of this Directive, the ePCU will be operational during 2010.Through these, providers from the EU Member States will be able to easily complete, from a distance and by electronic means, the necessary procedures and formalities for accessing and exercising service activities in Romania. The ePCU is part of the National Electronic System (SEN), the infrastructure of the national e-Government portal: The European Union European Regional Development Fund awarded a grant for the 2007- 2013 period of approximately 385 million euros for three purposes:




The Romanian e-Procurement (e-licitatie) system 188 was launched in March 2002. Since then, the system has assisted in the award of more than one million public acquisitions. Since January 2007, all government public procurement announcements must be published on the national portal ( and are transferred to the EU Official Journal. It has thus become easier and faster for companies to participate in public procurement by simplifying access to information and to the bidding process, especially important for SMEs. Pursuant to the new public procurement legislation (2006) that has brought Romanian Procurement legislation in compliance with EU provisions, all Romanian contracting authorities must publish on e-licitatie their Public Procurement notices. Company wishing to learn about contracts with the Romanian government can visit the national e-procurement website and register as a supplier.

Romania stands now at 45% of the 20 basic online services identified by the EU 183. The existing e-government services are now located in the site and should soon be included in the e-Romania government portal. After having requested an electronic certificate from former ASSI, companies can submit their declarations online 184 for employee social contributions, VAT, income tax and corporate tax. The electronic submission system was extended to all contributors including individuals through the web page of the National Agency for Fiscal Administration 185. Three companies have received accreditation as Certification service providers and deliver qualified certification.

Since 19 May 2009, small and medium business taxpayers of Bucharest and the Ilfov county have the option of submitting online their “Declaration regarding the payment duties towards the social insurance budget and the unemployment budget of the National Employment Agency” 189. As a first step, the service has been extended to all legal taxpayers of Bucharest and the Ilfov county. Legal entities wishing to make use of this feature must request a digital certificate to the Agency for the Information Society Services (ASSI). The partnership between ASSI and the National Employment Agency (ANOFM) aims at enhancing the users’ trust by means of regulated and secure systems.

Registration of a new company can be done online 186. The e-forms service provides access to the intelligent forms that can be electronically signed and sent to the competent authority. The registration process can be completed in 3 days. The electronic collection system of statistical data e-statistica has been in operation since 2004 and is accessible through the National Institute of Statistics page 187.

The Romanian State Treasury Electronic Payment System (STEPS) within the Ministry of Finance has a centralized payment system that allows all transactions to be performed online in real time. All clients (citizens and entities paying or collecting taxes) are directly placing their payment orders to the Treasury, which processes and consolidates them to the central payment engine. The Treasury collections are then routed to the clients’ accounts, and the transfers (payments and collections) are centralized, providing a base for cash management and forecast features. Romania claims to be the first State Treasury in Europe to implement a range of operations and a level of commissions available previously only to a commercial bank, while still maintaining the stability and credibility of a State institution – which in the current financial and economic crisis is a major advantage. The system was designed to be compliant with the standards and regulations of SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area) eliminating future issues of interoperability.

The online customs declarations service allows declarations to be filled in online for all types of companies and agents that perform activities in this sector. This service ensures authentication of users through digital certificates. The next stage of development of the online customs declarations service will allow electronic payments through banks, which will offer remote payment services. This service currently functions in a restricted access regime. Romania was among the first countries in the world to use a government-wide e-procurement system at such a large scale and for so large and diversified number of products.

183 184 185 186 187

188 189 Through the site





Income taxes declaration forms 190 may be signed electronically according to the legislation in force and sent to the agencies through electronic means that guarantee delivery. Payment of local taxes via the Internet is currently used in 50% of the Romanian municipalities. Online payment of taxes is possible as is the payment of fines 191.

t t t t

An online job search of labour offices database has been available since 2002, operating under the National Agency for Occupation and Labour (ANOFM) 192. Online applications can be done through the Electronic Labour Mediation Service site 193 (Serviciul Electronic de Mediere a Muncii, SEMM) managed by the Ministry of Labour, Family and Information on social security benefits, child allowances, unemployment insurance and benefits procedures, and reimbursement of medical costs are available online, and forms can be downloaded but must be filled in by hand and brought back to the office.

Provide evidence of the insured persons and of the medical services suppliers through creating and administering the National Registry of Insured Persons and the National Registry of Medical Services Suppliers; Make the data reports to medical services suppliers more efficient; Ensure uniformity in the application of the norms and legislation at national level; Keep records and control of costs for each person insured; Provide an online and offline interfaces for the interconnection with entities outside the system and with the medical and pharmaceutical service suppliers.

In 2009, the national electronic prescription which allows following the patient’s medication record was implemented 194. The e-health portal will be integrated in the e-Romania portal. The National Person Identity System is being gradually put in place. The 13 digit identification number each Romanian possesses will allow the procurement of ID cards, passports and driver’s license 195. For the latter a pilot online service is available on the e-guvernare portal.

In Romania, several e-Health strategies were adopted in the nineties by the Ministry of Public Health (MPH), and after 2000 in cooperation with the MCIS.

Building permits are issued by the Local Public Administration, only partly over the Internet. Indeed, before the final permit is issued, other certificates such as the certificate of Urbanism need to be submitted in paper form. Some Local Councils, however, have developed the Sole-Central Permit, a one-stop service for issuing all certificates.

In 2008, MPH announced a National e-Health Strategy for Romania (2008-2010) for integrated health services information system, with patient monitoring. The National Centre for Organising and Ensuring the Health Information System (NCOEHIS) is responsible for introducing in the Romanian healthcare environment a set of regulations and standards, mainly for coding, recommended also for e-Health projects. A project for a Computerised System for Health Insurance in Romania (SIUI) is underway. It is designed to: t Collect and manage the economic and medical information necessary for the efficient operation of the Health Insurance System; t Increase transparency regarding the control and management of the budgetary funds the National Health System;

In the cultural field, the Ministry of Culture is implementing the PHARE 2006 for integrated information management system for the protection of movable cultural heritage and cultural assets, with a budget of 1.75 million Euro. The purpose is to improve the capacity of ministries and subordinate bodies involved in protecting cultural assets to combat illegal trade and export, and theft, destruction and forgery of cultural property. A web-based integrated MIS system for Mobile Cultural Heritage (such as artefacts, paintings, etc.) was developed and implemented within the project, so it can be accessed by the different partners both from their private networks and the internet. The system can assign each cultural object a label with an associated certificate such as an export certificate (EC), a grading certificate or a certificate of sale.

190 191 192 193

194 The project has a total budget of 88,714,500 lei. 195

On the site



Online catalogue search and reservation facilities are not offered by public libraries such as the National Library. A few libraries, such as the one of the Polytechnic University of Timisoara 196, offer a full list of e-Services.

UNDERLYING INFRASTRUCTURE Almost 4.5 million Romanians have internet connection, almost 2.65 million with access to broadband. 3.42 Romanians have a cable TV subscription 200.

Major universities offer the possibility of enrolling online 197. For instance, the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca website 198 provides a module for online registration for final exams (bachelor, master diploma) and a module for students attending the courses; online registration for exams that students have failed and for improving their marks.

A National Broadband Strategy was adopted by the government for the period 2009-2012. To support the development of broadband infrastructures and services, MCIS has secured EU Structural Funds (approximately €80 million) and the anti-crisis funds (amounting to €60 million - these funds are intended for the 10 counties with the lowest penetration of broadband). MCIS will focus on developing a hybrid infrastructure especially in rural areas. A first step in this regard will be to establish some 345 hotspots (wireless network providing free Internet service in a public area) in every district capital city but also in public areas easily accessible such as Universities, parks, etc. These hotspots are being put into service progressively since June 2009. The implementation of WiMAX type networks will also help to ensure access to broadband services in areas of interest. The MCIS is hoping to reduce the existing digital divide between urban and rural areas and to stimulate information content and increase e-services utilization.

The city of Constanta has introduced an e-Petitions management system 199 in which citizens can file their petitions online and follow its resolution course. At any time citizens can trace the location of their document (which Department or employee holds it) and how it has been resolved, if the due time of the resolution has expired and for how many days, and if the answer has been sent and how. The ambitious SEI national programme for e-learning is a complex programme initiated by the Ministry of Education and Research in 2001 whose basic objective is to support teaching-learning in undergraduate education with cutting-edge technologies. The programme supports the objectives of education reform under the eEurope 2005 Action Plan, launched by the European Union as part of the European eLearning initiative. It is conducted by a public-private partnership. The first stage of the programme was implemented in secondary education. Each school in Romania now has at least one computerized educational platform i.e. a combination of technology, computers, Internet, electronic multimedia educational content, methodology and teacher training for teaching mathematics, biology, physics, chemistry, Romanian, history, etc. SEI is designed as an integrated national network composed of local and regional solutions. Each computer lab installed in schools is itself an integrated solution, ready to be used by teachers and students. IT laboratories (local solutions) are integrated into a logical network comprising all the schools in a region. All regional systems are in turn integrated into a national network connected to the Internet and controlled by SEI Program Management Unit. There are currently 1,510 platforms installed in schools and training centres, where a typical platform contains 25 computers, a server, printer and other equipment. A total of 600 high schools were connected to broad-band internet; and 530 educational modules are available for teaching in high schools. 196 197 198 199

The Romanian Government plans to switch to digital terrestrial television on January 1, 2012 by: t t


Achieving full and effective transition from analogue television services to digital TV services in DVB-T type and complete cessation of analogue emissions by January 1, 2012 Find a balanced development of infrastructure to provide digital television services and the implementation of legislative measures necessary to ensure a sharing of digital terrestrial broadcasting infrastructure, such that end users can have access to all existing sources (TV) without needing to be equipped with several receivers (colour, decoder, etc.). Establish optimal solutions provided that the during the switch, analogue transmissions and digital broadcast will be simultaneous.

Since the beginning of 2009, the MCIS has put as a priority the development of interoperability of all state institutions systems with a fund of €10,8 million allocated by the EU for the next four years.

200 Website of National Regulatory Authority: DS%20sem%20I%202009%2027.11_V2.pdf )



The Romanian National Research and Education Network (RoEduNet), is administered by the National Agency for Education and Research Network. The national network for research and education in Romania is a legally registered public institution under the Ministry of Education, Research and Youth. The network is administered centrally in Bucharest with four regional operating hubs in Bucharest, Iasi, Cluj Napoca and Timisoara. The network is linked to the European network GEANT.

The User Experience of Romanian web sites is still lagging behind. Romania received a 0% score in two aspects of User Experience: User Satisfaction Monitoring and User-focused Portal Design. The other indicators show modest results. Usability stands at 25% and the One-Stop-Shop Approach achieves a score of 10% only. In terms of accessibility of the national portal, Romania scores slightly below the EU27+ average 203.

2. Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development

The SEI programme of e-learning was awarded the Good Practice label in the framework of the European e-Government Awards 2009 in the category ˝e-government empowering citizens˝. In 2006, the SEI Educational Portal had 61,400 registered users and 271,198 forum posts. The portal provides also access to university enrolment and exam results 204. In June-July 2009 it registered a record 2.6 million visitors in one week.

Some of the impacts and benefits can be assessed in terms of achieving EU norms and requirements; whilst other relate directly to users of eServices. Such assessment, however, here relies mainly on EU wide comparative research and on awards. In 2007, 9,000 contracting authorities used the public e-procurement and 160,000 notices and invitations to tender were published through e-licitatie. In February 27, 2008 the Romanian Government approved the Decision for the amendment and completion of the norms to enforce provisions pertaining to public procurement contracts assigned through electronic means. Following the adoption of this legislative act, starting in 2008, contracting authorities are compelled to use electronic means for at least 20 % of public procurement. The adoption of this Decision represents an important step towards the fulfilment of the commitments laid down in the Manchester Declaration 201. By signing this declaration, the Ministers responsible for e-Government policies within the EU set out the objective of at least 50 % of public procurement above the European thresholds to be carried out electronically by 2010. Despite this obligation, until 9 November 2009, the Electronic Procurement System recorded a rate of approximately 13% of the total value of procurement conducted by electronic means, Nevertheless, the percentage foreseen for 2010 is 25% of the total annual public procurement using electronic means and for the year 2013 it is estimated to a rate of 40%. Already since the beginning of 2009, 55.295 procurement procedures were initiated of which 19.207 were conducted online. A total of 29.684 procedures were awarded with an estimated value of 21,367,179,240.09 RON (lei). The value at which the procedures were awarded was 16,414,823,173.36, which means cost-saving of 4,952,356,066.73 RON 202 amounting to over 30%.

Given the nation-wide range of operations covered by the State Treasury, on both public and private sectors, the impact and benefits of the STEPS system are huge and they reflect on the citizens (anyone who pays or collects an amount regarding social benefits, social security, health system, education system, unemployment, taxes and fees), by reducing the pressure on the state budget and allowing quicker and cheaper access to the services provided. The system includes a self-adjustable forecasting tool that allows for automated or manual quick decision-making, resulting in an active management of the financial flows, that accounts for a reduction in the interest payments by 30% - an over €10 million return of investment for this application, with benefits for a large range of stakeholders and with an impact in easing the financial flows throughout the whole Romanian economy with multiplication effects. The STEPS received a Good Practise Label in the category ˝e-Government enabling administrative efficiency and effectiveness˝. It is shown that by expanding electronic payment the system has diminished the share of the shadow economy in the country. In a country where 23% of workers receive cash salaries and 50% of citizens are unbanked, this improvement is significant. The loss in tax and social security contribution is estimated at approx. €7 billion. The EU pointed to STEPS as a model which might become the core of the EU state treasury model, and its implementation might be replicated in the European area.

201 The Ministerial declaration on e-Government in the EU signed in Manchester in 2005 and approved in Lisbon 2007 202 4,2 RON = 1 Euro

203 i2010 benchmarking – e-Government benchmark survey 2009 204, and



Although Romania has made important steps forward in the field of gender equality and is moving in the right direction, the pace is not fast enough. There is room to improve progress reporting and transparency (have reports and statistics available); to deliver an extended and diverse ICT educational offer within the non-formal educational system; to enhance collaboration among specialized organisations and bodies at all levels; and to make the agencies and other specialised bodies more visible and active.

Romania has achieved rapid and swift transition to democracy. However, stepping in after a dictatorial regime means that the government needs to build and retain citizen confidence in the ability of the administration to appropriately manage personal information. Hence, the vital ingredient that all public agencies should focus on is the development of trust. While significant steps have been taken to advance the use of technology in public service delivery, there remains a significant gap between those digitally enabled and those not – through either choice or circumstance. Closing this gap is crucial to the economic performance of Romania. And it is important to the social cohesion of the country too.

3. Hindering and Helping Factors to Information Society Development E-procurement in Romania has come a long way from when it began as a pilot project in March 2002. The lack of secure digital technology and long-term procurement strategy hampered implementation. To face those challenges, the Romanian government involved key stakeholders, launched advertising campaigns, created training programmes and put an emphasis on SME-user friendliness. In addition, a gradual implementation and strong political commitment helped to make it successful. The State monopoly on telecommunications with national guidelines until 2007 offered insufficient bandwidth and limited the development of for example RoEduNet network. The transition to the Gigabit Ethernet in 2007 eliminated the congestion of national lines and the increase in bandwidth rose sharply.

Finally Romania like the rest of the world has been confronted with a recession. Being a late starter in the delivery of e-services, the country now faces a double challenge: having to serve the heightened expectations of customers with constrained public resources. While the investment in ICT would have alleviated the budget crisis by drastically reducing spending, Romania will have to face new national challenges such as escalating healthcare costs, an aging society and life-style changes; exacerbated by the imbalance between working and non-working populations. These represent a growing and substantial financial burden on society.

The digital divide that exists between the urban and rural areas and between generations is an important problem in Romania. The problem of e-Skills is a sensitive one; it will be necessary to educate the population, to help evolve the public mentality, and to help citizens understand and develop the ability to use modern technologies. The development of user-friendly, applications and content in native language will be a vital part of any programme designed to accelerate the popular adoption of ICT-based services.

With its steady growth, in line with the EU27+’s average growth rates, Romania is in a good position to step up the pace of developing its e-services to further e-enable its administration and reap the significant benefits and impacts it can procure. Being an example for countries in South Eastern Europe, Romania’s ambitious programmes for integrated e-government are now an example for the EU as well.

4. Conclusions

Out of the 300,000 teachers in Romania, 60,000 from the secondary levels have completed some computer education. The large number of teachers inevitably leads to a certain inertia, but it is also the fear of change that has slowed down the training process 205 which should gain momentum once the critical number of teachers is trained.




REPUBLIC OF SERBIA Serbia was one of six republics that made up the country of Yugoslavia, which broke up in the 1990s. In February 2003, Serbia and Montenegro were the remaining two republics of the rump of Yugoslavia, forming a loose federation. In 2006, Montenegro split from Serbia. With a population of 7.3 million 206 Serbia has submitted its application to EU membership at the end of 2009.

The Gender Equality Board, Government of the Republic of Serbia, and the Gender Equality Directorate at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy 207 drafted a new law on gender equality (to be adopted in the first half of 2010). The National Strategy for Improving the Position of Women and Enhancing Gender Equality (2009-2015) has been adopted in February 2009. It mentions in reference to education that ˝incentive measures to increase the participation of women when it comes to using information and communication technologies (ICT)˝ should be developed.

1. Progress with the Information Society



A Strategy and Action Plan has been developed for e-Government, and a key component of effective e-services for government and business is now in place with the creation of a system for qualified electronic signatures 208. Although the general legal basis 209 has been in place since 2004, the Ministry of the Interior is now fully geared up to issue e-signatures for public servants enabling them to securely access e-government services. In the private sector the Chamber of Commerce is already deploying the same e-signature in a pioneering scheme for e-business services.

Serbia has played a key role in the development of the Information Society in South Eastern Europe. Indeed, throughout the first generation of Electronic South Eastern Europe Initiative (2002-2007), the Initiative was flawlessly chaired by Dr. Marijana Vidas- Bubanja from Serbia. With the formation of the Ministry of Telecommunications the Information Society in May 2007, responsibility for most strategic and legal issues relating to the Information Society and for the e-SEE Agenda were transferred from the National Information Technology and Internet Agency to the Ministry. From January 2009, the e-SEE Agenda+ officially became a direct responsibility for a new Assistant Minister for the Information Society, Mr Nebojša Vasiljević.

A separate chapter in the new Information Society Action Plan will be devoted to improve the environment for and overcoming barriers to e-commerce. Banks are not yet fully oriented towards e-payments and a number of trivial and not so trivial obstacles still exist. e-Government. A recent initiative has been the introduction of an Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) into government deliberations. Although awaiting the e-signature (it is technically ready to be implemented, pending only legal approval), some key components of the system have been deployed since June 2009. All documentation for government meetings and preparatory meetings are now digitised, and there are plans to gradually extend the system into Ministries beginning in 2010. A few of the larger Ministries already have document management systems, raising issues of interoperability.

Since then the Ministry has devoted very considerable time and energy into finalising legislation, strategies and action plans relating to telecommunications and more broadly to the Information Society. This began to bear fruit during 2009 with the launch or imminent emergence of a range of services. An Inter-ministerial Task Force has also been established by the Ministry to overhaul and update the original 2006 National Action Plan for the Information Society, with the new time horizon of 2009 to 2012, encompassing priorities of the e-SEE Agenda+, those outstanding from the original e-SEE Agenda, as well as the needs of EU integration.

207 208 The ‘qualified electronic signature’ is officially validated by the government, and can therefore be used for a wide range of purposes. An ‘unqualified electronic signature’ represents a bilateral agreement, commonly used by Banks. 209 In the Republic of Serbia, the Law on approving e-signatures in principle was passed in 2004, but actual implementation requires further specific enabling legislation in relation to the public service.

206 2009 estimate.



e-Business. Government to business e-services are in one respect ahead of those for citizens. Qualified electronic signatures are already in use by businesses, distributed through a second organisation legally entitled to issue them: the Chamber of Commerce. The first authorised body is the Post Office, which has yet to act on it. In an innovative scheme, the Chamber is distributing for free up to 20,000 e-signature cards to SMEs by March 2010, aiming to build a critical mass of service users. The smart card system comes with a reader that directly plugs into a computer through a USB port, and the card doubles as a credit card for the SMEs using them.

businesses. A second phase saw the creation of City 48, a City Statistical System that monitors all purchases and usage of goods and services by the Municipality (see further on). The approach is now being adopted more widely. Serbia also has a relatively advanced academic research network in terms of its internal and external connectivity and services. The Academic Network of Serbia (AMRES) links about 126 institutions in 50 different locations throughout Serbia, run by staff at the Computing Centre in the University of Belgrade. Since 2000 AMRES has participated in various programmes (initially with support from the EU and the Max Plank Institute) that enabled the gradual growth of its network to a point where they now have about 2,000 kilometres nationally of ‘dark fibre’ running at volumes of up to a gigabit a second, leased from Telecom Serbia. Dark Fibre allows bandwidth to be increased and reduced at will, and is a cost efficient means to transport high volumes of data. They are a part of the European GEANT network 211 and have external links in several directions including a 34 mbits link to Greece, under the SEEREN 2 project 212, 50% funded by the EU and by the government.

The cards can be used initially: t t t

To submit VAT returns and pay online; To provide details of employees to the supervising administration; As a payment gateway to selling goods online.

In collaboration with various authorities, the Chamber is actively planning further e-services including: t t t

Under the more recent SEELight programme 213 this access could rise to as high as 10 gigabits per second, with 80% of the cost coming from the Greek government and the rest from the Serbian government. A tender for the equipment required to connect AMRES members has been issued, expecting to cost about €1 million, with the remainder of the €6.1 million total budget going on bandwidth of a 15 year period. This will be submitted to tender in coming months.

Online submission of customs declaration (In an earlier setback, a single window approach to customs and e-trading documentation was abandoned after funding for a pilot ended.) Applying for and issuing of trading licenses in sectors such as drugs and agricultural goods. An e-procurement platform, for SMEs to engage in bulk buying of goods at lower cost through pooling their requirements.

There has also been some progress in e-education below third level, both primary and secondary. All schools are now equipped with at least one computer and many with computer labs; and all now have access to the internet on a 5 year contract with Telecom Serbia for a token fee. In the future it is hoped to link the schools and the AMRES network.

SERVICES FOR PEOPLE Currently the e-government portal 210 provides information, but only very limited interactivity, to the user public. Services available on other government websites are not standardised, reducing ease of usage. A comprehensive e-government Portal is expected to be launched in February 2010. This is expected to bring at least a basic set of services to almost full online status.

The gender equality gap is acknowledged in the Information Society Action Plan of 2005, though no specific action has yet been taken. At least one NGO, Equal Opportunities, has been active to try to ensure that women, particularly those marginalised, can share in the benefits of the Information Society, with a number of innovative projects.

Below the national level, however, more interesting developments have taken place, led by the municipality of Inđija, a city of about 60,000 people. Building on public sector reforms begun in 2000, ICTs were deployed to launch a one-stop-shop for public services, serving both citizens and

211 Gigabit European Advanced Network Technology 212 213 Funded by the Hellenic Plan for the Economic Reconstruction of the Balkans to acquire access to dark fibre and interconnections in SEE




t t

t t

As noted a National Digital Switchover Strategy has been adopted, and the target for introduction of digital broadcasting services is April 2012. The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Telecommunications and the Information Society are responsible.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Equal Opportunities ran a project to build the capacity of single mothers in computer use, to improve their job prospects and empower them generally. In June 2008, it launched on online course on gender equality, funded by CIDA. Four modules are available, the final one on mainstreaming gender into projects. They are completed at the learner’s own pace. A certificate is awarded on successful completion of a final test. About 3,000 have registered to the course with almost 100 certificates awarded so far. It produced a database of 1,500 women experts in Serbia, compiling and classifying their CVs for use by employers seeking skilled staff and perhaps a better gender balance in their workforce. The number of those obtaining assignments is growing. Funded by OSI, in 2006 Equal Opportunities developed guidelines and checklists for the inclusion of gender issues in ICT policies, circulating them to policymakers and others. In tandem, they authored a number of articles for the press on the benefits of ICTs for women, several of which chose to publish them.

2. Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development The beneficial effects of the implementation of ICTs are not always felt immediately. For example, in e-education it may take a decade or more before results can be seen in young adults better educated and equipped to obtain and create employment, and to deploy effectively the tools of an Information Society. Other areas yield more immediate and tangible benefits, more amenable to assessment. A few illustrative examples are presented below. The government electronic document management system (EDMS). Meetings of government Ministers involve a significant amount of preparation, with agendas comprising 30 or 40 items each with its associated documentation. Before each meeting relevant Committees go through their respective segments of the agenda, checking and compiling the documentation. Each of these documents in turn would have been authorised and physically stamped by the Government Filing Office. Up to recently, simply copying the documentation would require a full day, generating about 1,500 pages for each of twenty eight Ministers.

UNDERLYING INFRASTRUCTURE In December 2008 a two year Action Plan for Telecommunications was launched, although the broadband component of it was extracted and comprises a separate Broadband Strategy in line with the bSEE Action Plan. Several aspects of the plan have been implemented: t t t t t

The EDMS transforms this process in stages. Currently, after being physically authorised, all documents are scanned and turned into PDF files. The Committees review, sort and compile these without ever printing them out. Ministers and others, supplied with personal log in cards (but not yet a full e-signature) receive them in digital form, and can print specific items, if they wish to annotate or otherwise edit hard copy. The Government meetings themselves are now virtually paperless, or have before them greatly reduced volumes of documents.

Competition has been introduced into fixed telephony with a second license now issued. Two new mobile phone licenses have been issued. The scope of universal service has been defined. By-laws have been adopted for the independent regulator, RATEL, empowering it to extend its regulatory activities. RATEL now has much of the executive power relating to telecommunications. A new law on electronic communications is supposed to replace the Telecommunications Law from 2003 and harmonize the regulations in this area with the EU regulatory framework from 2002 with the exception of the functional separation of operations for Telecom Serbia. Public consultations were held at the end of 2009, adoption is foreseen in 2010.

The imminent introduction of secure e-signatures will enable the digital authorisation of documents without a physical stamp, and hence without the need for hard copy. Thus, as Ministries become more automated, documents will in the first place be received by the Filing Office and authorised in digital form, and proceed from there. Furthermore, Ministers and others will be able to directly edit the documents according to their authorised level of access, and collectively or individually store the edited version. In principle, the need for paper will be eliminated.

According to the data taken from the analysis conducted by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, Internet penetration is 39% with 22,9% of Serbian households having broadband Internet connection.



The benefits of this approach are numerous. First is a saving of time and a growth in productivity. A full day is saved on document copying alone, also enabling more timely meetings. With more manageable documentation, Committees and Government meetings get through their business in significantly less time. There is also the cost saving. Those implementing the project, the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society, have calculated that the cost of implementing the project – about €300,000 – will be recouped through savings in the administration process within a period of just 6 to 8 months, thereafter yielding an ongoing budgetary saving.

In time, Inđija Municipality came to be regarded as the most efficient and effective municipality in the country delivering fast modern services to both citizens and businesses, and ultimately underpinning its success as a place to invest, to work and to live. It has been replicated in dozens of municipalities around Serbia. Immediate benefits of the implementation of ICTs are evident from the other activities mentioned above. Those who use the AMRES network have little doubt of its benefits for the research communities. High speed networking afforded by AMRES facilitates research collaboration nationally and internationally, and access to resources, that would otherwise be inconceivable (and still is for some countries in the region). And the Chamber of Commerce e-services not alone save time and money for services, but have been instrumental in opening up new markets such as online selling.

Potentially the greatest benefit may come in the future in the form of enhanced government transparency. With all documentation prepared and edited in electronic form, a relatively small step is needed to make as much as possible available to the public in real time. The Inđija Municipality 214 offers a spectacular example of benefits. Its ICT driven e-services and one-stop-shop approach are largely credited with enabling it to attract a huge volume of inward investment. Of the top 25 global external investment destinations, Inđija came in at number 18, attracting €400 million in just five years. But direct benefits also accrue to the local population in terms of improved services.

3. Hindering and Helping Factors to Information Society Development The realisation of an Information Society that can benefit all sectors of society faces obstacles at every level and in a variety of forms. But innovative solutions are also being found. Sufficient funding, of course, remains a perennial problem especially in the current climate.

One of the services offered by the Inđija Municipality is System 48, a creative replication of the CitiStat system developed in Baltimore, to identify and fix problems in local government. It relies on the active participation of citizens, who can report concerns through various channels, and on proactive management by municipal officials, who use a comprehensive data tracking system and then develop and implement timely and effective solutions to identified problems. Citizens can make a phone call, e-mail or access the website of the municipality to make requests which are automatically routed to make the service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and generate work orders for the appropriate public enterprise or department.

Projects that partner with corporations can, in the right circumstances, be effective. The key is to ensure that both parties can achieve their respective goals, which are often not the same. The Chamber of Commerce e-services project described above is a partnership with Diners Club, the credit card financial institution. Diners Club was seeking a way to expand its customer base in Serbia, and the partnership offered a unique means to recruit up to 20,000 of the most innovative SMEs. The smart cards used for the electronic signature double as Diners Club cards, and the expectation is that many of the SMEs, although under no obligation to do so, will begin to use them as such. A further incentive is offered through Diners Club support for e-commerce. In the past major banks have required guarantees of up to €200,000 as a condition for supporting online sales, beyond the reach of most SMEs. Diners Club, in this scheme, is willing to offer them the service for a guarantee of about €10,000.

Through System 48, Inđija’s public officials have removed illegal waste dumps, improved electricity fee collection, reorganized city lighting, and instituted an automated public parking system. Parking collection rates have doubled and collections have already exceeded the $34,000 investment costreaching $73,000 in the first year alone. Budget expenses have moreover been cut by 15%.




The EDMS project team also made significant savings by being able to negotiate major discounts with suppliers of the system, as the latter treated the high profile project as a loss leader to gain experience and a track record in an expanding market. The project team calculated that the cost to them of about €30,000 had a market value closer to €450,000.

Processes were redesigned, and significant training and support provided. Without this, the one-stop-shop approach would have been impossible to implement. The introduction of ICTs into the process was accompanied by further training and skill development, but just as important was training and education on how to reform from being a bureaucracy executing a set of processes to being an agency focused on serving client needs. Such effective planning and management skills are critical to success, but unfortunately in short supply.

AMRES also faces funding problems: the high and ongoing cost of the high bandwidth they need. They are soon to renegotiate access to the dark fibre from Telecom Serbia, currently costing about €1.0 million a year and paid for by the Ministry for Telecommunications and Information Society. Emphasising the key role played by academics in national development and the non-commercial nature of their activities, they hope to reduce how much they pay out to the state owned operator. In fact, who bears the cost of funding bandwidth for academic and educational use is an ongoing issue in several countries.

Another dimension of capacity needs is demonstrated at AMRES, whose staff are basically IT scientists with little experience of public relations and promoting the major (if informal) enterprise that AMRES has become. They are keenly aware of their limitations in terms of improving relations with and influence among their own member institutions and decision making more widely, and would like to build capacity there, through employing a specialist. Motivating people, and raising their understanding of the potential benefits of ICTs, is also a widespread concern.

Many more projects are planned, that could reap significant benefits, were the funding available. AMRES, for instance, believes that further significant benefits could be gained through the development of additional services. They would like to extend further into e-learning and engage the end users more directly, for instance through building a platform for communications within individual faculties enabling students and staff to work together more closely online. This would considerably improve communications between and among teachers and learning; save time through shared resources, and improve the educational experience through supporting groups working together. A further practical aim is to develop a single authentication system for the many services the academics and students use, greatly simplifying the multiple user names and authentification procedures used by libraries, faculties, discussion groups and resource providers.

As in many countries, most politicians and many government officials have limited experience of ICTs and capacity to use them, and hence require some convincing of the benefits and perhaps incentives to take a risk on them. At the top level, political commitment is especially required to overcome resistance and gain the benefits. The implementation of the government EDMS above is a good illustration of the value of being able to demonstrate, through direct experience, the concrete benefits of a system and how it can motivate action. As a whole the process of implementation of EDMS was relatively straightforward, and rapid. After the initial planning phase, the contract was signed at the end of 2008. The first phase was running by mid June 2009.

The human capacity to deal with complex aspects of the Information Society is a second area of need. RATEL, like most regulators, faces a difficult task in overseeing and policing an ever more complex sector, one in which new licenses have been granted and more will probably follow.

The most interesting point, however, relates to how the partial implementation of the system facilitated its final completion. Once Ministers could view documents in PDF form on their computers, not only did they recognise the immediate benefits but they questioned why they were unable to edit and comment on them directly online. When advised that it would require a relatively minor legislation amendment to introduce a digital signature, the issue was quickly pushed high on the agenda and is expected to pass before the end of the year. What the project team had spent many hours trying to persuade the government of earlier in the year was instantly accepted when the

Programme management skills are also needed for the planning and implementation of large scale projects. The success of the Inđija Municipality was no accident. The project was carefully planned and managed in a sequence of steps, building cumulatively towards an ultimately successful outcome. The first step was to undertake fundamental reform of the system of public administration.




potential benefits could be clearly perceived. This underlines the value of practical demonstrations in influencing policy makers’ understanding of ICT issues.

After the war and the 1999 NATO bombing of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Kosovo came under the interim administration of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), most of whose roles were assumed by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) in December 2008. In February 2008, Provisional Institutions of Self-Government Assembly of Kosovo declared Kosovo’s independence as the Republic of Kosovo. Its independence is recognized by 64 UN Member States (out of 192), and one non UN state. On 8 October 2008, upon the request of Serbia, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution asking the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion on the issue of Kosovo’s declaration of independence. This process is currently ongoing. Based on the e-SEE Agenda+, as the key resource to the e-Leadership Programme for the Western Balkans, reference to Kosovo in this document, if any, does not make references to it as a territory, province, or country, and is made pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

The Chamber of Commerce scheme also tackled the incentive issue among Ministries and agencies. Each of their services has been negotiated and developed with the relevant Ministry, with incentives tailored to the needs. For instance, the SMEs pay a small fee each time they use a service, varying from about €0.20 to under one Euro. In the case of the VAT payment service, support of the VAT office was secured in part through the sharing of this small but growing fee: the VAT office receives 20% of this. For the AMRES, too, one of the challenges for improving their existing services and expanding into new ones is the need to motivate faculty members to put in the extra time needed to initially engage with and then use the system. A couple of universities introduced extra payments for such staff, but resentment among other staff can retard such developments.

1. Progress with the Information Society

Regarding progress on gender equality and ICTs, many sincerely do not perceive that a problem exists at all. But others involved in gender issues point to the patriarchal tradition of society, which not alone generates sometimes subtle barriers to women gaining the full benefits in ICTs in education, in business and work, in decision-making and political structures, and in their personal lives; but also tends to hide the existence of these barriers from the women (and men) themselves.

BASIC STRUCTURES The development of an Information Society in UNMIK/Kosovo bears many signs of its recent history, such as the lack of high level internet domain name (the two letter country code) and the fact that it is not a member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Its nine years as a UN-administered territory did see some developments, for instance in terms of basic infrastructure. But with regard to e-services and the Information Society, UNMIK/Kosovo is still largely at the planning stage.

Finally is the issue of a threshold level of access and usage in society of services. For SMEs and for the public alike, a key challenge for launching new services is the relatively low level of access to ICTs, and the absence of the skills needed to use them effectively. This is precisely the issue addressed through the distribution of up to 20,000 free e-service smart cards. The Chamber of Commerce is also working on a further project, to produce a database of local products as an import replacement mechanism. Currently being piloted in four of Serbia’s 168 municipalities, a major concern is that the threshold of services users needed to make such a service viable may not be there yet.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTPT) 215 has overall responsibility for the telecommunications sector and leads the e-SEE Agenda+ there. As early as 2006 it approved the Information Society Strategy for 2006-2012. It has been pursuing its 2007 Telecommunications Sector Policy, which is now updated with the 2009 MTPT 216 strategy and Action Plan, though few projects have clear deadlines for completion.

4. Conclusions A well guided effort for the popularisation and development of ICTs in all segments of population and in trading activities, and the introduction of e-administration at various levels with its corollary of increased efficiency and transparency and reduced corruption, can be observed in Serbia. The recent application for EU membership will certainly further accelerate the process.

215 216 Approved by the Ministry, it still needs to be approved by the Government of UNMIK/Kosovo



The Department of Information Technology in the Ministry of Public Administration (MPA) 217 is responsible for e-Governance, for which a strategy was approved in December 2008 218 with the support of UNDP. A draft Action Plan emerged in October 2009 covering the period 2009 to 2015. The 2005 Law on Information Society Services had already provided a legal framework for e-Commerce, e-Signatures, and Data Protection (a further Law is being drafted here) following EU Directives, and a Law on Cybercrime adopted in 2009.

A microwave network, building on the inherited UNMIK microwave network, is being implemented in the project of expansion of strengthening of the network interconnecting 32 municipalities of UNMIK/Kosovo with the IT Centre System. Services provided are basic: telephony, e-mails, websites and file management. A Document Management System (DMS) has been installed in the Parliament (though it does not have its own dedicated IT system), donated by the Norwegian Parliament, but it is little used so far and no secure authentication system exists here or elsewhere in the public service. The Assembly also has electronic voting, and Draft Laws, assembly transcripts and other information are available online. 222

A basic e-Government Portal has been established and offers mainly information, and e-services are being added regularly. 219 An Advisory Office on Good Governance, Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Gender Issues (AOGG) was established in 2001, but effectively started to work in March 2002. It has the authority to formulategovernment policy concerning equal gender status; and it performs advocacy, and coordinates and monitors the implementation of gender policy. The AOGG also chairs the Inter-Ministerial Working Group on Gender Equality which is composed of Ministerial Focal Point on Gender Issues (MFPGI).The Law on Gender Equality (2004) of UNMIK/Kosovo enacted the creation of the Office of Gender Equality under the Prime Minister. Additionally the UN Mission in UNMIK/Kosovo (UNMIK) has an Office of Gender Affairs responsible for gender equality, mainstreaming policies internally within the UN agencies. The National Action Plan on the Achievement of Gender Equality in UNMIK/Kosovo developed with the support of UNIFEM (approved by the government in 2004) does not mention ICTs but includes recommendations for women to have a better access to technology and to professions stereotyped as ˝male˝ 220.

The Ministry of Finance has implemented a relatively advanced Budget Development Management Systems (BDMS), connecting all Ministries and Municipalities, that enables finance sections to view the complete current state of spending online. And a Project Cycle Management System is in the final stages of development, for use by all Ministries to plan and monitor the stage of each of their projects. The Case Management Information System (CMIS) is now fully integrated into the daily operations of the Courts. Needless to say, e-administration features prominently in the e-Government Strategy, designed to improve government efficiency but also enabling the range of services included in the strategy. The creation of a Data Centre is a key part of this. Some aspects will be funded under a World Bank loan approved in November 2009 aimed at modernising the public sector, including e-procurement (including e-transactions); automation and interoperability of government work processes; security and equipment and management of the Data Centre.

SERVICES FOR GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS Most of central government institutions (90%) are linked by optical fibre of Post and Telecommunications of UNMIK/Kosovo (PTK). Also, a fibre optic “electronic highway” interconnects 8 municipalities with this Government network 221. 217 218 219 220 221

e-Business services are relatively undeveloped. A WebGIS system managed by the government working group comprised by representatives of MTPT, Ministry of Energy and Mining- (MEM) and Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning- (MEST) contains roads, electricity and other services, and will also include the Cadastre (though this is a political issue since much property ownership is traditional), and a protocol has been developed to allow others to gain access to it and the system will be extended to municipality level. This facilitates a coordinated approach to infrastructure development. Online registration for legal entities is also in the final stages of development. It can be downloaded at Municipalities connected to this Government “electronic highway” are: Prishtina, Mitrovica, Peja, Gjakova, Prizreni, Ferizaj, Gjilani, Klina.




The Cultural Heritage Division of the Ministry of Culture is making progress, funding by the European Commission TAIEX Programme, the UK Embassy and the Italian Government, and a programme of digitisation of cultural artefacts is underway. The database has been designed and digitisation of an inventory of about 2,700 items has begun. This brings together nine cultural institutions, each inputting data for central verification and sorting. Their target is to have the inventory complete by the end of 2010. And they have begun a project for the digitisation of vocal (voice) heritage.

The e-government strategy includes a suite of services for businesses, among the most developed being e-commerce, customs video surveillance, e-procurement and electronic payment systems, and a project to connect all cash registers to the tax office – for this last, three companies have been issued with licenses to sell the registers, which will become obligatory for all businesses. Donors and funding sources include the World Bank, USAID, DFiD and UNDP. At the moment companies can access the Business Register from the government portal after having registered once. Companies can then also download the Excel sheet and email directly, or upload the data on the site of the UNMIK/Kosovo Pension Savings Trust (Trusti) and the tax services 223.

The National Library, despite the destruction of many of its holdings during the war, has begun the re-indexing of its catalogue, and has proposals to build a UNMIK/Kosovo Library Portal and to digitise the entire contents of the National Library including about a 1,200 volume oriental collection.

SERVICES FOR PEOPLE In relation to the switchover to digital broadcasting, a working group has been established comprising MTPT, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), and the Independent Media Commission but there has been little progress. The independence of the above Commission as well as the ongoing financing of public service broadcasting also face difficulties.

e-services for citizens are similarly limited at present. Some forms can be downloaded from the e-Portal, but most services do not go beyond descriptions. Forms for passport applications, ID card and drivers’ licenses can be downloaded and collection readiness confirmed. A central registry for job applications is also online. The e-Governance Strategy again contains a wide range of aspirations for services. Those in an advanced stage of planning include online birth and civil status certifications online; driver’s license and car license application; payment of property tax; and an e-Cadastre for Pristina.

UNDERLYING INFRASTRUCTURE The regulator, TRA, began to work more efficiently in September 2009 after nine months during which no Board was in place. There are three fixed line licenses issued (one not yet taken up) two mobile phone operators, and two Mobile Virtual Network Operators - MVNO’s with relatively low tariffs. Despite three external fibre links, more is needed.

There is already progress in some areas. The Ministry of Education has an e-Learning Strategy in place, with World Bank loan and some support from Soros Foundation, emphasising three components: t t t

Internet penetration had reached 23% in March 2009 and according to the “Telecommunications sector policy” document approved by the Government, Internet penetration by the end of 2009 should be 25% 224. According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, broadband penetration is around 6%.

learning to use ICTs; learning English using ICTs; the mathematics curriculum.

Phase 1 begins in early 2010, with a plan to have a lab with thirty six computers in ever school by 2013, each with broadband access to the Internet. Training of teachers is also being launched.

224 Presentation to Vienna Economic Talks- Pristina Meeting on ˝Telecommunications Sector in UNMIK/Kosovo˝ by Agim Kukaj- Director of ICT Department- MTC available at:




2. Impact and Benefits of Information Society Development

Incentivising and encouraging the use ICTs is also an issue. The Document Management System in the Parliament, which potentially can save significant time and cost, is greatly underutilised at present due to some reluctance among parliamentarians; and the points of influence - the Speaker, political parties, and so forth - are not fully committed.

Given the relatively low level of development of the Information Society in UNMIK/Kosovo, it is difficult to discern impact at this time. But the Budget Development Management System in the Ministry of Finance is already seeing benefits through the improved monitoring of spending. All budget planning is now done through the automated system. Expenditures are managed and over-sighted through “Free Balance System”.

Procurement delays also cost projects a lot of time, in several areas, hampered by bureaucratic procedures and fragmented administrations, as well as the necessary controls.

Market liberalization of telecommunications sector has had a great impact on creating cheaper 225 and quality advanced services.

Weaknesses in the UNMIK/Kosovo Police Information System (KPIS) have been observed. Data inputs at regional level are often five to seven days subsequent to the event and not always correctly uploaded on the system; the database design is inadequate and lacks security 227.

3. Hindering and Helping Factors to Information Society Development Overall the capacity of public institutions is often weak in terms of project management, implementation skills and ICT knowledge; compounded by an occasional lack of coordination among them with, in the past, some establishing their own systems without considering interoperability issues.

Some problems faced by UNMIK/Kosovo in this area relate to recent history. For instance the fact that UNMIK/Kosovo is not a member of the ITU leaves them with a unique challenge in gaining sufficient international frequency allocation for digital television. Another problem for TRA is that, in the post-war situation, some operators began without licensed frequencies, and reallocating them is now proving difficult.

A key problem is the significant leakage of trained ICT staff from the public sector to the private sector. In order to address this, the government approved additional payment to IT staff in the public sector, now in place for 12 months with some considerable success.

And as noted, the absence of a national domain name complicates and retards Internet use. Although this cannot happen until issues around UNMIK/Kosovo’s independence are resolved, the first facilitating steps have been taken by the MTC for laying down the legal base and the establishment of a Country Code Top level Domain Manager 226.

4. Conclusions

Digitalisation of culture has also faced post-war problems with the reconstruction of a national monument inventory, taking into account those destroyed; and the fact that much of the existing documentation as well as many of cultural artefacts are in Serbia.

The specific political situation of UNMIK/Kosovo is double edged for it introduces impediments in terms of structures and legislation, but also benefits from the outpouring of international development assistance. For UNMIK/Kosovo to move steadily towards an Information Society, focused help for the development of e-services with all its implications is necessary.

225 Prices range from 8€ per month and up to 20€ per month for Internet and TV. ADSL from PTK is 8 € per month. See: 226 Administrative decision nr1/2009 on 10.12.2009 from the MTC

227 EULEX 2009 Mission Report












b. Follow European Safer Internet Plus 231 practice by 2011 232; 1. Fighting illegal content through public support; 2. Raising safer Internet awareness among teachers, parents and children; 3. Limiting unwanted and harmful content through content rating, filtering technology and fighting spam; 4. Promoting a safer environment through Safer Internet Forum.

To accomplishment of following list of objectives by the end of 2014: A) PRIORITY AREA: SINGLE SEE INFORMATION SPACE 1. Availability of high speed broadband networks and secure services a. Increase penetration of broadband services on a technological neutral basis in telecommunication to reach 50% of EU average by 2012 228; b. Establish regional high-bandwidth backbone by end 2011 connected to EU; c. Establish national Internet exchange centers by end 2010 d. Establish national computer emergency response centers and start the exchange of information by end 2010. e. Agree on a common subset of i2010 indicators of the development of information society by end 2010 and start regular benchmarking 229 in 2011.

3. Interoperability in accordance with the European Interoperability Framework; a. Adopt national interoperability framework, harmonized with the European Interoperability Framework for administrations by end 2011 233. 4. Harmonization of rules for Information Society and media; a. Adopt converging broadcasting policies and harmonize it with the positive European experience by end 2010 234; b. Adopt efficient radio spectrum management strategy on the national level for the future needs and harmonize it with the region by end 2008 235.

2. Development and accessibility of rich online content and transfer from conventional format; a. Aggregate demand for domestic/local rich content by 2009 230; 1. Define national/regional priorities for domestic/local rich content using EU’s roadmap and experiences; 2. Identify best practices at the regional/European level for Internet usage and content availability; 3. Develop interactive contents in the official languages;

5. National/regional electronic identity management; a. Establish National Root CAs by mid 2011 236; b. Establish regional CA trusts Centers by mid 2013 ; c. Recognising the effort to negotiate a single free trade area (CEFTA) for SEE to create the environment for electronic Single- Window for international trade and electronic trade documents in cooperation with UNECE, the World Bank and other relevant organizations by 2014 237.

231 Adopted by the Council and the European Parliament on 11 May 2005 232 The proposal is to leave this deadline unchanged, since most countries are on the way of implementing this item, and have introduced cyber-crime legislation, as well as many activities, projects and initiatives aimed at raising safer Internet awareness (Croatia, Romania, Serbia). 233 Several countries are in the process, yet a lot needs to be done to fully implement this e-SEE Agenda+ item 234 Most countries have accomplished this task, while Albania, Moldova, Montenegro and UNMIK/Kosovo are in the process of its adoption 235 This item is fully accomplished 236 Most countries are still in the process of forming National Root CA 237 Thanks to UNECE efforts commendable progress has been made in Macedonia and Croatia, however, still a lot needs to be done in the rest of the region to accomplish this item.

228 September 2009, Source: Internet World Stats: Alb: 20.6%, BiH: 31.2%, Cro: 50%, Mac:43.9%, Mold:19.7%, Mont: 43.7%, Rom:33.4%, Serbia:44.7%, UNMIK/Kosovo: 20.9%, EU Average: 63.8% 229 Some countries, like Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia have introduced benchmarking, many by using EUROSTAT methodology. However, in many other countries benchmarking is not regular and is not covering all aspects of Information Society. 230 It is a process and most countries have done a good job and met this target. Deadline could be removed from this activity altogether





1. Computers and access to Internet in all schools; a. Every school should have a computer laboratory and internet connection available for the pupils by the end of 2011 238; b. Number of pupils per computers should be less than 20, by end of 2012 239; c. Broadband Internet access should be made available in all schools, by the end of 2014 240 in a technological neutral manner, supported by the proper regulatory framework.

1. Access to technology and equal opportunities; a. Adopt the national Action Plans for e-Accessibility for the period 2008-2011 244 by mid 2010 245 ; b. Reach the minimal 50% of Internet penetration level by 2012; 2. ICT enabled public services and e-Government issues; a. Adopt the national Action Plans for e-Government for the period 2011-2014 by end 2010 246; b. Introduce the set of basic e-Government services by 2011 247 (given in Annex 1); c. Introduce the central e-Government systems and portal by 2012 248 (given in Annex 2);

2. Curriculum for ICT skills; a. Make ICT curricula mandatory on all education levels, especially in elementary schools, by end 2012 241. b. Implement across the region uniform standards for minimum of ICT skills, by 2014.

3. Fostering the development of e-Business; a. The countries shall develop a strategy for e-business based on the Regional Guidelines developed by UNECE and adopted by the e-SEE Working Group in Thessaloniki on 1st July 2005 249 ; b. In order to prevent the brain-drain and foster the successful ICT business climate in the region, the countries will take active measures to overcome all obstacles for development of e-Businesses, by end 2012 250;

3. Establish vocational training in ICT; a. Fund life-long learning programs for adults by end 2014 242; b. Develop programs for continuous learning of government officials in the sphere of contemporary information and communication technologies by mid 2010 243. 4. Further development of national academic and research networks and improvement of regional interconnection; a. Support and fund local academic networks and professional organizations to implement the regional and local ICT research by end 2012; b. Create an open, national database of research professionals and institutions by the beginning of 2011 ; c. Establish national/regional competence center for OSS policy by mid 2011; d. Measure and track intellectual capacity in IT industry by end 2014

244 Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament And Of The Council, of 7 March 2002, on universal service and users’ rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) 245 Each country will review the existing national policies related to digital access and adopt the national Action Plans for E-Accessibility for the period 2007-2010. Action Plans will address the issues of stimulation measures for making ICT easier to use for a wider range of people, improvement of digital literacy, and decrease of the digital divides, especially in rural environments and having in mind the gender component. 246 Each country will review the existing national strategies and policies related to introduction of ICT enabled public services and adopt the national Action Plans for E-Government for the period 2008-2011. 247 On the way of being implemented, however emphasis needs to be made on services to citizens which are ranking lowest according to the e-Leadership assessment 248 Except for Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, this task was accomplished by most in some form. While Croatia and Macedonia excel, there is room for improving quality, content and interactivity level of portals in most countries- hence there is a need to extend this deadline to reach all features agreed in the Annex 2. 249 Ministerial Conclusions signed by the ICT Ministers of e-SEE Initiative Member States at the Regional Ministerial Conference on Information Society held on 1st July 2005 in Thessaloniki, Greece under the auspices of Hellenic Ministry of Transport and Communications, Stability Pact for SEE, UNECE, UNDP and INA Academy. 250 Although most countries have adopted the relevant legislation, and several countries are taking initiative to this end, there are many measures that need to be taken to remove all such obstacles.

238 Major progress is made in this area across SEE Region, with several countries already reaching these targets mostly in secondary schools. A lot still needs to be done in primary schools 239 Currently ranges between 1.5 in Macedonia to 40 in Albania. 240 Currently ranges anywhere from nil to 15% on average, while some like Montenegro, Croatia and Macedonia have reached this target 241 This is currently mandatory only in Macedonia and Montenegro. 242 Very few countries have introduced systematic programs, and few are funded by Government except in Macedonia, Romania and Serbia. 243 This target will be accomplished in time since all signatories currently have some form of such training provided.



c. Further removal of obstacles to both direct foreign and domestic investments in order to stimulate the development of IT Sector in South Eastern Europe, by 2011 2; d. Create environment conducive to decrease of the running costs and the consequent cost of services of software companies, by 2011; e. Introduce favorable and growth–oriented tax schemes for IT sector, by2011; f. Foster creation of favorable environment for IT professionals by stimulating business incubators, techno-parks and business start up centers through partnership with universities and private sector, by 2011; g. Create environment for all companies to use ICT in their daily operations and to use modern technologies as a tool for participation in the global economy, by 2013. 4. Digital libraries and heritage; a. National Programs for Digitalization of Libraries will be adopted by the end of 2008 and all libraries will have access to digital systems by 2013 251; b. Programs of digitalization of the cultural and historic heritage will commence by 2011 252.


5. e-Participation and e-Democracy; a. All decisions that require public discussion, as well as their drafts, will be available for online discussion by 2011 253; b. There will be a significant increase in participation of citizens and business, as a part of e-Government services, by 2013 c. Action Plans for implementation of ICT in electoral process and implementation of electronic vote will be adopted by end 2014

251 All public, school and special libraries will be equipped with library information systems. Governments will introduce National Programs for Digitalization of Libraries with the emphasis on the national and regional cooperation and interconnectivity. 252 Series of studies and research will be performed and programs of digitalization of the cultural and historic heritage will be started by 2009. Programs will be institutionalized as long-term, continuous effort of countries on providing non-discriminatory access, storing into memory and distribution of its heritage and know-how from the field of culture through information society technologies. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, UNMIK-Kosovo still have a long way to go. 253 In many countries there is partial availability of decisions.



ANNEX 4: MINISTERIAL DECLARATION WE the Ministers responsible for the development of Information Society in South Eastern Europe and the representative of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo on behalf of Kosovo in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 have met within the context of the eSouth Eastern Europe Initiative of the Regional Cooperation Council with the purpose of evaluating the progress and reaffirming the commitment to the implementation of the eSEE Agenda+, aiming to further enhance the cooperation on economic and social development in South Eastern Europe and reap the full potential of the ICTs to spur innovation, economic growth, regional competitiveness and improved quality of life. WE RECOGNISE the success of the implementation of the e-SEE Agenda signed on 29 October 2002 in Belgrade; and reinforcement of its results through the e-SEE Agenda+, signed on 29 October 2007 in Sarajevo. We acknowledge the role of the e-SEE Agenda and e SEE Agenda+ in building a regionally coordinated Information Society that is instrumental in overcoming current economic challenges and moving towards a knowledge-driven society. WE RECOGNISE the progress of the b SEE Taskforce in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on the development of a unified market of broadband networks fully interconnected to the European and global networks - Initiative for ‘bSEE’ - Broadband South Eastern Europe signed on 1 July 2005 in Thessaloniki, while acknowledging that an enormous challenge still remains in ensuring that high speed Internet is available to all. WE WELCOME the work of the Regional Cooperation Council in promoting regional cooperation in the area of Information Society, and their efforts in encouraging the SEE countries on their path to Euro-Atlantic integration. WE WELCOME the outcome of the High Level Meeting on the Western Balkans, organised by the Council of the European Union Presidency, which took place on 2 June 2010 in Sarajevo to mark the 10th anniversary of the Zagreb summit and reaffirming of the Council’s unequivocal commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries in line with the Thessaloniki Agenda and in accordance with the renewed consensus on enlargement.



WE ACKNOWLEDGE the support of the UNDP through hosting of the e SEE Initiative Secretariat that fostered successful implementation of e SEE Agenda and e SEE Agenda+ by providing guidance, technical assistance and visibility to the e SEE Initiative.

boosting trust and security, research and innovation, enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion, and leveraging the benefits of ICTs for society. WE REAFFIRM our continuing commitment to the implementation of the e-SEE Agenda+, and the e SEE Initiative cooperation recognising that they:

WE ACKNOWLEDGE the success of the Centre for e Governance Development in establishing a public-private partnership for addressing the training, educational, consulting and research issues related to eGovernance in the region.

Provide a mechanism for ever closer cooperation and exchange between the governments of the SEE countries in their efforts to develop an Information Society,

WE WELCOME the results of the first Phase of the e-Leadership Programme for the Western Balkans, implemented through the e-SEE Initiative Secretariat hosted by UNDP, with the funds of the Italian Government, in establishing the Regional e-Governance Taskforce REGATA network, identifying the key areas for capacity building in relation to implementing the Information Society, and implementing the actions to address them.

Offer an ongoing and updated set of Benchmarks for progress towards the Information Society, fully compatible with EU Benchmarks, and Support actions to enable the participation of a wide range of stakeholders.

WE RECOGNISE the importance of coordinating closely with a wider European Information Society, and the potential of e-SEE Initiative for contributing to EU integration. A Digital Agenda for Europe 254 demonstrates the EU’s commitment to constantly pushing forward the Information Society, at an ever faster rate, as one of seven flagships actions of the EU core strategy EUROPE 2020 255.

WE ENCOURAGE and are committed to facilitating joint participation of e-SEE Initiative Members in the ICT thematic area of the ongoing EU 7th Framework Programme, CIP ICT, and also in the Multi-beneficiary Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance projects relating to ICTs. WE FULLY SUPPORT the actions undertaken by the e-Leadership Programme to develop capacities and exchange best practices within the region, and look forward to and are committed to supporting a further strengthening of this initiative. We believe that a full implementation of this Programme will make a significant contribution to enhancing the capacity of e-leaders in the region and achieving the objectives of the e SEE Agenda+ and the implementation of Millennium Development Goals.

WE TAKE NOTE of the EU’s commitment there to: t A reinforced process of joint governance and coordination among Member States, as called for in the Malmö and Granada Declarations 256, in implementing the legislative initiatives; t An annual scoreboard on performance indicators and policy actions. 257 t An annual Digital Assembly involving many stakeholders;

WE FULLY ENDORSE the updated and revised deadlines for the e-SEE Agenda+. WE NOTE the extensive commonalities of the e-SEE Agenda+ priorities and the EU’s seven priority areas of: building a digital single market, fast and ultra fast internet access, interoperability and standards,

WE THEREFORE REAFFIRM our strong resolve to take all necessary steps and to deploy the resources needed to achieve the goals of the revised e-SEE Agenda+ and continue implementation of the b SEE Action Plan. We commit to continue our active involvement and take full advantage of the opportunities offered through the e Leadership Programme, and the activities of the Centre for e Governance Development.

254 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: A Digital Agenda for Europe. Brussels, 19.05.2010 COM(2010) 245. digital-agenda/documents/digital-agenda-communication-en.pdf 255 Brussels, 3.3.2010 COM(2010) 2020 Communication from the Commission: EUROPE 2020 A Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth version.pdf 256 Ministerial Declaration on eGovernment Malmö, 18 November 2009. Article 25. Granada Ministerial Declaration, 19 April 2010 257 Benchmarking Framework 2011 – 2015 benchmarking_digital_europe_2011-2015.pdf

WE INVITE the European Commission, the Regional Cooperation Council, UNDP and other international partners to continue supporting the implementation of this agenda, by means of political, financial and technical assistance.




Going the extra mile for the digital agenda  
Going the extra mile for the digital agenda  

January 2012 - This report is based on the analysis of good practices and the identification of gaps and challenges in the implementation of...