UMass Amherst Department of Political Science

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Fountain, World Econ Forum release Government Toolbox

Fountain, World Econ Forum release Government Toolbox

faculty news

2014-06-10

The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Agenda Council (GAC) on the Future of Government, in cooperation and with the support of the Government of the United Arab Emirates, launched today a guide to help governments use technology to build better trust and deliver more efficient public services.

Jane Foutain, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Policy and member of the WEF GAC authored the section of the report on "political representation," one of the core issues for technology and governance globally. Professor Fountain has been a member of the Future of Government Global Agenda Council since its inception seven years ago. She is past-chair of the Council and led the writing of its first major report, The Future of Government: Lessons Learned from around the World, which led to the initial sessions at Davos for government and NGO leaders on this topic.  

The current report, Future of Government Smart Toolbox, provides an analysis of how technology can and is impacting the demands placed on government to deliver more with less, as well as affecting government’s ability to meet expectations.

As part of the toolbox, the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government has developed three forward-looking scenarios to examine how the world of governance could evolve by 2050. The scenarios, developed with the Forum’s Strategic Foresight team, are:

 

  • City State: A world in which authority is decentralized to the city level and pragmatism trumps idealism in addressing collective issues.
  • e1984: A world in which the promise of Big Data is realized; economic, geopolitical and cyber threats are omnipresent, and collective solidarity is a core societal value.
  • Gated Community: A world in which world political power rests with individuals and private sector organizations; individual responsibility and choice prevail in society, with the private sector being the main provider of collective services.

 

“The UAE government has embraced innovation and set high benchmarks in government efficiency and trust,” noted Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the organizing committee for the Government Summit, Federal Government of the United Arab Emirates. “We are happy that the UAE Government Summit partnership with the Forum has led to a tangible and positive outcome as the Smart Toolbox, which takes trust in government as a unifying theme. It also highlights the role of UAE Government Summit as an international platform to enhance the future of the government administration around the world.”

“Leadership of informed societies requires leaders to take a progressive approach to building trust through better, more efficient and responsive governance,” added Espen Barth Eide, Managing Director and Member of the Managing Board, World Economic Forum. “The World Economic Forum has partnered with the Government Summit, United Arab Emirates as part of our long-standing and strong partnership in order to showcase good governance practices from around the world attesting to the vision and the making of truly smart, technologically enabled governments.”

“ICT has a great role to play in helping governments create trust and provide leadership,” noted Joseph S. Nye Jr., Chair of the Council on the Future of Government and University Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard Kennedy School of Government. “But to use it effectively, leaders need to be aware of how technology is changing society and how these changes in turn will place new demands on governance.”

The Future of Government Smart Toolbox focuses on eight key areas for improving government performance: anti-corruption, political representation, bureaucracy, delivery of services, trust, leadership, security and innovation. The Smart Toolbox also includes governance best practices from a number of countries, as well as case studies written by Council Members, including Abdulla Al Basti, Director-General, The Executive Office-Government of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Jimmy Wales, Founder and Chair Emeritus, Board of Trustees, Wikimedia Foundation, USA.

Download the full report here.

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