UN E-Government Survey 2012: Main Findings & Trends

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) publishes a survey after every two years about the e-Governments. This survey is the flagship product of the UNDESA and the only global publication that comparatively assesses the development of e-Government in 193 countries of the world. The survey contains indicators, best practices, tools and strategies various countries adopt to implement e-Government successfully and effectively. The survey examines the collective wisdom of the practitioners and global strategies and how they enable the e-Government to better serve the masses.

The e-Government survey presents the systematic assessment of how governments are using e-Government to reform and transform the public service sector by enhancing transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and increased participation of citizens in government affairs. The member states who have adopted this e-Survey consider it as an important and useful tool for benchmarking the performance of e-Government. They are using this survey to formulate policies and strategies for eradicating the digital divide and improving the overall performance of public service departments.

Mr. Vincenzo Aquaro in this webinar presents the findings of 2012 and suggests how the governments can move forward towards consolidating e-Government strategies, greater innovation and development of evidence based policies to facilitate concerned agencies to adopt emerging technologies and address the increasing demands of citizens effectively.

It is also pertinent to discuss the composition of this survey conducted by the most important organization in the world. The e-Survey consists of 4 sections corresponding to the four stages of development in e-Governments. Take a look at the following diagram.


In this particular survey, all questions call for a binary response of yes (1 point) and no (0 point). The survey has been designed on the principle of e-Government development index, a composite index which measures the capacity as well as willingness of PA to use Information Communication Technology (ICT) for delivering improved public services. The survey also uses the multimedia technology to interact with the citizens. The concerned authorities consult citizens regularly for improving pubic strategy and public service delivery matters.

In the online service index, total points secured by each country are normalized to the range of 0 to 1. The index value for a country is equal to the total score minus the lowest score divided by the range of total score values for all the countries.

Results and Findings:

According to UNDESA e-Survey, the advanced countries are way ahead in the proper use of e-Governments. Some of these countries have a separate e-Government model for each of the organizations whereas some of them implement a whole e-Government system which incorporates all the organizations delivering public service which also promotes transparency and interconnectivity in government departments. Similarly, there are centralized entry points of services delivery to single portals which people can access to avail all government provided services regardless of the authority providing them.

The survey further suggests that there is an improved access to government provided services mainly due to an increase in mobile penetration which in turn increases the use of ICT across the globe. In fact, the mobile based technologies have become the fastest and most advanced to provide e-services as compared to broadband whose use is gradually declining throughout the world.

There is also a healthy and encouraging trend among the developing countries to consider e-Government as a key component of customer oriented services. Although, Korea and Netherlands are world leaders in using of e-Government yet countries like Kazakhstan are not far behind. In this regard, Europe has the largest share of top e-participating countries. However, it is also a fact that gains are not shared equally or evenly both within and across the countries where most of them are still offering low e-participation opportunities to their citizens.

The e-Survey also presents some very interesting findings. For instance, there is a gradual shift from supply driven to consumer demand driven policy and more emphasize is given to the increased citizen usage. However, the level of citizen participation in these policies remain alarmingly low globally. There are only 24 countries who promote free access to e-Government services through free Wi-Fi or kiosks whereas only 40% of United Nations’ member states are using social networking sites to offer such services.

Finally, the findings of survey implies that more and more countries are recognizing the importance of e-Governments to synergize various departments. Countries are using e-Government to interlink their institutions and to formulate cohesive, coordinated and integrated processes to improve the delivery of public service.

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