The workshops took place within the framework of the project "Western Balkans Network for Inclusive e-Government" and were meant to present the draft research on the levels of sophistication and inclusiveness of e-gov services conducted by project partners using the EU-level Capgemini methodology, with a goal to develop Regional eGovernment Roadmap to facilitate joint efforts by the countries aspiring to soon join the EU.
The six workshops on inclusive e-government were organized by national project partners, and had as targets the review of draft research results, awareness raising and networking between stakeholders including government officials, IT and human rights experts, as well as representatives of NGOs dealing with issues of inclusion of disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilities from both the host countries and the neighborhood.
Each workshop was organized by project partners from the respective countries, and they took place in:
a. Skopje, Macedonia (23 November 2007) – organized by EDRi-member Metamorphosis Foundation
b. Tirana, Albania (26 November 2007) – organized by Comport
c. Belgrade, Serbia (11 December 2007) – organized by Belgrade Open School
d. Zagreb, Croatia (13 December 2007) – organized by ZaMirNet
e. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (13 December 2007) – organized by OneWorld SEE
f. Podgorica, Montenegro (20 December 2007) – organized by the Institute for Strategic Studies and Projections
The level of online sophistication of e-government services in all countries where research has been completed so far are similar (Albania 33%, Serbia 40%, Montenegro 45%, Macedonia 50%, Croatia 57%) and most of them need to develop under similar circumstances and face similar obstacles, lagging 5-7 years behind the levels of EU. The potential benefit from mutual cooperation is great, both to the states-which have so far mostly invested in revenue-generating services such as e-taxes-and their citizens who need more efficient and transparent governance.
The "Western Balkans Network for Inclusive e-Government" project is supported by the East East: Partnership Beyond Borders Program of the Open Society Institute and led by the Metamorphosis Foundation. Alongside the workshops, the project activities included the Third International Conference e-Society.Mk (29-30 November 2007 in Skopje) which facilitated exchange of know-how and experiences both between stakeholders from the region and from the European Union.