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The 16th International Conference “e-Society.mk – Engagement and Effectiveness: Good Governance and the Internet” – Part one

Today on 25 November 2020 was held the first part of the conference “e-Society.mk – Engagement and Effectiveness – Good Governance and the Internet” organized by the Metamorphosis Foundation.

The conference was opened by Mr Bardhyl Jashari, Executive Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation, Mr Jeton Shaqiri, Minister of Information Society and Administration, Mr David Geer, Head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of North Macedonia, Ms Kristina Reinslau, Program Director for e-Democracy at the e-Governance Academy in Estonia and Chris Worman, Senior Director of Community Integration at Techsoup Global.

“None of us wishes for an e-Society that has been imposed on us, due to any unfortunate circumstances, such as Covid-19. We wish for an e-Society where online work, learning and entertainment is our choice, where we will feel safe, we will know how to use technology competently, how to be more efficient in our work and the digital transformation that we all experience to be shaped according to our priorities and needs. How successful the digital transformation will be and how much it will contribute to our quality of life depends on how active we are in creating a space or environment that includes technical infrastructure, but also an institutional and legal framework that will contribute to the true use of technology.” said Bardhyll Jashari, Executive Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation.

The Minister of Information Society and Administration, Mr Jeton Shaqiri in his speech stressed that, in the coming period, the Government will work to reduce the digital gap. Shaqiri pointed out that according to EU research and projections, in 2020 as many as 90 percent of jobs will require a certain level of digital skills. He emphasized that they will work on advancing the digital skills of the entire population.

Kristina Reinslau, Program Director for e-Democracy at the E-governance Academy, Estonia, in her presentation today presented the positive example of Estonia for the rapid and successful digital transformation of society and the inclusion of communities in such a transformation. In the case of Estonia, this was possible as a result of the progressive government, the proactive IT sector, but also society itself. At the same time, the partnership created between the government and the civil society organizations was important, which resulted in smart solutions.

The head of the EU Delegation to RNM, David Geer, said in his address that in order to benefit from the digital revolution, many things need to be in place. We need to have the infrastructure and re-draw the investment plan to help develop such infrastructure. There should also be a regulatory framework in place to make sure this is a fair game, Geer said. He also stressed that one way the EU helps North Macedonia is by supporting e-services for companies and citizens. Citizens can now get data online instead of waiting in lines.

Chris Worman, Senior Director of Community Integration at Techsoup Global said that we need to use the basic structure that is available to digitize society. This basic digitalization infrastructure has several components, and if one of them is taken away, the whole infrastructure can fall apart.

“The first component is connectivity, do people have internet? The second is tools, do people have tools to use the Internet, the third is whether they have skills to use the Internet, the fourth is policies, are there enough policies to ensure that civil society can use the Internet safely and the last is whether we have learning communities, i.e. places where people can develop and learn as technology changes.” – explained Worman.

More details for each session can be found at www.meta.mk and www.portalb.mk

The second part of the conference “e-Society.mk – Engagement and Effectiveness: Good Governance and the Internet” will take place tomorrow, 26 November 2020. You can access the agenda for the event at the following link:https://e-society.mk/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Agenda-e-Society-2020_3.pdf.

 

The Conference e-Society is organized by the Metamorphosis Foundation through the projects “Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA” and “The Critical Thinking for Mediawise Citizens” with financial support from the European Union. The views expressed during the conference do not in any way reflect the views of the European Union.

The project “Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA” is implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation (North Macedonia), the Academy of e-Governance (Estonia), Levizja Mjaft! (Albania), CRTA – Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability (Serbia), NGO 35mm (Montenegro) and ODK – Open Data Kosovo (Kosovo). The project is being implemented with financial support from the European Union.