The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia (MFA Estonia), The Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany (BMZ), and the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) at the UN Foundation are collaborating to accelerate digital transformation and digitalization of government services for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly in low-resource settings. The Smart Africa Alliance has further joined the initiative as its first implementing partner. The collaboration will establish a global high-level framework for digital government cooperation to assist countries in learning and implementing scalable digital services and applications in a cost efficient, accelerated and integrated manner and that are built applying best software development principles and the countries’ experiences and best practices.
The collaboration will start by implementing a “Reference Digital Government Platform” as a “Digital Public Good” based on reusable, standards-based, secure and interoperable building blocks available to the whole-of-Government agencies to build and deploy their digital services and applications. This will reduce the time and effort needed to introduce new digital services and will allow digital services to be scale up and upgraded in a more agile and cost-effective manner. This will facilitate also delivering solutions that best meet citizens’ needs who expect to have a seamless, consistent and connected experience across the spectrum of government digital services wherever they are and regardless of their income or literacy levels.
Countries seeking to achieve the SDGs are increasingly looking to digital strategies and technologies to transform themselves and the way they do business, to improve how to operate, how to deliver services, how to engage stakeholders and how to provide impactful citizen centric solutions leaving no one behind. COVID-19 has also triggered an unprecedented demand for digital technology solutions not only to respond to health emergencies but to also facilitate continuity of socio-economic activities and accelerate economic recovery through the digitalization of businesses and essential services.
To achieve that, governments need to lay out their overall digital government transformation strategies and to build common and reusable digital platforms and systems that can scale and integrate services around the needs of citizens and businesses. They need to be able to deliver digital services in a timely and cost-effective manner while ensuring that services are interoperable.
For countries with limited resources, having access to an example or a model/reference implementation of an integrated digital government platform that can deliver most basic and common services relevant for SDG can accelerate significantly the deployment and scaling up of digital services through building a shared digital infrastructure that will power future innovations centred around citizen’s needs without reinventing the wheel nor reinvesting in building backend systems.
The collaboration will implement the following steps:
- Develop Building Blocks (e.g., Identification/authentication, registries, security, information exchange, payments services, etc.) requirements based on selected SDG Use Cases and common experiences across countries
- Develop a Blueprint (as in layout) of a “Digital Government Platform Reference Implementation”
- Implement the “Digital Government Platform Reference implementation Proof-of-Concept (PoC)”
- Leverage the Reference Implementation for learning and possible country replication and adoption
- Expand the Reference Implementation to include additional Building Blocks and to be self-sustainable
For more information about Whole-of-Government approach for digital investment and reusable ICT building blocks, please consult ITU-DIAL SDG Digital Investment Framework.