The transformation of eParticipation
Digital participation could redefine interaction between state and society at all political levels. Which countries are currently best at eParticipation?
A number of European countries lead the field
Which countries are particularly advanced in the field of eParticipation? The United Nations’ E‑Government Survey 2018 provides the answer. And we are pleased to report that several European countries can be found in the top ten. Three countries tie for first place: the two Scandinavian countries Denmark and Finland along with South Korea. The Netherlands follow in fourth place. Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the US share fifth place with identical scores.
According to the UN, the eParticipation Index (EPI) is measured by the range of online information and consultation services available as well as the range of electronic decision-making.
Compared to the previous survey in 2016, the number of countries with a very high eParticipation Index has doubled from 31 to 62. The number of countries with a low EPI fell from 56 to 35. According to the UN, this positive trend shows how committed countries are to implementing participatory tools for their citizens.
The leading countries are implementing various initiatives. Some examples: In Denmark, for instance, electronic participation is part of the government’s digital strategy. Finns can use the government’s online portal www.demokratia.fi to propose their own initiatives or comment on work by public authorities. In Australia, all services that are publicly available must meet the national standard for digital services. In the Australian state of Queensland, for example, the government uses a website to motivate its citizens to participate in politics, for instance, with online petitions or referendums. Japan has established the Digital Government Idea Box 2017 that is used to discuss eGovernance issues with citizens and to implement high-quality e-services. In the Japanese city of Tsukuba, citizens can vote on local social projects online and using block chain technology.