Israel wins UN prize for ‘outstanding progress’ in e-government

Israel wins UN prize for ‘outstanding progress’ in e-government

The start-up nation now ranks 16th, beating Japan and Germany

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Michael Eitan (photo credit: Uri Lenz/ Flash90)
Michael Eitan (photo credit: Uri Lenz/ Flash90)

Whoever said the United Nations has an anti-Israel bias? This week, the Jewish state was one of three recipients of a “special award” from the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Israel shared the honor — in the second of three categories of the 2012 e-Government Survey, “Outstanding Progress among the Top 20” — with Finland and Liechtenstein.

“These countries have strived to leapfrog in their e-government development to be ranked among the top 20 for outstanding progress,” the department said in a statement.

E-government is the online interaction of a government with its citizens and the provision of services through the Internet.

The UN e-Government Survey, conducted every two years since 2003, said Israel’s achievements include revamping government portals and websites and “tremendous leaps forward” in e-service delivery.

Israelis have not only “improved service delivery, but have also shown a commitment to rethink e-government and e-governance by placing greater emphasis on institutional linkages among government structures — now increasingly reflected in their online presence,” the statement read. “They have also enhanced the quality of e-services and e-content offered to the different population groups.”

Improvement of Government Services Minister Michael Eitan is scheduled to pick up the prize on Monday in New York.

On the UN’s e-government ranking, Israel now ranks 16, having gained 10 places since 2010 and coming out ahead of Japan and Germany. Korea and the Netherlands lead the pack.

“This year’s winners embody the vision and commitment necessary to transform public administration to place the citizen at the center of the development of e-services and e-content delivery,” the UN said.

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