Who we are
The GovStack initiative is a multi-stakeholder initiative led by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Estonia, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Digital Impact Alliance.
Why we exist
GovStack aims to break down the barriers to building sustainable digital public infrastructure and help governments create human-centered digital services that empower individuals, improve well-being and build more inclusive and resilient societies.
In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development to achieve a better world by 2030.
Many of these goals rely on our ability to deliver services to people, and we know that digital technology can facilitate broader access.
The problem we solve
Governments struggle to achieve true digital transformation. Often, they reinvent the wheel when developing digital services. Instead of reusing existing tools and international best practices, they develop new products or rely on third parties to build a one-time solution.
The GovStack approach overcomes systematic challenges such as:
- Coordination: Problems in coordination commonly occur in aligning ICT ministry work with that of other agencies.
- The GovStack framework promotes a whole-of-government approach that makes coordination across agencies easier.
- Silos: Siloed investments and duplicative efforts by development partners promote fragmented digital governance and create silos.
- Using GovStack building block specifications to build solutions means each component can be adapted and reused, breaking down technology silos.
- Funding: Challenges in procuring and implementing affordable IT solutions persist, as do challenges in creating the necessary capital to invest in ICT infrastructure projects.
- Using the GovStack approach in place of building bespoke solutions saves time and money and extends the return on investment in digital projects.
- Scaling: Huge challenges exist in adapting and investing in projects at scale, particularly around the rollout of physical ICT infrastructure, and the deployment and use of common data platforms.
- With a focus on reusability and extendibility, GovStack building blocks are designed with scalability in mind.
Meet the Advisory Board
As part of the GovStack initiative we want to accelerate the design of digital government services through the whole of government approach. This holistic approach will help us prevent a further digital divide between economies and ensure that digital government will be developed in sustainable manner. A centrepiece of this effort is the development of a model reference platform that will showcase how Building Blocks can be used. We as ITU believe that focussing on knowledge transfer has the potential to be a true gamechanger in the digitisation of governments.
GovStack is based on the principles of openness and reusability of digital components. Such philosophyy has the potential to break the myth that digitalisation of government services is difficult to achieve. By preventing that digital infrastructure remains in a closed environment, we can cut the time and the resources needed to build digital governments. As the processes needed to digitally transform governments are similar across the globe, I truly believe in the great impact that GovStack Community can have especially for countries in low–income settings.
One of the things I love about GovStack is that the community brings together people and their experiences from “doing” digital transformation and not just talking about it. We all recognize that there is no one right way to digitize governments services but there are wonderful examples including Estonia, South Korea, India, Singapore and Rwanda who are taking steps to achieve a digital economy. We can examine each to identify patterns, learn from what works and what doesn’t, and bring these country voices together to shape the future systems of digital transformation
For over a decade, BMGF has supported country efforts to leverage digital tools to advance financial inclusion. We have learned that well-designed digital public infrastructure – such as interoperable payment and identity systems – can support the development of secure and inclusive digital financial systems. However, the technical and policy challenges confronting digital infrastructure investments are complex and rapidly evolving. Against this backdrop, we see great value in finding new ways and opportunities to collaborate among donors, implementors and governments, to build forward better.
I believe that digital public goods can play a strong role in accelerating attainment of the SDGs. Strong digital foundations like ID, payments and data exchanges are particularly important for results across all sectors. Governments are increasingly recognizing that national digital sovereignty depends on the ability to manage the digital public infrastructure in an efficient and sustainable way. We align our efforts through the GovStack Community of Practice to further provide access to digital public goods that can be deployed as digital public infrastructure, particularly by low resource countries.
FCDO considers the digital transformation of partner countries’ governments as vital elements of the UK’s broader agenda on inclusive, responsible and sustainable digital development. Against this background, we promote an open and holistic view of possible solutions coming from different stakeholders around the world. In this context, we welcome the development of the GovStack initiative: we believe that it will add value to ongoing digital development work, while also ushering in new approaches, creative solutions and even better coordination amongst different stakeholders in the field of government digital transformation.
Our mission at GSMA Mobile for Development is to leverage digital technology ‘for good’ and to help the private sector play its role in supporting the development of solutions that address the challenges faced by our societies. We see a strong need for the digital solutions deployed by governments to be truly accessible for all. This is why the work of the GovStack initiative is particularly important and I highly appreciate the opportunity to bring the perspective of the private sector and the mobile industry to this Advisory Board
The digital future we want can only come out of friendship. We must recall the incredible journey of how the internet grew, built by people, built for people. To adaptively evolve GovStack we need to incorporate everyone’s perspective and feedback to anticipate obstacles and adaptively achieve sustainable innovation with our GovStack digital building block approach. Only then can we achieve the people-centered outcomes that are essential for sustainable DPGs and strengthen the global network surrounding digital public infrastructure.
In the digitalisation of government services we need to make sure that we do not contribute to fragmentation of the digital ecosystem but rather to something that is scalable and can be used across several sectors. We are hoping that GovStack can be a springboard for leapfrogging government digital transformation and that it can help the digital ecosystem to avoid siloed approaches and costly legacy systems. We are looking forward to see where this Initiative will take us and everything that we are going to learn by contributing to this Advisory Board.”
Smart Africa is committed to act as a catalyzer for the social and economic development of Africa through the ICT. We believe that one of the key challenges to a vibrant digital economy across Africa is digitized government services and interoperability within governments. However, many African governments, just like many other countries around the world, are facing siloed approaches hindering the progress to deliver public service online. Therefore, we are pleased to support the GovStack initiative and the valuable work done in the ICT ecosystem in coordination with the GovStack partners.
We applaud GovStack’s vision of digital transformation through a whole of government approach. As UNDP accelerates support to member states in digital public goods, we see significant interest among countries to build inclusive and future ready digital foundations that can accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. At UNDP we are committed to helping countries achieve population scale equitable digital ecosystems. We see GovStack as an important forum and we look forward to bringing UNDP’s experiences and insights to developing and implementing digital public goods in low middle income countries.
Digitizing Governments is not an end in itself. Digital public services are a prerequisite for future viability, national prosperity and sovereignty of a country. Harnessing the potential of digital technologies may accelerate economic growth and strengthen resilience in a country. We believe in scalable and interoperable open source solutions, customized by governments according to their specifics needs.
How we work
The graph depicts our current working structure. You can read more about each body below.
Frequently Asked Questions
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