GovStack Side Event Showcases Momentum for Digital Public Infrastructure and Digital Public Goods
Tallinn, Estonia – A GovStack side event held on September 5th, 2023 at the Tallinn Digital Summit highlighted the growing global momentum around digital public infrastructure (DPI) and digital public goods (DPGs) as key enablers of inclusive, secure, and resilient digital transformation.
The event brought together government leaders, development partners, and technology experts to discuss how DPI and DPGs can support more effective digital cooperation and digital government services. Speakers emphasized the proliferation of initiatives focused on DPI and DPGs, such as the Digital Public Goods Alliance, the EU’s digital commons, and others.
Nele Leosk, Ambassador-at-Large for Digital Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Ms Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary-General of The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), set the scene by highlighting the global interest in DPI and DPGs and GovStack’s pivotal role in this transformation.
Panels at the event delved into GovStack’s role in the global DPI/DPG movement and showcased practical examples of how a building blocks approach and their technical specifications are transforming digital services and government processes. Country case studies from around the world demonstrated the impact and opportunities of DPG implementation.
The event also welcomed the first cohort of the GovStack Women in GovTech Challenge for 2023. Now in its first year, the initiative is tailored for women in government digital teams to strengthen skills to drive citizen-centric digital transformation.
Overall, the GovStack side event highlighted the immense potential of DPI and DPGs to shorten the digital transformation curve for countries worldwide through knowledge-sharing, aligned investments, and impactful cooperation.
Global Momentum for DPI and DPG in Digital Cooperation
Moderator: Katharina Mänz, Deputy Head of Division – Digital Technologies, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany
- Christopher Burns, Chief Digital Development Officer and Director for Technology, United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
- Tiago Carneiro Peixoto, Digital Government Coordinator for the EU and the Western Balkans, World Bank
- Hoa-Binh Adjemian, Deputy Head of Unit A3, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission
There is a growing worldwide interest in digital public infrastructure and digital public goods movement. Several initiatives, such as the Digital Public Good Alliance, have been launched, and discussions are taking place at international forums such as the G20. In the meantime, the European Union actively promotes digital transformation and digital commons, focusing on interoperability, privacy, and digital rights. Where is this all leading and what role can GovStack play in this? This segment will delve into GovS tack’s role in the global DPI and DPG movement, its alignment with main DPI/DPG initiatives and its role in global digital cooperation.
Key insights from the panel:
🔡 Digital public infrastructure and digital public goods have emerged as key drivers of an inclusive and equitable digital transformation, highlighting their relevance to developing countries and their attractiveness from a donor perspective.
🌍 Digital transformation is a global phenomenon that is happening all over the world, driven by the need for innovation and adaptation in the face of challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
💻 The shift from ministries of ICT to ministries of digital transformation reflects the growing importance of digital public infrastructure and digital public goods in driving the digital revolution.
🚀 The appeal of digital transformation lies in its potential to drive impact across sectors and communities, making it a powerful tool for driving societal change.
💰 Structured reform can help avoid relying solely on vendors or limited digital goods and services provided by donors, highlighting the need for core elements such as registries and interoperability.
🔡 Digital transformation should prioritize societal transformation and economic growth, rather than just focusing on digital technologies themselves.
💻 Digital transformation should be led by government institutions through public administration reform, with digital tools serving as enablers rather than the main focus.
🌍 Embedding AI and digitalization in various sectors, such as education, is key to ensure sustainable and effective implementation.
The Future of Procurement and GovStack
Moderator: Yolanda Martinez, GovStack Initiative Lead, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
· Tuuli Pärenson, Board Member, Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications
· Tor Arild Sunnevåg, Section Leader Information Management, Norwegian Digitalisation Agency
· Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor, Government of Bangladesh and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Many governments are developing digital transformation strategies and laying the groundwork for new horizons. All seems well until the solution is presented for procurement. Governments are still navigating the transition from traditional waterfall-type procurement approaches, which frequently result in inefficiency and a lack of flexibility, to new ways of purchasing. This panel discussion will look at emerging procurement trends and compare agile, waterfall, and product-centric approaches, as well as how GovStack can shape the two-sided market for public sector procurement.
Key insights from the panel:
🤝 With representatives from Estonia, Norway, and Bangladesh, the panel showcases the global perspective on procurement and digitization in the public sector.
🤝 “It is a partnership that is long term where both parties can have ownership of what is going to be delivered.”
🌍 Bangladesh has been studying and learning from Estonia’s procurement practices for over a decade, highlighting the importance of cross-country knowledge exchange in innovation.
🌍 The change in public procurement policy allowed more innovative and smaller companies, including startups, to bid for government projects, promoting agility and competition in the market.
📚 Standardization and technical specifications play a crucial role in facilitating communication and leveling the playing field for government entities to leverage ICT innovations.
🌐 “Having a very strong mandate and an Institutional setup for a digital authority facilitates new players to come into play as long as they follow the standards.”
💡 Introducing AI in the procurement process can make it more efficient, reduce corruption, and create a level playing field.
Opportunities and Limitations of DPG Implementation. Country examples
Moderator: Chrissy Martin Meier, Director, Digital Impact Alliance
· Ville Sirviö, Chief Executive Officer, Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS)
· Carmelo Duran Müller, Deputy Executive Director, Presidential Commission on Open and Electronic Government, Guatemala
· Ivan John Uy, Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Philippines
Governments all around the world are working on digital transformation and implementing various approaches such as whole-of-government, building blocks architecture and DPGs. While each country may have its own unique experiences and practices, the importance of collaboration across domains and data interoperability cannot be overstated. The panel will discuss real-world examples where GovStack building block-like solutions have made a profound impact and the lessons learned from them.
Key insights from the panel:
🤝 The panel boasts experts from Estonia, Guatemala, the Philippines, and the Digital Impact Alliance, emphasizing the global approach to DPG implementation and sustainability.
🤝 “Technical challenges are just the beginning. The real task lies in human change, management, and process renewal.”
🌍 X-Road, originating from Estonia, is now implemented in over 20 countries, showcasing the global impact and reach of DPGs.
🌍 The importance of national identity systems is paramount for DPGs to function effectively, ensuring user authenticity and streamlined public transactions.
🌐 “Legal actions and a shift in mentality towards digital transformation are crucial for the successful adoption of DPGs.”
💡 Investing in core foundational systems and registries, like interoperability, identity and payment systems, can lead to a more sustainable and impactful DPG implementation.
💡 The vendor ecosystem and joint governance models are pivotal for the successful and sustainable deployment of DPGs.