B.C. takes innovative approach to forestry, land management; South Korea an e-government giant

This is the first year in more than a decade that B.C. has been named GTEC’s Showcase Province, and it comes as the result of several innovative strategies in the areas of forestry, environment, land management, health, education and justice

“We’re going to be showcasing a whole bunch of spatial mapping applications, such as online staking of mineral claims,” said Nelson Lah, chair of the Advisory Committee on Information Management, which is a forum for the province’s CIOs.

“In terms of the things that B.C. is doing well, we have recently done some work on how IM/IT government is structured,” he said. “We call that the governance model – who makes the decisions, whether there’s legislation required around information management. Nobody has done that.” B.C. is also excelling in the area of privacy, with a focus on identity management, authentication, authorization and transacting with government through a single window.

The province is in its third year of rolling out shared services. “Generally the first few years you focus on consolidating and integrating and driving operational efficiencies,” said Lah. Now, at the end of that cycle, CIOs are seeing a number of indirect benefits, such as being able to deal with changes and crises more effectively.

“A good example revolves around viruses,” said Lah. “It’s really difficult to manage a virus invasion if you don’t have a single image and ability to deploy a patch to 30,000 workstations across the province.”

Next steps are to do more work around product leadership, explore new technologies such as wireless, videoconferencing and RFID, and continue work on horizontal and citizen-centric services. CIOs will also put more emphasis on information management, which involves classifying, integrating and managing all electronic records.

South Korea is one of the world’s most technologically advanced countries, with the second highest number of broadband Internet connections per capita on the planet. Half of its population lives in or near the capital, Seoul, which is the 23rd largest urban area in the world. In 2003, its e-government roadmap became a national agenda, to be rolled out in five phases between 2003 and 2007

South Korea set up a common e-government infrastructure in 2004 and started full-scale development of its e-government system in 2005. As a result of this work, the country was recognized as the fifth best in the world by the United Nations on e-government readiness.

The government’s three main goals are to innovate service delivery, enhance efficiency and transparency of administration and enable the sovereignty of the people, according to Sungwook Moon, commercial attaché with the Korean Embassy to Canada.

Each year, some 440 million copies of civil documents are issued, resulting from a lack of information sharing among administrative agencies. As part of its e-government strategy, an information-sharing project has been initiated to reduce redundancy and provide more citizen-centric government services. By 2007, 74 types of administrative information will be shared among ministries and agencies.

The Online Citizen Participation Portal allows citizens to submit civil complaints and propose suggestions regarding government policies. The portal was launched last year with online processing of public proposals, e-hearings, e-voting, forums, surveys and real-time discussions. The government is also coming up with M-Gov and T-Gov services to take advantage of the widespread use of mobile devices and service access through TVs.

Next steps include coming up with more diverse methods to encourage public participation and to establish e-government at a local level, as well as narrowing the digital divide among rural and urban areas.

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