WEF report highlights future of government in 21st century

10:46, June 08, 2011      

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World governments should redesign their structures and processes to address challenges in the 21st century, a report released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) said on Tuesday.

"As the world moves forward amid economic uncertainty, a continuing Internet and social media revolution and deep political change, the future of government has catapulted to center stage as one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century," Jane E. Fountain, who chaired the group drafting the report, said.

The report authored by the WEF Global Agenda Council on the Future of Government which includes 15 innovative experts and leading practitioners from some of the most advanced governments and international organizations.

It was released in the run-up to the WEF's annual meeting on Europe and Central Asia, for which more than 500 leaders from business, government, academia and civil society are gathering in Vienna on Wednesday and Thursday under the theme Expanding the Frontiers of Innovation.

The report builds the effective sharing of best governance practices so as to speed up innovation globally. It provides a comprehensive analysis of how the strategies, structures and practices of governments must change in the coming years to be flatter, agile, streamlined and tech-enabled (FAST).

"To be efficient and effective in today's complex, interlinked and fast-changing environment, governments need to redesign their structures and processes to capitalize on a new set of actors and tools," the report says.

The report explores the powerful but, in some cases, controversial concepts of open government and open data, giving examples of how governments can use the power of the Internet, including social media, to transform governance, empower citizens and rebuild the social contract between political leaders and citizens.

It also looks at how to find the proper balance between open government and risk management.

The report calls for stronger partnership between governments and the private sector in the developing world to ensure citizens' access to public services.

"Regardless of reform, revitalization and a technological revolution, the reality is that in many developing countries, at least in the foreseeable future, government alone will be unable to develop sufficient capacity to offer basic services to citizens," it says, adding a range of public-private partnerships and other multi-sectoral arrangements have opened possibilities for value creation and greater efficiency.

Source: Xinhua
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