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E-government conference: Human-centric digital transformation of the public sector

"Every citizen should have the possibility to actively, continuously and responsibly participate at all levels of the community, both in person and online. A progressive and inclusive approach can also help public administrations to develop better digital services that bring more added value to end users. However, the use of advanced digital technologies is only possible if citizens support digital solutions, know how to use them and recognise their value. That is why we are working to offer citizens secure, trustworthy, freely accessible and user-friendly digital services," said the Minister of Public Administration, Boštjan Koritnik, in the opening session of the conference.

On 10 December 2021, the Ministry of Public Administration hosted an international conference on e-government entitled "Human-centric digital transformation of the public sector". The event was organised under the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

"E-government and the information society have been an important policy objective in Slovenia and Europe for almost three decades, and, especially during the recent pandemic, it is impossible to imagine life without digital services. That is why we are working towards the digital transformation of public services, which must be human-centric," said Minister Boštjan Koritnik, highlighting the main achievements of the Slovenian Presidency, which is slowly coming to an end. The Director-General of the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT) at the European Commission, Roberto Viola, also gave a keynote address on behalf of the European Commission.

The programme of the conference, which was held online, was divided into 11 sessions, with 48 speakers from EU member states, the Western Balkan countries and international organisations – the European Commission, the OECD, the United Nations, the International Telecommunication Union, the Lisbon Council and the European citizens' initiative. In their presentations, the speakers highlighted their main achievements and good practices that can inspire other countries, stressing the need for active participation and co-creation of end users, inclusiveness and accessibility, user-friendliness, openness and trust, e-democracy, the need to accelerate the digital transformation through different organisational and technical approaches and the use of modern technologies, integrated approaches including close cooperation with the local government, cross border cooperation and integration to find common and coherent solutions.

There were 496 registered participants from 45 countries, mostly from the European Union and the Western Balkans, but also from other countries such as Algeria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Kenya and Saudi Arabia. They mainly represented public sector institutions, but also NGOs, educational and research institutions and the business sector.

In his closing speech, Minister Koritnik thanked all the participants and expressed his satisfaction with the excellent organisation of the event, which brought together a large number of participants from all over Europe and beyond, and put into practice the concepts of co-creation and co-operation. The participants heard many ideas, experiences, opinions, suggestions and plans that they will be able to use in their future work for the benefit of end users. Let us hope that it will soon be possible to carry out such events in person again, allowing for an even better exchange of knowledge and experience and, above all, the invaluable creation of new contacts and friendships.