The Survey shows how e-government has moved from “siloed approaches” in just a few high-income countries to whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches in nearly all countries in the world.
To assess the global digital government landscape, the Survey uses the E-Government Development Index, which reflects the scope and quality of online services, the status of telecommunication infrastructure, and existing human capacity.
Despite increases in online services for vulnerable groups, the study points to “stark” evidence of pervasive digital divides.
The 12th edition of the UN E-Government Survey, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), finds that while almost every country is engaged in the process of digitalization, “[n]ot all countries are able to achieve the same sustainable development gains through e-government development, and the benefits to communities and vulnerable segments of the population have been disproportionate and uneven.”
The biennial Survey assesses the e-government development status of 193 UN Member States. Its goal is to support countries’ efforts in providing effective, accountable, and inclusive digital services to all, bridging the digital divide, and leaving no one behind.
The 2022 edition titled, ‘The Future of Digital Government,’ demonstrates that there is an ongoing shift from the “traditional technocratic e-government approach of the early 2000s to a digital development agenda that is policy oriented, data-centric and politically driven.” It shows how e-government has moved from “siloed approaches” in just a few high-income countries to whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches in nearly all countries in the world.
The publication highlights that while e-government development trends remain “positive and encouraging,” the COVID-19 pandemic put governments’ responsiveness and digital resilience to the test in forcing them to develop digital solutions to “ensure the continuity of public services and societal stability” while leaving no one behind.
Fulfilling our vision for leaving no one behind will require us to leave no one offline in the hybrid digital future.
— Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
To assess the global digital government landscape, the Survey uses the E-Government Development Index (EGDI), which reflects the scope and quality of online services, the status of telecommunication infrastructure, and existing human capacity. Topping the ranks are Denmark, Finland, and the Republic of Korea.
While the global EGDI average has increased overall, progress has been uneven, the study finds. Eight countries – Belize, Côte d’Ivoire, Guyana, Lebanon, Nepal, Rwanda, Tajikistan, and Zambia – moved to the high EGDI group for the first time, while the average EDGI value for Oceania declined for the first time since 2016.
Despite increases in online services for vulnerable groups, the study points to “stark” evidence of pervasive digital divides. Member States with the lowest EGDI rankings, it finds, are all countries in special and developing situations.
A DESA press release notes that the recent Transforming Education Summit shone a spotlight on the role equitable access to digital learning plays in advancing sustainable development. According to the Survey, the number of countries providing digital services in the education sector has increased by 22%, from 104 to 114. However, the study reports varying levels of progress across regions and income levels.
The survey was produced by the DESA Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG) in collaboration with experts from UN agencies. The E-Government Survey was first issued in 2001, and further editions were released in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. [Publication: E-Government Survey 2022: The Future of Digital Government] [Publication Landing Page] [DESA Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UN E-Government Survey 2018]