IGF 2021 WS #267 E-Government: Driving inclusive recovery with digital tools

Organizer 1: Adam Hemphill, Walmart

Speaker 1: Robert Maryse, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 2: Rong Chen, Intergovernmental Organization, Intergovernmental Organization
Speaker 3: Gary Kalman, Civil Society, Intergovernmental Organization


Adam Hemphill, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator

Adam Hemphill, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Adam Hemphill, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Break-out Group Discussions - Round Tables - 60 Min

Policy Question(s)

Social inequality and the pandemic: What can be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic context about the relationship between digital inequality and social and economic inequality? Similarly, what lessons can be drawn with respect to the pandemic and Internet-related human rights? What does this suggest about policy approaches for digitalisation and digital inclusion?
Economic and social inclusion and sustainable development: What is the relationship between digital policy and development and the established international frameworks for social and economic inclusion set out in the Sustainable Development Goals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in treaties such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Conventions on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, on the Rights of the Child, and on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities? How do policy makers and other stakeholders effectively connect these global instruments and interpretations to national contexts?

The covid-19 pandemic has proven to be an economic crisis but also a digital inclusion crisis. A failure to extend the benefits of digital transformation across the population risks economic fragmentation and growing distrust. Advancing robust digital inclusion will require socially inclusive digital transformation strategies. Governments slow to digitalize risk their economies and people falling further behind. Policymakers should prioritize moving paper-based processes (e.g., licensing and permitting) online in order to meet the needs of citizens and businesses during and following the COVID-19 crisis. Other benefits of government digitalization can include reducing opportunities for corruption, upskilling public officials in digital processes, and stimulating the economy. Investment projects paralyzed by the slowdown in administrative processes during the COVID crisis represent exactly the shovel-ready stimulus that our economies so need right now.


16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17. Partnerships for the Goals

Targets: The introduction of a key digital tools to enhance four government regulatory system improve transparency and reduce opportunities for corruption, while ensuring more predictable government services and the resilience of regulatory processes (SDG 16). However, this can only be accomplished with a cross-sectoral commitment (SDG 17). Building trust transparency, trust, and efficiency needs to be solved on both the public and private sides of the regulatory relationship.


Digital tools are uniquely efficient and scalable solutions to unlock inclusive and sustained economic recovery and growth. They improve transparency and reduce opportunities for corruption, while ensuring more predictable government services and the resilience of regulatory processes in a future where remote and online work will persist. Using break-out discussions, this session will explore four regulatory systems that can most impact an inclusive economic recovery: tax, customs, licensing & permitting, and public procurement.

Expected Outcomes

The moderator's opening remarks will introduce to participants the basics of how digital government tools can impact societies, sensitizing participants to the issue regardless of familiarity. Participants in each breakout session will then identify digital tools that can be applied in each of the four regulatory systems (taxation, customs, licensing & permitting, and procurement). The groups will develop roadmaps to digital transformation including ideas on how to advance cross-sectoral commitment to e-government and digital transparency. These conclusions will be collected and compiled in a document that will be shared with participants and used as a basis for further discussions on how to guide governments eager to see a economic recovery that is both resilient and inclusive.

The moderator will begin the session by describing the challenges and opportunities of government digital transformation and defining four key regulatory areas of consideration. S/he will then ask the participants to form four breakout sessions corresponding to each of these regulatory areas. These groups will discuss unique challenges in these areas and identify tools and next steps to advance digital transformation. The group will reconvene to summarize discussions, allow for the cross-fertilization of ideas, and identify next steps on the path to e-government.

Online Participation

Usage of IGF Official Tool.