The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) has become a member of Future Policy Modeling (FUPOL), a research consortium funded by the European Commission that aims to create a comprehensive informational communication technology model to support public policy design and implementation.
Technology can help to increase participation and accountability to urban policies
|Citizen participating at a community meeting on e-participation in Kilifi county, Kenya. |
© UN-Habitat / A. Padros
UN-Habitat was invited to join the consortium which consists of 18 partners comprising innovative information technology companies, leading research institutes, government agencies and municipalities from Austria, China, Croatia, Cyprus, France, Germany, FYR of Macedonia, Romania, Spain and the UK.
The FUPOL consortium proposes a new governance model to support the public policy design and implementation lifecycle with innovative ICT technologies. While targeting domains such as sustainable development, land use and urban segregation, it aims at reducing their complexity through a comprehensive policy spiral design lifecycle approach deemed appropriate for complex societal problems.
UN-Habitat believes that ICT can, if appropriately used, help increase the levels of participation and accountability in public policies, especially in poor contexts. In developing countries, where there is estimated 79% mobile telephone penetration, ICT is transforming the way participation and accountability takes place. Thanks to the innovative thinking of public officials and citizens, ICT has become a tool that has improved the inclusiveness and responsiveness of public policies at the local level such as water provision or safety. As mentioned in the 2012 UN-Habitat report "ICT, Urban Governance and Youth", young people - an estimated 87% of whom live in developing countries - can play a critical role in this context as champions of ICT in order to spread the benefits for society as a whole.
In this partnership, UN-Habitat aims at supporting local authorities and citizens to use ICT through the Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme in Kenya and analyse good practices for developing countries. UN-Habitat willcontribute its know-how on urban governance and slum upgrading, while FUPOL will provide its expertise on ICT and public policy. In its mission to improve the living conditions in towns and cities, UN-Habitat plans to use ICT for development to facilitate genuine participation and improved service delivery, whenever all the stakeholders agree.