This consultation has ended. To read the summary, please go here.


In the face of this growing mistrust among the citizenry, what is the role of technology and what do local governments have to do?

Citizen engagement through technology is especially powerful at the local government level. In this context, we have seen the rise in the use of mobile apps related to the provisioning of basic services, such as suspicious activity alerts, garbage pickup, pothole fixing, etc.

However, we are also keenly aware that technology is only an instrument, and unless carefully woven into the existing mechanisms through which citizens and governments interact, it can be irrelevant, at best, or even damaging to the social fabric. What if an app creates citizen demands that the government has no capacity to respond to? How to avoid building a technology solution that has a regressive effect, increasing the voice of some, while making the voice of others even harder to hear?

Please respond to the following questions:

The better a local government can understand the unique needs of the citizen, the better equipped it is to choose a technology and predict the type and scope of services needed to provide. 

  1. Does technology have a role to play in building citizen’s trust in local governments? How can local governments effectively use technology to build trust with their citizens?
  2. What have been the success factors in the examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens?
  3. What are the opportunities, challenges and risks of governments engaging with citizens through technology?
20 Nov 2019 - 17 Dec 2019

Comments (120)

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Many thanks to all for your engagement and contributions during the last 4 weeks. It has been a very stimulating discussion with lots of great food for thought!

Below is a brief summary of inputs received during the last week (Week 4), organized by question.

  1. Does technology have a role to play in building citizen’s trust in local governments? How can local governments effectively use technology to build trust with their citizens?

Participants once again highlighted technology as potential enhancer of government action across of all of the Sustainable Development Goals.

  1. What have been the success factors in the examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens?

One issue that was specifically highlighted was the importance for individual citizens and other stakeholders to be actively involved in shaping the overall parameters of digital systems - i.e. what technology is used for and on what terms, as opposed to being just users. Another issue that was highlighted was the need for oversight (including citizen oversight) to prevent misuses.

  1. What are the opportunities, challenges and risks of governments engaging with citizens through technology?

Threats the right to privacy, the risk of security breaches in digitalized systems, technology´s potential to deepen inequality and the scope for information manipulation were mentioned among the main risks related to technology-based state-citizen interfaces. An opportunity that came up in various interventions was the potential for technology to enable new and more effective forms of participation, thus increasing the legitimacy of public decision making  


Read summaries of the previous weeks of the consultation:

Camila Olate Moderator

Welcome everyone! My name is Camila Olate from the Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean at UNDP HQ and I will be one of the moderators of this consultation. We really appreciate the interest in participating and helping us better understand the role of technology in building trust between citizens and governments. The consultation will start on Wednesday November 20 and will end on Wednesday December 18, 2019.

Technology has significant potential for changing how citizens and governments communicate, and how citizens experience the state. However, technology when not accessible can also create exclusion and further sentiments of mistrust and unfairness. This consultation aims to shed light into how governments can embrace technology in a way that builds trust amongst citizens and increase effectiveness.

In this context, how can local government embrace technology in a way that increases citizens trust, perceptions of fairness and overall effectiveness?

More specifically, the questions that we would kindly ask you to discuss are the following:

  1. Does technology have a role to play in building citizen’s trust in local governments? How can local governments effectively use technology to build trust with their citizens?
  2. What have been the success factors in the examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens?
  3. What are the opportunities, challenges and risks of governments engaging with citizens through technology?

This consultation is part of a broader project on technology and citizen trust in governments. The results of this online consultation will inform a document on Technology and Governance, that will be presented at the United Nations Development Programme Eleventh Ministerial Forum for Development in Latin America and the Caribbean to take place in 2020. They will also inform our work with local governments.


We look forward to hearing from you!


Samuel Chanchan

Using Technology to Connect Citizens and Government Information technology (IT) approaches are organized and long-term methods to connect government with citizens. Federal, municipal, state, and local governments are capitalizing in the development of IT strategies to promote their e-government goals. E-government improves and enhances the infrastructures and services provided to the citizens.

Governments in diverse countries have developed extraordinary progress in e-government initiatives during the last decade. E-government is the technology enabled modification and revolution of governments for the decrease of costs, for the increase of transparency and accountability, and for the enhancement on service delivery. E-government is the process of delivering information and services to citizens, business, and public management online by the government. The growth of any country is almost depends on the improvement in developing the technology in different fields. The new technology with fresh minds creates collaboration both in information and resource operation.

Almudena Fernandez

Thank you Samuel for your comment! E-government indeed has the capacity to improve services to citizens. But beyond e-governance, how can we use technology to build trust between citizens and institutions? 

Santiago Roberto Bertoglia

Estimados Colegas y Amigos: En Argentina hay corrupción de funcionarios públicos y el poder judicial está licuado. Cuando se solucionen estos problemas y haya interés en Salvar Vidas y Salvar el Planeta, podré dar precisiones a estas preguntas: 

  1. ¿La tecnología tiene un papel que desempeñar en la construcción de la confianza de los ciudadanos en los gobiernos locales? ¿Cómo pueden los gobiernos locales utilizar efectivamente la tecnología para generar confianza con sus ciudadanos?
  2. ¿Cuáles han sido los factores de éxito en los ejemplos en los que la tecnología ha contribuido a generar confianza entre los gobiernos y los ciudadanos?
  3. ¿Cuáles son las oportunidades, los desafíos y los riesgos de que los gobiernos interactúen con los ciudadanos a través de la tecnología?
Bob Stuart

Where surveillance technology is used, it should first lay bare the lives of the rich and powerful except within private quarters for personal matters.   There should no longer be any opportunity for private wealth or prejudice to get into any mischief.  Whistleblowers should be celebrated, and rewarded with promotions, not persecuted.  They might lead new investigative departments, breaking up the monolithic, self-regulating police forces and similar situations.  It should be easy for anyone who cares to to compete with other transparency agencies, by presenting information in more useful ways, or by listening to neglected sources. 

It is not uncommon for proposed zoning changes to be advertised in obscure ways and places.  If a citizen cares to turn that into something resembling a condo advertisement, showing neighbourhood changes at a glance, and the public responds, that artist and his ad space must be funded, or hired to do it within the system.  The same principle might apply widely.  Reward talent. 

All government data bases should be user-friendly and public, with the possible exception of certain military details.  There should be no special interests pruning the topics, and a way for citizens to add relevant observations. 

We could make voting on issues as easy as paying bills on-line, but feedback should not just have a channel, it should work.  Currently, popular initiatives languish, while government serves the rich.  This is not particularly a problem with technology, and it can certainly be ameliorated technically, but the forces of corruption must be defeated.  I don't know of any way to have democracy co-exist with great inequality, so fixing that must be the overall goal and standard for progress. 

One excellent initiative would be to create a non-commercial, open-source alternative to Facebook and similar social media.  We need to get the commercial interests out of the flow of ideas, and make it easy to operate without dropping data for advertisers and other social engineers.  The government might get involved in it by tracking the originator of any content that gets copied, from a new turn of phrase, to a lolcat video, to code for 3-D printers, to a cure for Cancer.  Royalties can then be paid out of general revenue, at about 1% of the current cost to consumers, and with huge savings in convenience, but best of all, making ideas free to mix and merge.  A small army of lawyers would have to do something good for people  - they could probably all go to Legal Aid without overdoing it. 

Almudena Fernandez

Thank you for your comments! I agree that information should be published, and its critical that it is done in way that is usable and digestable to citizens. Citizens should be able to understand how budgets, zoning laws, investments, etc. impact them in the communities they live. Do you know of any good examples where this has been achieved? 

Valdemar W. Setzer

Hellow everybody

In Brazil, governments, Congress and judicial system are not trustful, that simple.

Santiago Roberto Bertoglia

Sucede lo mismo en Argentina. Debemos buscar apoyo de las agencias y oficinas 

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment! Do you think technology can help and be used in building citizen’s trust, particularly in local governments?

Valdemar W. Setzer

Technology will not solve humane problems, mainly those caused by ... technology. Bad uses of technology are destroying nature and humankind; does anyone has some doubt about this? Technology will only change its destructive course if we change the way nature and humans are regarded. And the first change is to abandon materialism or physicalism (without falling into dogmatic religions). From matter no freedom can arise, therefore no human dignity or responsibility. Just as an example, smartphones are providing for the most efficient way of destroying humankind: destroying children and adolescents, both physically and psychologically. Adults are not resisting to these gadgets, how could anyone one expect that children and adolescents would?

Mainsah Gilbert

Greetings to everyone and happy to be part of this online consultation on using technology to Connect Citizens and Governments. For the past years we have been working in our communities on a similar project, where we have been promoting the applied members' learning skills in the use of the ICTs in community development. Some of the challenges in the field may include but not limited in the government not regularly communicating their programs, activities, and plan of action. Like in Cameroon almost all the Ministries have websites with little or no information about their activities. A ministry with a website have the last updates more than 5 years ago. In such cases the citizens turn lost confidence in the governing body as they are not able to follow up their engagement and promises. 

Today we witnes many youths who are engaging seriously in the use of the ICTs and the social media in particular, but  the lack of information from the government these youths turn to FAKE NEWS which is becoming the only fastest source of information. 

Certainly as the discussion continuous we shall be able to share our experience from the field as well as gain more resources, ideas and suggestions that will be helpful to the citizens and the government toward good governance and the citizens giving trusth to the government while working together for the development of our communities

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you very much for your comment! It is very interesting what you mentioned about your work with communities. Do you have more information and lessons learned about the project on the use of the ICTs that you can share with us? We do not always see examples at the local community level. It would be very useful to learn from your experience in promoting learning skills in the community. As Paola Laurenzano and others already mentioned, it is mandatory to take this into account when considering leaving no one behind.

Mainsah Gilbert

Camila Olate Thanks very much. We are living in a country with many violence challenges from the BOko Haram in the North, the Central African terrorist in the East and the continuous violence in the two English speaking regions of Cameroon. With these challenges there is the continuous flow of fake news and the inability of the community members to differentiate between fake news and real news. In most cases pictures and videos are always used to demonstrate the originality of the news. 

Working together we have been able to train some community members on how to verify information before sharing, particularly information with pictures. Also we are working together with the youths in the reduction or stop of the creation of fake profiles online particularly on social media where they use them to share fake news. With our limited resources and with our idea of working from bottom to top we believe in the long run we shall be able achieve much in the use of the ICTs for community development as well as calling on the local governments to be accountable through the social media to the local communities. 

Really in such a field we can not be successful without some challenges. Our challenges include but not limited to lack or late arrival of true information from the local governments, inability of the government to answer to some of our inquiries and/or no regular information channels from the government.


Amit Paul

Hello everybody, very happy to be a part of this consultation. One of the areas of work has been to understand the confluence of technology with safe living, especially in the context of "Smart Cities'. The key area, where there is an immense potential for research and implementation is in the use of block chain and its usage in the judicial system. To record, provide transparency and decentralise.

The largest role that this technology can play is with the provision of a regulatory approval, which can strongly impact the success of a judiciary based distributed infrastructure implementation.

For example, developing a distributed ledger to assist in the clearing and settlement of financial assets may involve custodial considerations, especially if assets are considered to be held on the network at any point. These custodial considerations may require a party to submit to regulatory requirements, which in turn could increase the compliance costs of such a system. On the other hand, a well-designed, standardised, automatically reconciled ledger could provide immediate real-time access to the relevant regulator for all partner institutions on the network. This could prove to save considerable costs and outweigh the additional compliance costs involved in establishing the system. 

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you very much, Amit! You are right about the potential and opportunities in the use of BlockChain! What do you think are the main challenges and risks of governments using this technology? How can we adapt it to a local level? Do you have successful examples?

Aswini Kumar Pati

Aswini Kumar Pati - From India

Director &CEO of Indira Gandhi Integral Education Centre.India

I am rare breed of individual. I am a positive-minded, open person. I like to exchange with people, especially from other countries, because it allows you to look at things differently.

Many of us would wish to serve mankind, but we are perplexed and our power seems limited. We are gripped with despair, and those of us who have the strongest passion suffer the most from the sense of impotence, and are most liable to spiritual ruin through lack of hope.

So long as we think only of the immediate future, it seems that what we can do is not much. It is probably impossible for us to bring the war on poverty to an end. We must recognise that the world is ruled in a wrong spirit and that a change of spirit will not come from one day to the next. Our expectations must not be for tomorrow but for the time when what is thought now by a few shall have become the common thought of many. If we have courage and patience we can think the thoughts and feel the hopes by which sooner or later men will be inspired and weariness and discouragement will be turned into energy and passion. For this reason, the first thing we have to do is to be clear in our own minds as to the kind of life we think good and the kind of changes that we desire in the world.

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment!

Valdemar W. Setzer

Dear all,

Aswini, the sad point is that we could nourish the whole of humankind. We don't do it out of egotism and greed. Overcoming them should be the first step, and it begins with education of children and adolescents -- not for competition, but for cooperation,

Best, Val.

Levias Shimbani

The role of technology in building trust between citizens and their respective governments needs a double underscoring. The source of mistrust between the two entities lies partly in lack of information, misinformation or information inadequacy. Properly used, technology can bridge this gap and improve the relations between citizens and governments and therefore enhance transparency which is a critical building bloc of trust. Exploitative governments tend to deliberately isolate communities so that they take advantage prior to elections. With technology, communities are always up to date with developments. In our country for example there are other locations who cannot access local network coverage and are deprived of current news just because they are detached from technology. Technology therefore remains critical in oiling the relationship between government and its citizens and ultimately cement accountability. In the same vein, it becomes convenient for governments to appraise their citizens of any news of interest unlike a scenario where for example the rural populations come to know their leaders some few days before elections, promised a bridge, schools etc and the leaders disappear only to reappear prior to another election. With technology, communities can demand accountability from government officials on a regular basis and at minimal costs whilst government can on the other hand can harness technology to engage with communities at any given time hence building trust between the two. In short, technology is critical for whatever form of governance and must be embraced and harnessed at all costs. Ndza khensa!! 

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment, Levias! You raised a very important point: the challenges of using technology during electoral processes. Do you know examples of local governments engaging effectively with citizens through technology?

Saripalli Suryanarayana

Let us be aware that what happened about approximately 5000 years and so 10000 years we have approximate glimpses. But we know the gender balance in known world started returning back between 11 th and 13 th century, when we saw an empire ruled in Delhi by a woman. Similarly we see traces of Tsunami in Asia could have happened in 9,11,13 th century. 

So called modern times we started establishing university and civil engineering as different to military Engineering started in 1818..Forty years later mechanical, and then electrical. 

Engine, boilers, trains, steamers went on with combustible engines. Coal,iron industries have created mighty cities with poor suffering from sanitation and untreated drinking water. It was around 1900.

City sanitation systems adopted in England, London and all other countries. 1990 we have TV,power, and internet and computation. Computers, 2G to 4G transportation and digital technologies happening progressively from 2004 till now.The housing, transportation, power transmission and Digital life have changed. 

We need to find alternative to coal and Diesel technology, which are fossil fuel. CARBON, METHANE, NITROGEN are taking lives and atmosphere. 

Steel cement, bitumen in construction has to slowly end.


Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment!

peter cole

ama7 sqit    hello from north vancouver     my work is in research and writing    — I agree with the security and surveillance and control concerns already expressed   my constituency where is local — st'at'imc through regional intermarriage over millennia and other in situ indigenous communities far removed in space and time   far to the south

I am concerned about the ecological and ecojustice footprints of cybertechnologies      If the foundation and framing of all communication is to be in this form  how can it be environmentally sustainable   ethically sustainable      I am using that technology to communicate now   but the communication is not the technology and vice versa — what I feel is needed is conversation    but not online     face to face     and not everyone just jumping in  — more like a talking circle    concentric circles    face to face to face  as are sometimes used in making an effort  to be of good mind   it's about having a voice not a 'right answer'    a willingness to engage    however that might manifest

human technologies and communications have been around for tens of thousands of years in the 'americas'  and much longer the technologies of our elder sisters and brothers of other species       to even assume that all communication technology is computer based is to follow the trail of other climate change technicians    the trail of anthropocentrism  the trail of global warming    the hot air of experts    the endlessly rising thermals of brilliant practitioners   rather than of those who practise humility   and stand at the back of the crowd  and don't say anything because the way they think cannot be understood by most people living today   because people wanting to 'solve' 'problems' are so often impatient and hasty   and self-serving   and focused on  the immediate   by which I mean   they need to be heard  rather than needing to listen     and care  and feel

global  technologies  including communications technologies based on computer systems are the major drivers of globalization which is the main driver of climate change so how is this to be figured into a formula or agenda of discussing communications between governments and people  all over the world   billions of people using elecronic devices to 'communicate'      everyone is rushing madly to raise the temperature of the earth and kill off myriad species      how many more thousands of dams will be built to build and power 'communications' 'technologies'       how many more nuclear reactors will be built to power the endless talk  domino-mania

do governments want to listen ?           do they care?        before contact  we had governments   we had trade   we had progress    we had community   but we didn't have elections   we didn't have a franchise   we spoke together     rather than speaking 'at' as governments are wont   to do

when is climate change going to be taken seriously  — let us not raise the issue of using the same technologies to alleviate climate change that are its main driver because it doesn't work    it just perpetuates the techno-entitlement to use 'modern' devices to address 'modern' issues as if the tools (of communication) themselves were  not a major part of the problem      the communication itself exacerbates the problem    calling something 'communication' which is not one spirit or heart touching another makes the term simply mechanistic    instrumental        speaking and being heard are not communication     communication is heart to heart   it is being of good mind   not racing to send off more word projectiles   solutions based on 'the latest' xxx  

even the shadow energy business requires thousands of coal-driven power plants all over the world for energy production   they create 'computer technologies'  and millions of 'apps'   programs    word saviours    they are sooted by the slag and the carbon dioxide       and all they do it keep 'technology' in a standby mode       hydro is not a clean technology  not for the valleys  the forests and creatures it drowns or otherwise eliminates       each life lost is a tragedy     each spirit driven to death is a direct link to computer technological systems     human beings are killing millions of creatures and plants  and other spirited beings   every day with our 'communications technologies'     as I do with this missive    

can't we at least assume that communications 'technology' needs to be of the variety that is not destroying this earth acceleratedly   self-ishly     move to the front of the line    come to the microphone    write another fifty million blogs    sgolb noillim ytfif  arf arf

to deal with climate change requires another way of thinking    another way of knowing  another way of acting— not reason  logic  causality   scientific truth regimes    mainstream evidentiary and proof formats   not positivist or post-xxx brilliance   not lateral or choreographic  or saltatory  linear encoding and decoding      no these western tropes and templates are the bricks created by technologies of thinking that are a vicious circle    a spiral    downward    precipitating more metanarratives     one-true-stories of timeless 'truths'   baseless simulacra  that so much 'communication' is    

rational thinking will not do the trick      indeed the tragedy is that reason is the causative agent of its own depthless limitless hubris      though I will not give rationalized evidence or logical proofs to substantiate this  assault on words aligned thus

I do not usually join such a group as this as a 'communicator'  and will likely not post again  — I hope that I have not offended anyone with my words  or the intentions toward which they gesture    I am reminded of the pen behind the pen of guglelmus shakspere  whose polonius asked 'what do you read my lord'      'words  words  words'    indeed was the brilliant and sorrowful response ...   



Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment!

Костянтин Філенко

Modern technology can provide effective and efficient communication between the population and the public, in public administration.
I think in this process there are several priority areas.
The first one.
Active launch of electronic administrative services. Processing of applications is automatic, minimization of communication citizen with officials would. It will help fight corruption and will increase trust in authorities
The second one.
Access to public information. Electronic databases, informational websites of the authorities and so on.
The third.

Online participation of citizens in public administration. Electronic consultations, referenda, elections. 

At the same time, it is necessary to consider several important points.

Internet access for all citizens, including residents of villages. For example, for Ukraine this is a big problem. 

It is also necessary to provide training to those people who cannot use the new communication technologies.

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment! What do you think are the main risks of local governments engaging with citizens through technology? 

Minal Mehta


I think it is a great opportunity to learn as well as contirbute to this very important aspect of community and technology .

I look forward to a very exciting consultation.

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment!

Valdemar W. Setzer

Hello everybody, 

Please give a look at my old paper "The mission of technology":

In short, technology should be used to give humans more freedom, from inner and outer forces. For instance, the Internet permits our communication, vehicles permit rapid transportation. But the contrary is happening: technology is enslaving human beings, it is almost completely out of control. A recent research at the University of the (State of) Espírito Santo, Brazil,  with thousands of yong people, revealed that 25% of the ones between 15 and 19 years of age are Internet-dependent, with tragic consequences.

Machines are sub-natural. They should be used with extreme care, which is not the case and the situation is getting worse and worse.

It is not technology that is going to solve humane problems caused by technology.

Greetings from São Paulo, Brasil.

Minal Mehta

I agree there is a need for fine balance between humans and technology. Human designed  technology makes human being less important .

William Tarpai

@ValdemarSetzer  Thanks for posting the link to your paper.  I'm going to go back to read more later...   Helping students and young professionals to gain skill sets and experience to allow them to succeed in the future is something I'm passionate about.  As I have a grandson in the age range you mentioned headed to Brazil now, I'm particularly keen learn more about being 'internet-dependent, with tragic consequences'.... 

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment and posting your paper, Valdemar! We will definitely take a look at your thoughts of technology. You mentioned a very important risk on the use of technology, but what do you think are the opportunities on using it? Do you think technology has a role in building citizen’s trust in local governments?


I would like to refer to IT systems as a technologies, for my response. In this regard, I can pick the financial transaction system which use IT can be taken as the most successful sectors while the social medias, particularly, face book and the likes are in 50-50 mood. I feel strictly law enforcement in the banking and financial sectors have helped for the success of the sub-sector while the reverse is contributing for social medias. With regard to the social medias, I suggest three thematic areas need attention and some corrective actions: 1. the owners of the social medias including the partners with regulatory roles and even owners need to advance the systems by addressing the gaps which give opportunities for those who break laws and regulations.  2. The technology users who are intentionally breaking the rules should be addressed by understanding their interest 3, The community who don't know how and where to use such technology, since technology has great potential to harness the living styles including the livelihoods of many mores. .


William Tarpai

@yonatandarie   Thanks for posting.   Financing for Development, and the roles of social media are clearly areas that I hope this online discussion can generate significant discussion.  

Your point 3 is a great place for this intervention, and what I would like to have answered isL WHAT ARE GOVERNMENTS DOING, especially at local levels, to bring their citizens up to speed to collaborate together for peaceful development?   

I would like to learn some of the success stories, as well as any cautions we know about.  

William Tarpai

Greetings and good morning from the US (on Day 4 of Impeachment Hearings at the National Level),

I'm very pleased to be involved in this conversation related to the 3 main questions posed.  It is impressive to see how rapidly the group is growing.  

I'll begin by referencing 'Arab Spring' (the series of pro-democracy uprisings that began late in 2010.  It marked my first awareness that 'technology CAN play a role' in building trust between government and its people.  (I encourage all the professors and academics on this platform to provide commentary about how governments might have better supported those movements aimed at peaceful development being promoted.)

In August 2019, I was fortunate to have attended the UN Civil Society Conference (in Salt Lake City, Utah, US )  I can attest to being part of several discussions related to the 3 questions we will be discussing on this platform.  The thematic sessions were powerful, and I encourage those interested to spend time watching (especially emerging technologies and innovation) and browsing this site.  

Additionally, I would encourage participants to find your countries National Voluntary Review information on the UN DESA website

Looking forward to our discussions...

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for posting this information, William! We will take a look at the links.

Minal Mehta

I think the way to respond to any social media is common sense . If and when we are not responding in a civilised manner we know .However rules are useful but all of us take social media either casually/ seriously when we write or read someone's post and too seriously/ casually while responding  to other's post.

social media as technology per se is not the issue it is our responding behaviour that needs serious attention 

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you, Minal! Social media is indeed very important. But beyond social media, how can we use technology to build trust between citizens and institutions? 

Bernard Salako

Good day to you all. Thanks for opportunity giving to share my views on the subject. In my country Nigeria, government has done little or nothing to bring trust between her and the citizenry. This is because information flow is not made available to the citizens hence most times when the citizens come on social media, the information supplied is flawed with falsehood. There are basic things a government can do to ensure trust among her citizens if for instance the government is transparent, obey court rulings and ensure the various tiers of government function properly. Today, this advocacy is being done by non governmental organizations. Today, elections are marred with riggings and violence which could be resolved through e-voting using mobile phones at the comfort of every citizen. Because of low political will such would never happen. Most citizens have boycotted elections because of violence and rigging as their votes no longer count. 

Lack of continuity by successive administrations have played down the use of technology in basic deliveries like information on agricultural products, health related issues, monthly information on government spendings, bid processes etc. 

When all these are not done with openness and transparency, the citizens would always doubt the government. 

More would be shared in due course as the discussion continues.

William Tarpai

Bernard Salako Thanks for posting.   2 points that struck me, compelling this reply:  1) flawed info on social media = TRUE.  People are able to simply voice their opinions, writing what about what is on their minds, or what they have heard.  Misunderstandings and political divisions are often provoked, until clarification can be provided.

Governments postings of information, normally should not be ad hoc.  They benefit from having staff able to prepare clear messages, fact-checking and having approvals for public communications up and down a chain-of-command.  How these processes might be improved seem to me as an issue worthy of further discussions.

2) the importance of SDG 17 PARTNERSHIPS - (I point specifically to SDG 17 - target 17; SDG 17 -- target 18; and SDG 17 - target 19


Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you both Bernard Salako and William Tarpai for your comments on fake news. This point was also raised by Mainsah Gilbert explaining what they are doing tackling this particular problem at the community level and with young people. Maybe Bernard Salako you can tell us more about those NGOs that are working on this? To all, what are your thoughts on how can we use technology to potential transparency and reduce the flows of fake news?

S ann

Camila Olate, individuals themselves have a responsibility to ensure the information they receive and use is accurate.  It’s called due diligence.  Why would anyone accept what is said on social media without fact checking.  To me that’s equally irresponsible.

Paola Laurenzano

Certainly, technology has a significant potential for changing communications between goverment and citizens. Definitely, the approach towards it will define the overall effectiveness of the experience.

Technology is about to transform almost all sectors of the economy, including Goverment, by introducing new business models, products, services and ultimately new ways of creating value and jobs.

The use of technology as an instrument of innovation is an opportunity that can be used to make public sector processes better and more efficient, reaching a greater number of people.

The positive impact it can have in terms of social exclusion by implementing public policies to promote equitable access is an opportunity while also a challenge. Technology has to be an ally to improve lives and reach more people for the citizens to be the center of action and public policies.

However, the risk is that a segment of the population is out of reach of these services due to the lack of knowledge and access to technology.

I would also say that in order to embrace technology to increase citizens  trust, fairness and efectiveness, goverments should need to act with integrity, transparency show deep knowledge on the subject and be client oriented. That means that citizens must have a good experience, be proud of the results achieved and they should be able to provide feedback to improve the services or products received.

Finally, the concept of trust in goverment is more comprehensive and depends on respecting republican principles and accountability. That should be a given since the use of technology is a too to improve transparency, fairness and efficiency. 

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you very much for your comment, Paola! Very interesting and you raise a very important point: the risk of exclusion of the most vulnerable. Do you know of any technological or innovative examples where this problem has been tackle? 

S ann

Camila Olate, exclusion occurs in artificial intelligence, particularly, algorithms that are biased.

Minal Mehta

Yes I agree access to technology is a concern yet   in  many rural areas be it network, capacity  (soft issues ) or infrastructure ( haRd facts) as far as india is concerned.

Pam Clavio-Galenzoga

1) Technology at the local level can have a positive effect on citizen-government interactions and eventually improve their relations. For instance, if the local government uses different platforms to communicate their initiatives to the residents, especially to those located in the unreachable sites, it will increase awareness. Likewise, if the residents feel that they can quickly provide feedback and sentiments on the affairs in their community through technology, then the citizens will establish a positive attitude towards their government.

2) One of the success factors where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens is the level of public participation during the technological development. For example, in the Philippines, you cannot just develop a system or provide IT equipment without involving the citizens or the local government staff in the process of planning, development, and deployment. Technology should be implemented in consideration for ownership (i.e., asset, the information found in the system, use/operations of the technology, among others).

Another success factor is when technologies or systems are integrated and coordinated. In the Philippines, not all citizens are fond of using technology. So if different platforms will be introduced to them for various purposes (e.g., information dissemination, feedbacking, disaster response, government transactions, etc.), it will hinder use and trust in the technology and the government. 

Finally, the citizen's trust may not also establish if these technologies present/post inconsistent and difficult-to-understand information. It is necessary for technology implementers to conduct consultations and again, involve the users, especially in the development stage.

3) Although technology use can promote transparency, information sharing, and collaboration between the citizens and governments, there could be several challenges. But for this discussion, the most critical is sustainability. How would the government retain the skills needed to use the technology as well as stakeholders' participation? Who will fund for continuous skills enhancement, coaching, and mentoring both for the government staff and citizens? What would be the strategy of the government for those citizens who are still hesitant to accept new ideas and adopt technology? 

So before introducing any technological development at the local levels, there should be a more integrated and strategic policy at the national level to avoid consequences and wasted efforts in the future.

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comments, Pam! Very interesting points. Do you have any examples where a platform was adopted differently depending on the various user groups?

S ann

Pam, governments have and will continue creating technology without input from citizens nor have they provided notice.  This is why people do not trust the government.  There is no transparency or accountability or regard for ethical, civil and human rights.  Technology, particularly, artificial intelligence, has ethical, social, legal, economic and environmental implications that have not been addressed.  Without governance, i.e., laws and regulations, there is no deterrence or accountability.



1. Elle peut jouer un role déterminent dans la construction de cette confiance entre les gouvernants locaux et les citoyens. Par exemple faciliter certains services comme la délivrance à distance des extraits de naissances, informer les citoyens sur les résultats annuels en terme de bonne gouvernance locale. 

Mais pour y arriver, il faut  la disponibilité, l'accessibilité à cette technologie; la formation, la sensibilisation de tous les acteurs concernés. En un mot il faut une forte participation des citoyens dans tout le processus et des garanties relatives à l'utilisation d'une telle technologie. 

2. Un exemple que nous pouvons citer est le cas de l'agence de l'informatique de l'Etat(ADIE) du Sénégal qui est entrait de developper la digitalisation pour faciliter l'accés au service public au niveau central et local. 

3. Les opportunités sont énormes: réduire la lourdeur des procédures administratives, éviter les déplacements des citoyens, faciliter l'accés rapide aux informations et aux services publics...

Les risques sont aussi d'une importance capitale: la modification des informations réelles, l'utilisation des informations à des fins personnelles, l'utilisation de la technologie comme un moyen de destruction de la dignité humaine, une menace à la sécurité publique.....

Pour les défis: L'utilisation de la technologie mérite un dialogue inclusif, entre  tous les acteurs de la gouvernance locale pour jeter les véritables jalons de son efficacité  et effectivité dans l'établissement de cette confiance entre les décideurs locaux et les citoyens.  

Giuseppe Pacheco
  1. ¿La tecnología tiene un papel que desempeñar en la construcción de la confianza de los ciudadanos en los gobiernos locales?

Efectivamente, sin embargo, esto debe verse desde diferentes contextos. En Perú, por ejemplo hay contextos geográficos donde la tecnología no es accesible, por ende no cumple ninguna función en la construcción de confianza hacia las instituciones estatales.

  1. ¿Cómo pueden los gobiernos locales utilizar efectivamente la tecnología para construir confianza con sus ciudadanos?

Los portales web y las redes sociales son los espacios ideales donde los gobiernos locales deberían difundir información clave para generar confianza. Puesto que la interacción que permite estos medios lo hacen un espacio de cocreación en favor, de la gestión que deben ofrecer estas instituciones. Pues ofrecen una relación más directa y también más rápida. Sin embargo, reitero esto dependerá el contexto de cada país. En algunos lugares del Perú, no existe este acceso y el uso de la tecnología por ende es limitado. Obligando a los ciudadados a informarse a través de medios tradicionales.  

  1. ¿Cuáles han sido los factores de éxito en los ejemplos en los que la tecnología ha contribuido a la construcción de confianza entre los gobiernos y los ciudadanos?

En Perú, son pocos los ejemplos donde el uso de la tecnología ha permitido crear una clima de confianza entre los gobiernos regionales y sus stakeholders. Generalmente en épocas de electorales, son los momentos en qué más se puede cumplir está pregunta.

  1. ¿Cuáles son las oportunidades, retos y riesgos de los gobiernos que participan con los ciudadanos a través de la tecnología?

El reto está en implementar a nivel estado, la creación de una política de estado donde el uso de la tecnología se parte fundamental de la comunicación un gobierno local y otro ente del estado. En cuanto los riesgos es que la propia institución no conozca bien el uso, manejo de estas herramientas lo que podría generarle una crisis. Puesto que la intención es que estos espacios hagan más transparentes los procesos que generar estas instituciones.

Camila Olate Moderator

Muchas gracias por tu comentario, Giuseppe Pacheco! Efectivamente generar confiaza es un proceso complejo, especialmente para los gobiernos. Mencionas que los gobiernos locales pueden difundir "información clave" para ayudar a esto. Podrías darnos más ejemplo a qué tipo de información te refieres, a nivel general y especificamente para el caso del Perú? Muchas gracias!

Mainsah Gilbert

1. Does technology have a role to play in building citizen’s trust in local governments? How can local governments effectively use technology to build trust with their citizens?

Yes technology have and has been playing a great role in building citizen's trust in local governments. Local governments presents their programmes, plan of work, and proposals to the citizens in their campaigns through the various media. These media comprises the radio, the television, mouth-to-eye, the social media and all the communication tools at their disposal. Based on what these local governments proposes to the citizens they are voted into office.

In office that is when the big problems comes in. These local governments now will have the right to continue using the various communication tools to inform the citizens so that they should continue with the trust. But that is not always the situation. Some of these local governments will claim they spent a lot in their campaigns and will not to recover their expenditure rather than achieving their proposals. To cover up most of them will work with pressmen and women in what they call in Cameroon "Press Ngombo" where pressmen and women are motivated to report what will suit the local governments and not the citizens. In such cases the local governments will care less about the citizens and the citizens will lost trust. We have seen cases where Mayors are beaten out of office, Mayors tied behind cars and dragged along the streets and many other incidents because they have not been able to follow their proposals.

Also we have people with little or no knowledge in the functioning of community affairs who will make promises during their campaigns, and promises that can never be fulfilled, so when in office they shall have anything to tell the citizens.

Local governments as such should not only be looking at how to effectively use technology but on how to be transparent, give promises they can fulfill, and if any challenges they should get to the citizens immediately. Also we should think on the local governments should allow the media to freely report rather than them (local governments) preparing the reports for the media.

2. What have been the success factors in the examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens?

We shall further look deeply in the success factors

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment, Mainsah Gilbert! Very interesting point on how to use technology beyond electoral purposes. What are your thoughts on how to create incentives to local governments to share information and use technology effectively?

Giuseppe Pacheco

Definitivamente estamos de acuerdo con el uso de la tecnología brinda mayores oportunidades de mejorar la interacción entre una entidad gubernamental y sus stakholders. El tema está, en que NO todas las realidades en el planeta son iguales. Perú, es un país en vías de desarrollo, con índices de crecimiento sostenido en los últimos 10 años, sin embargo, la tecnología no siempre suele ser el aliado del estado, por lo menos con los ciudadanos. Pues para que eso funcione tendría que existir, primero las condiciones tecnológicas y de infraestructura para lograr ello. Segundo que la mayoría de la población cuenta con un aparato (PC/Notebool/ Móvil) para acceder a la información que provea el estado. Que en la actualidad puede existir. Pero esta no está presentada de tal forma que la población en general puede decodificarla apropiadamente. Entonces, la tecnología resulta ser ineficiente para generar confianza. Ojo, porque estamos hablando de "confianza" que es algo difícil de construir pues este concepto a su vez necesita de muchas condiciones, no solo la parte tecnológica.

Camila Olate Moderator

Claro, también esta el desafío de presentar la información compleja de forma amigable. Y sobre tu último punto, cuáles otras condiciones crees son necesarias para construir confianza, especialmente a nivel local?

Minal Mehta

Yes thank you the discussion is about trust building  using technology. We trust when we know we will be taken care of by higher consciousness or intelligence. similarly if technology ensures security in terms of online bank transaction  so that accounts are not hacked as I have heard in many countries such cyber securities exists , we can increase trust in technology.



Dr. Timothy Barker

My own perspective is that technology (by which we may mean Information Communications Technologies) can help work towards more participatory models of governance particularly within systems aiming to be 'democratic'? However, it is now well documented that such uses of technology are easily prone to misuse by governments and their agencies. So, the question of how to help foster trust between citizens and (local) government is timely.

Transparency, accountability and corresponding regulatory oversights are of paramount concern. Certainly, without the latter 'feedback' to especially novel systems of technologically mediated governance, transparency and accountability could be rendered obsolete. That is, there must be simple mechanisms for a citizen to be able to check what data is being held on them, for instance, then amend or even delete it?

Of course, in some ways, these issues are problems which may be of interest to some nation states more than others. Where operates in rural Kenya it was not always the case that reliable power could be provided to a community never mind relatively advanced technologies employed for e-governance etc. So, one may easily consider this discussion of trust between governments and citizens superfluous in some instances. That said, one could easily imagine that this modus operandi will be promoted by nation state powers as the advantages are numerous from their perspectives. Indeed, the question of trust is also relevant to actors other than nation states such as transnational corporations, etc.

Perhaps, to summarise, trust can best be assured by ensuring that - as technology for local governance is popularised - there are correspondingly influential mechanisms in place to facilitate the crucial oversight beyond the reach of those who may seek to gain a nefarious advantage from citizens' (further) subjugation.

Minal Mehta

Yes a  techno vigilant system or technology to monitor the primary technolgy 

Dr. Timothy Barker

Hi Minal Mehta.

Thanks for your comment and 'like'. It's interesting you think a technology could be employed to monitor use of technology. Do you have an example of this please? Maybe an AI?

However, I was thinking more like legal frameworks and means to implement them accessible to 'ordinary' citizens?

Maybe a combination of our ideas?

Minal Mehta

I agree with Mainsah Gilbert. Yes in India  too while any candidate  çontesting small or a big election uses technology on small or mass scale   to attract voters. some succeed and others don't. Largely Trust using technology increases if actions follow else community takes no time to be disillusioned and mandate gets fractured. Fractured mandate brings instability and insecurities. so misuse of technology to brain wash people is a big challenge that needs to kept in mind .

Tomás Bredariol

Does technology have a role to play in building citizen’s trust in local governments?

Most certainly, it enables transparency and participation. 

How can local governments effectively use technology to build trust with their citizens?

They can make information available (e.g. create public online databases with environmental assessment studies), allow people to state their preferences (online voting of legislative proposals), further public consultation (such as this GlobalDev Hub) and facilitate accountability (e.g. public agendas, information regarding votes made and so on). 

What have been the success factors in the examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens?

Underlying contact with public institutions. Let us say you had a public consultation in a decision process, it is important to have some kind of environment where public officials state what was considered and justify the decisions made - preferably with direct contact with the public (e.g. public meetings). 

What are the opportunities, challenges and risks of governments engaging with citizens through technology?

Dealing with power asymmetries is very challenging and empowering vulnerable groups is a key opportunity.

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your answers, Tomas! I agree that empowering vulnerable groups is a key opportunity. This has also been mentioned by Paola Laurenzano Konstantin Philenko Levias Shimbani , who mentioned other challenges related to vulnerable groups such as the lack of knowledge and no internet access in remote areas. It was also mentioned that this become worse during election periods. How can local governments effectively use technology to address this issue?

Dr. Timothy Barker

The question of further empowering those "vulnerable groups" who may easily be overlooked by the possible technology use of local governments is essential. I think it's a multifaceted problem as the demographics of such communities will vary greatly depending upon local conditions. As such it may be difficult to generalise an answer. It  may instead necessitate quite specific actions/interventions at the local level.

However, I would like to state that we shouldn't necessarily look to local government alone to find solutions to these problems. That is, civil society for example could be involved and in this way could possibly be viewed as a bridge/arbitrator between government and citizens helping, therefore, to gain trust?

So, to summarise, although I appreciate it may be beyond the scope of the question I do feel we should be fully inclusive by involving all sectors of our communities to help reach our goals of participation etc. and this should crucially include civil society. That for me is 'democracy' in action.


Roslan Zakaria

There is an irony to this question. It is agreeable that there is a growing decline of trust between citizens and government. It is not a localised phenomenon. It ism in fact, a global phenomenon. However, it is “us”, i.e. the citizens, that elected these individuals to represent us. I see that there are essentially two over-arching points of failures. 


Point of failure no 1 - citizens select the people to represent them and be in the government.

There are 2 further sub point of failures, i.e.:

i) The options (individuals or candidates put forth by political parties) available for selection (adapted from professor Frances Frei)

  • Who do or can or should we believe?

  • Are they authentic?

  • Are their thought process thorough?

  • Are they empathetic towards us?


An extension to the above are:

  • Who are we? 

    • “We” comprises of different levels or types or background (or etc) of people. Therefore, adding complexity towards how drives us in selecting candidates.

  • Who are they?

    • “They” are the selected few that is literally paraded in four of us to select based on promises and personality put forth.


ii) The selection process itself

  • Political parties put further their candidates

  • We select from those candidates based on the “who are they?” Line item above.


Point of failure no 2 - We, the citizens, do not trust the people that we have selected

A quick poll on social media indicated the ‘usual suspects” of opinions and these opinions are by no means simplistic at any level, i.e.:

  • Corruption (and the rampant rise of it)

  • Transparency (and the continued lack of it)

  • Personal Data Protection

  • Cyber Security

  • Accountability (and the continued disregard of it)


Therefore, in identifying the above points of failures, I believe that technology can play some role in building or rebuilding trust. But before I go into that, there were 3 friends that voiced out their thoughts on this matter.


Firstly, I would like to highlight a comment from one group member and friend. The member brought up 3 main thoughts, i.e.:

i) The complexity of managing openness of data versus national security (and stability). The participant brought up point “how much should a government disclose to the public without jeopardising national security on an on-going high profile criminal case. If lack of or delayed disclosures, the public and the media ill sensationalize it even further. Basically the media becomes the courtroom. Where and who will draw the line?” - My friend gave an example to watch a tv show that illustrated this point, i.e. Wisdom of the Crowd (

ii) Leadership. The leadership would need to have wisdom and conscience to know what, when, how to inform the public, with very good judgment call - My friend also suggested to watch “Designated Survivor” -

iii) How media can be manipulated by the current powers that be to “achieve the highest moral judgement to frame and capture terrorist” -


Three very strong opinions on the matter at hand.


2 friend outlined ideas that addressed how tech can help, i.e.

i) a platform where the public can view progress and milestone on mega projects. Allow continuous feedback from citizens

ii) crowdsourced based ideas to solve problems and challenges the nation face

iii) to build a C2G (citizen to government) app

iv) to build a G2C (government to citizen) app

iv) to build an AI app that will be able to put citizens as part of the decision making process

v) to change (or perhaps digitize) processes

vi) to adopt “participatory budgeting” via an app that will allow participation (and tracking of follow-ups) by citizens  (which include corporates and professionals and all levels of workers)

vii) to build apps that will address issues of crimes, schools, waste management, transparency  (and so many more)


These are all very valid reasons and ideas based on personal and shared experiences.  All can possibly solve issues. 


Ideas and thoughts came from friends that are members of (1) Malaysian Digital Hub -¬if_id=1574384540506635¬if_t=group_comment&ref=notif and (2) Entrepreneurs and Startups in Malaysia -¬if_id=1574334713382233¬if_t=group_comment&ref=notif 


A simple video done by NESTA in UK is also interesting to look at -


Additionally, I believe that technology can really bring change and impact trust at the point of failures mentioned earlier.

i) Why do we have to select the candidates based on the options given to us?

ii) Why are we given limited options?

iii) Why can’t we select potential candidates from a new list? A new list built by crowd-sourcing. You will hear this statement often lately, “I have to chose the lesser of 2 evils”. Why?

iv) Why can’t we have a list of individuals that is accompanied with public data, i.e. open data? (For example, past vote or thoughts or opinions the candidate has on topics. Data can be obtained from news feed, parliament proceedings and alike)

  • Therefore, we can see and analyse the candidates presented to us

  • Therefore, we can see and analyse the new candidates that we choose from

v) Why can’t we see what the potential candidate has REALLY done? Instead of “vote for me and then I will show you what I can do” approach. REAL people will be able to show REAL results, roll up my sleeve type of results. 


These 5 points are over arching to address the pre-selection of candidates. More for the future. THE VERY VERY NEAR future. While to solve an issue by throwing the old and create a new is “simplest” by nature, it is unfortunately not. We still have the existing structure in place and change management dictates that the broken aircraft needs to be repaired while the new one is being built WHILE the old aircraft is in flight. This is NO EASY TASK. 


To address the point of failure we have today is essentially regarding rebuilding trust.


Apps can be built. 


Unfortunately, life requires a balancing act. This initiative is no exception.


i) Moral Issues: Can we, the citizen, also be trusted to do the “right” thing? Can the politician or candidate be trusted to do the “right thing”? What is the right thing? Who has a say? Who identifies? Who monitors?

  • Can an app be build to identify and address this? And app to address what Milton Friedman suggested (, i.e. “greed versus virtues” and “political self-interest versus economic self-interest” and I would like to add versus citizen interest.

  • A Moral App?

ii) Reliability Issues: A country is comprised of people with different back ground, education, mindset, wants, needs, priorities in life, pursuit of life, etc etc etc.

  • Can an app be built to take into consideration these differentiations and connect it back to the moral based app?

iii) Accountability / Manipulation / Transparency Issues: Many demand for openness and transparency but can we handle it?

  • Can an app be built to address this? For example, data shared that may create chaos (or worse, manipulated to create instability or chaos). The watch dog is being watched over by the crowd who is being watched over by the selected candidate and so on and so forth. And connect it back to the Moral app and the app mentioned in (ii)

iv) A crowd-sourced based app to allow a “new breed’ of leaders (not necessarily politicians) to be suggested and selected amongst the citizens to take up office. Connect this app to all the above apps. 


I think the question you have posed is relevant and valid but I also think that the questions need to also look both ways. My thoughts on the matter, coupled with the feedback I got from the entrepreneur communities inMalaysia encompasses all the 3 questions and more. 


I hope this helps.






Camila Olate Moderator

Many thanks for this useful information, Roslan! You mentioned important components to better understand the concept of trust. We will check the links!

Roslan Zakaria

Camila Olate If there is anything else, just holler. As I could not figure out a way to put it all here. It would make the comment look like a thesis. Hahahaha. But fundamentally, its abt understanding the vicious cycle we are in. We really need a change in how politics is and the politicians itself. 

Obaid Shah
  1. Does technology have a role to play in building citizen’s trust in local governments? How can local governments effectively use technology to build trust with their citizens?

It absolutely does. I think, IOT (Internet of Things) did help in shaking up some bureaucratic walls and “red-tap-ism”. A “dime spent” information, if shared and available in public domain, makes local residents’ (or at least it gives aura of) being empowered. This empowerment leads to trust, which, inherently, is a slow process by all anthropological reasons. But no doubt, use of technology was/is/will be catalytic in this whole process.

Stakeholder Management is another important aspect to this question. I believe, IOT makes it easier to participate and making sure your voice is heard [ am doing it right here]. In Canadian Municipalities the culture of ‘participating democracy’ have matured over decades, the often “Town Hall” gatherings are an example.  

What have been the success factors in the examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens?

  1.  I will start with a great example in medical history. “The surgeon who operates from 400km away” ( ).
  2.  Availability of required information, online services (transactions, applications) and digitalization of records in several countries speaks volumes of “Ease”, we have in today’s world and I believe this gave much traction to the thaw of trust deficit between citizen and government. Its avoidance of ‘red-tapping’ and a move towards openness.
  3. Now and then, we have something popping up on our social media sites, asking about signing a petition so that government of the day can lend their ears and eyes. All this got possible because of current digital age.
  4. What are the opportunities, challenges and risks of governments engaging with citizens through technology?

From Steam Engine to Industrial Revolution 4.0 (aka IOT) and to [As Hawking said, ] “the AI genie is out of the bottle, a new form of life that will outperform humans” the infinite journey of human endeavor will continue. Question is, did we the homo sapiens are in pace with it, in the context of governance? I opine, NO. But neither we were when the first or second or third industrial revolution happened. Couple of years back, while doing my masters in ‘Engineering & Public Policy’ I used to ponder and had subsequent discourses on ‘Societal Readiness and Do Nothing’ repercussions of IOT. Everyone, rightly though, go for low hanging fruits (benefits of IOT) but have we figured (to borrow a term from Somerset Maugham, which he borrowed from Spinoza) the ‘Human Bondage’ side of it, while ‘Sleeping with the enemy’ (pun intended)? Yes we have big challenges ahead, and the foremost is new “ social contract”. By social contract I mean stepping up policy-making and re-framing the governance regime.

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you for your comment, Obaid!

Camila Olate Moderator

Thank you all for your comments during this first week of consultation. So far, we have had a rich engagement and over 60 comments! It has been enlightening to read your thoughts on Using Technology to Connect Citizens and Governments.

I believe there is general agreement that technology has the potential to play a fundamental role in building citizen’s trust in local governments. Technology should be implemented considering the different groups’ users. Local governments can effectively use technology to share public information, increase transparency and accountability, and fight corruption. One mechanism to encourage citizen’s participation is online consultations. This is especially valuable for those citizens that live in further areas, considering also that we should ensure better connectivity in remote villages.

One of the success factors mentioned in the consultation is taking into account public participation during the technological development.  This involves including citizens and civil society and, on the other hand, local government staff, particularly in the process of planning, development, and deployment. A key element to consider is the diversity of users and provide training to those people who cannot use the new communication technologies. One technology example mentioned is E-government to improve and enhance the services provided to the citizens

Empowering vulnerable groups is a key opportunity. At the same time, it was mentioned several times to consider citizens and communities who don't know how and where to use such technology. It is important to take into account the challenges related to vulnerable groups such as the lack of knowledge using technology and no internet access in remote areas.

One of the main risks in the use of technology is the dissemination of fake news and misinformation, particularly in social media and official platforms. One way that this can be addressed mentioned in the consultation is by providing learning skills in the use of the ICTs in community development, particularly to reduce the flows of fake news.

We look forward to keeping hearing from you!

Saripalli Suryanarayana

Using participatory systems ,via local social sites is more important,in the context of disaster managent.

The local administrations have to create local,communicative web sites-social platforms.

Many local issues can be solved,including taxes,power supply,disasters etc.

Barbara Auricchio Moderator

Dear community! Welcome again to this second week of consultation on a very strategic and key issue in our societies: the role of technology in building trust between citizens and governments!

My name is Barbara Auricchio from the UNDP Regional Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean located in Panamá and I’ll be your moderator for this week 27 Nov – 3 Dec. Let’s keep this interesting conversation going by sharing experiences in your countries where technology has been used effectively, properly and democratically to improve citizens trust on local Government’s work. 


Read a summary of the first week of the consultation, by the previous moderator Camila Olate.


Saripalli Suryanarayana

We welcome You,our Moderator.Ms.Barbara.

In our regional hub,of Bangcok,and Istambul as also from NY,we are discussing in the accelator labs,about using the setallite imaginary for local development.We are aware that Geography and contours[part of geography]decides on urban development.They decide transport,and services.Sanitation is also dependent on such for better living.

The earlier images of setallites not only gives ,land holdings,property,poverty,slums,and saniation,they also provide us the supply and drainage systems.

Thus we can interact on land use,taxes,and citizen development.

Modernisation can not be confined to developed countries or their inventions.

Use of new small machines for roads,and sewer construction,cleaning are needing pressurised leaning machines.

Developing small road laying,as well tunneling machines is essential.

Last but not least is the seggregation of water treatment systems[1]drinking water[2]for other uses of human consumption[3]Treatment of waste water for horticulture and manufacture.

This is to reduce costs.make water for drinking better etc.

Barbara Auricchio Moderator

Thanks Saripalli for sharing this important mean to make visible through images how development in different sectors reaches the communities at the local level. This would help to identify gaps and adjust policies and programes based on evidence. but how it will be used to strength trust of the communities toward local goverments?


Saripalli Suryanarayana

Barbara Auricchio Thank you once gain,in our RBEC innovation,and accelator labs issues are well discussed.

First if Engineering as technology of study started in 1818,then by 1865 most of the world saw,steam engines,coal fire,and using different technology for Railways.It also saw,benz making a car some where in 1840.Thus the industry with coal,and latter by invention of carnot cycle and use of simple developed engine of Diseal[Rudolf Diesel. Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (German: [ˈdiːzl̩] ( listen (help·info)); 18 March 1858 – 29 September 1913)]

Thus the cities saw swelling urban population and the problem of sanitation starting from London,Manchetor and other cities,in all continents was felt.

Our aim is to use simple technologies[Archimedes][Euler},etc has used simple commonsense.

Innovation-invention needs less cost and time.If a hydrogen train can be used in Germany,we can try every where.If small modular reactors give safe power,and in a radius of 10 km we can keep them on a canal,we can power the towns.

Wate cutting needs to be cut between two rollers,dried on a belt,and lumps,or biscuits or to be made.Simple technology helps.

Artificial intelligence and 4G made life easer for transport and money trasfers.

After all history of IMF[and so other countries adoption of Cetral banks is hardly 120 years].The laws are as good as 100 years old[after WW1 things started changing,making state as a respondent].Visa,migration[passport-police all we have invented during 100-150 years]

Why we are afraid is ,there might have some wars with missiles etc about 1000 years back.There might have swell of water in the seas ,and that might have led to the split of earth and formation of continent.

This leaves us to read the geography[contours for urbanisation],which says earth may have maximum 7 KM of solid in to the sea.Where ever it is weak it may split.

Still our setallites can not gauge the thickess of each continet.

Hence let us be safe,have good water systems,and resilence to disasters[good housing-Luckily Indian houses are mostly on safe side]

William Tarpai

I have enjoyed reading through the new posts and replies since I last logged on.  

My primary reason for visiting today was to post about an example of how the use of technology (especially the use of algorithims) is helping to improve outcomes.  I refer to the article - Harnessing Big Data to Improve Refugee Resettlement  -

I would ask participants to provide comments about this type of collaboration....   

Barbara Auricchio Moderator

Thanks William for sharing! It would be great to continue with the discussion and sharing on the "how" technology can strengthen trust between communities and local governments. 

Dr. Timothy Barker

Hello all,

I just read a few of the more recent comments. It occurs to me that although there's some synergy around the potential of technology to foster trust and help encourage citizen's participation (albeit with the caveat of a need for inclusion of 'disadvantaged' communities, etc) there seems to have been little mention of the need for change management - in terms of citizens and governments interrelationships - as technology is introduced?

That is, the status quo (on both sides of the coin) may resist change so it is better to employ strategies and tactics to effectively soften the blow? There's a whole theory to this and I don't wish to be reinventing the wheel here but, for example, piloting and concomitant  evaluation can help reassure stalwarts of our systems that change could be a positive development? Just a thought - something I am personally keen on! Thanks.

Shabina Hussain

Technology though very much needed, often has worked as a double edged sword when it comes to ensuring equal human rights. The misuse of technology leading to large scale human rights violations has left many innocent dead. I am referring to Myanmar & India as well. Where misinformation has resulted in catastrophic outcomes for certain communities. On the other hand state control on access to technology has deprived individuals from accessing & reporting events that have life & death consequences for certain communities. An international standard of equal access, reporting and robust monitoring  of misinformation campaigns by the leading providers of social networking sites should be encouraged. 

Barbara Auricchio Moderator

Dear Shabina, this is a very good point, developing standards in order to guarantee equal and inclusive access to information, but also reporting and monitoring the quality and accuracy of the information provided by social networking (included those led by local political parties). thanks for your thoughts!  

Elif Yasemin Azaz


1) Yes, technology has a significant part in humans’ lives. It affects local life, too. Technology and local life’s balance is so much important to strike and sustain. Individuals and local governments have their roles to favor from this duo.

Your questions in the first segment is so much right to the point that technology and local citizens must definitely interact via safety issue. As is known, technology has advantages & disadvantages and security vulnerability is a huge disadvantage of technology. Precautions taken at the city level against technology security vulnerability would contribute so much to citizen’s safety and wellness. In other words, this is a great way to build or rebuild trust between local governments and citizens.

By precautions taken at the city level against technology security vulnerability, I mean tools or organizations built to improve technology – citizen – city interaction with the aim of improving conciousness on the solutions and the solutions that would contribute to better local life and technology experiences.

Also technology would contribute so much to city experiences of citizens via mobility and apps through communication, gender, emergency, entertainment and mobility.

2) I am a Turkey Republic citizen and personally I am very appreciated with the Health Ministry’s citizen health watch app (e-nabız) and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Culture and Arts app. I think these are good, fundemantal examples to what government/local government have to do for their citizens.

3) Security vulnerabilities and the misuse of technology are the biggest challenges. On the other hand, technology is innovation. So many opportunities would come up to improve the city – government/local government – citizen interaction like enhancing gender equality, healthier, slower cities, crime reduction in the city. These are not just opportunities for government – citizen trust but also are what cities need for their wellness.


Spesifically, local governments have much to do with city – technology – citizen interaction. I agree that e-governments have gone spread already. Local governments should put serious emphasis on the trio.

Barbara Auricchio Moderator

Thanks Elif for sharing experiences from Turkey! you mentioned that technology is innovation, therefore how local government have used technology, including making visible and accountable on the reduction of  gender inequalities, in an innovative manner that have improved trust on their capacitiy to deliver adecuate services and responds to diverse needs of the citizen? 

Elif Yasemin Azaz

Thank you Barbara for your good question. Unfortunately, there haven't been any examples in Turkey yet regarding technology use and gender equality by local governments. What I expressed was an idea that I think the most approprite solution nowadays when the people are busy with technology most of the time and our mobility is high in or between the cities; also when we the experts must produce solutions to ambiguities about technology - human - citizen - city interaction.

Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä
  1. Does technology have a role to play in building citizen’s trust in local governments? How can local governments effectively use technology to build trust with their citizens?

I think the importance here is to explore why the trust has been lost in the first place? Because the lack of participation, the feeling of that citizen cannot influence local governance. Its not discussed yet that much here, the participatory nature of tech, but transparent easy-to-use platforms where decision making and outcomes are transparent, could be one small way forward. 

  1. What have been the success factors in the examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens?

Here is a list of some models that worked out well


  1. What are the opportunities, challenges and risks of governments engaging with citizens through technology?

The tech budgets are always underestimated and the outcomes of tech tend to be overestimated. The people factor is always the most important and user acceptance of adopting any type of new tech is critical success factor. And its good forget Facebook as a platform of change, its risky. 

S ann

From an American context, while it is undeniable that uses of artificial intelligence (AI) can be and are beneficial, it also has a dark side that exploits and further marginalizes protected groups. As shown in the attached, legislative action is required to bring transparency and accountability to prevent future AI abuses, and to foster trust and alleviate bias.  Without laws, there is no enforcement.

Further, the U.S. legislative process allows citizens through their representatives to have input on proposed legislative bills. Another opportunity citizens make public comments is through the Federal Register prior to the enactment of regulations.  The Federal Register is similar to this forum, but more formal in that agencies must adhere to specific rules.  The Federal Register is a mechanism that citizens use to express their support, opposition and/or any changes they feel should be made to a particular regulation.

Barbara Auricchio Moderator

Thanks for all your comments, very useful and enlightening! following Jukka's models that worked out well, let’s think about those examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens, what have been the success factors? is it possible to point out three? Could it  be inclusiveness on of these, guaranteeing access and use for all the community,?  

Dana Rawls

Hi Barbara, I think that increased technological innovation in schools (i.e. laptops and computers, computer coding courses etc), the establishment of e-government services (ie paying for parking tickets online instead of having to stand in a line at a government office all day) and government investments in technology to expand a local, national or regional economy (i.e. investments in agriculture or space technology) are all examples where governments have utilized tech to improve citizen services or the economy and thus improve trust. Of course, there are underlying issues (do the services actually work and of course there are often privacy issues) but there is no denying that governments that use technology in these ways have made some headway towards improving their public perceptions.

Anne Lochoff Moderator

A warm welcome to anybody joining us for the first time this week and to everybody active in the community welcome back to the third week of consultation on the role of technology in building trust between citizens and governments.

Having been based in one of the cities that consistently ranks near or at the top of the world’s smartest cities for the past 12 years I will be moderating this week’s conversation.

My name is Anne Lochoff I am a Senior Advisor at the UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development in Singapore.

One of the focus areas of the Global Centre is on Cities and Digitalisation: Digitalisation is a priority pathway for developing countries to leapfrog to a more advanced level of sustainability, resilience and human development. This affects most areas of policy and practice, including sectors like transportation, health, liveability and governance. 

Therefore, it is so important that we understand how local government can embrace technology in a way that increases citizens trust, perceptions of fairness and overall effectiveness?

I agree with Barbara, Let’s keep this interesting conversation going by sharing experiences from your countries where technology has been used effectively, properly and democratically to improve citizens trust on local Government’s work. 



Read summaries of the previous weeks of the consultation:

  • Week Two, by the previous moderator Barbara Auricchio, and
  • Week One, by the previous moderator Camila Olate.
Barbara Auricchio Moderator

Thank you all for your comments during this second week of consultation. During these first 2 weeks, we had a very rich and interesting engagement with over 90 comments submitted!  

Discussions have centered on the “use” of technology and the challenges of engaging citizens through technology. For example, @Shabina highlighted that Technology, though very much needed, has often worked as a double-edged sword when it comes to ensuring equal human rights. Therefore,  there is  an urgent need to develop national and international standards, as well as regulatory systems related to new technologies. This will serve in guaranteeing equal, secure and inclusive access to information for all, but also, and importantly, monitoring and reporting on the quality and accuracy of the information  that could be provided by local government platforms, social networks (included those led by local political parties), in order to avoid a misuse of technology.  

Responding with regards to “how” local governments effectively employ  technology to build trust with their citizens, many suggestions and examples have been shared. These are mostly based around the creation of local, communicative web sites/social platforms, the use of satellites images to demonstrate how basic services are or may not be reaching communities and  territories. @Elif shared with us the Ministry of Health´s citizen health watch app (e-nabız) and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Culture and Arts app, as positive examples of what local government can do for their citizens. In addition, @Jukka shared a very interesting participation model developed by the city of Helsinki, where the transparency of City operations is improved through the use of open data, to increase a range of opportunities for citizen to participate and influence,

Finally, and to add to other success factors, which have been pointed out in this consultation, @Dana mentioned the establishment of e-government services and government investments in technology to expand a local, national or regional economy (i.e. investments in agriculture or space technology), as good examples where governments have utilized tech to improve citizen services, the economy and therefore trust.

I am certain there is  still so much to discuss, explore and reflect on Using Technology to build trust between Citizens and Governments, so I invite you all to enrich this discussion with your thoughts and experiences in this third week, which will be moderated by our colleague Anne Lochoff.

Saripalli Suryanarayana

Welcome Anne Lochoff..The present systems is being tried by using using user names and passwords.One uses on an average 32 web pages of different issues.Hence AI-use.

AI can be used to recognise faces,which is happening at banks,and for criminals,or at scenes of crime.Thumb impressions are only one way tried at Immigration,passports etc.But that delays the process.With increases in population,and large ques,and governments compelled to cut costs are trying other ways.

So,also UNDP is developing a wiki,so that   and #tagcoding handbook will make the internet free by many giga bytes.Any internet connection can use such.We are collabrating in to such development [free] with others.

The other is the congested old cities,where parking is not available,and the roads are narrow passess.The use of public transport,and use of logistics by using"uber" etc have helped the sucess in keeping the life to full extent.Even our webinar,of UNDP,we get to know that some countries the young are reluctant to apply for driving licences.Thus the 'modifications in living " are timely,keeping all to advance furter.These systems avoid the down fall of human civilization.

The use of 4G is helping in getting better quality,net work services in finacial transactions,and so in learing process.Open sources for education are vailable at speed.

Governments have to come together to use single source "technology and sicience" transmission to public.UNDP or UNESCO can be an intermediate source so that uniform knowledge is available to all in the globe.

Anne Lochoff Moderator

Thank you Saripalli Suryanarayana for your continued contribution to our online discussion, much appreciated. Such great examples, do you have early results, challenges faced or success stories to share?


Phuoc Nguyen

Thank you.

 Thanks all friends.

Saripalli Suryanarayana

Let me write what and where we wish to enhance perform well to meet the SDGs by 2030[1]Banking sector -needs to be revived.It shall not be an  assessessment of the country capabulity,but has to meet the citizens.needs by way of Loans,provide investments and support food production,and shall be able to enable housing for the population with local materials[spending by the country shall be possible with modest productive economy].This do not require huge foreign investments what so ever.[2]The legal sector including the police in remote areas shall be technology oriented including AI and Digital.Even the marine sector needs good responsive technology oriented policing.Technology and people needs have to be addressed in the needs of legal systems,law,legislator,and in policing.Trainings needed have to be scaled.[3]Revenue records along with lands and  property needs to be regulated,technologically preserved and training needs to be imparted for a better Urban as well rural living.Legal frame work,timely assessment,and the system to work with reasonable systems of work for all,and technology and education with out borders for prosperity for all the people in all the countries.[4]Health sector the use technology and data driven analysis and innovation are a necessity.The health applications shall be available in all corners of any country.This was what we discussed in Habitat-3,and in the "world we want-2030" .Technology has to reach all for all purposes,icluding water availabulity[we have  digital meters] and its distribution.And so also all systems universal distribution mechanism is much needed to be an information for all.[5]Agriculture  is the bass for any country or the society.This is the basis for the 'humans economy and livilihood'.Technology needs to be used and sufficient storage fecilities shall be made to make lives safe and sustainable.Scale up the communities and economy by leveraging needed productivity  by supporting water,food production.

Information for all and "Participatory democracy is the need with the use of technology,health,property,lands etc shall be wisible and shall be of conseuqential to sustainable living for all"..

Saúl Morales

1. ¿Tiene la tecnología un papel que desempeñar en la construcción de la confianza de los ciudadanos en los gobiernos locales? ¿Cómo pueden los gobiernos locales utilizar efectivamente la tecnología para generar confianza con sus ciudadanos?

Para responder esta pregunta, mencionar el tema de los drones y los servicios públicos de gobierno. Actualmente se puede observar una gran resistencia para el uso de la tecnología en los servicios públicos de gobierno en México. En este debate entra el uso de los drones en los servicios públicos de gobierno, en territorio mexicano. Donde la sociedad civil y los gobernantes tienen dudas acerca de la aplicación de estas máquinas tecnológicas para el beneficio de los habitantes de la Nación, clasificando a los drones como un peligro para la sociedad.

La creencia de que los drones son especialmente frecuentes para actividades de vigilancia de la seguridad pública o para la invasión de la privacidad, es muy frecuente en la sociedad mexicana. El poco conocimiento de que los drones también puede ser usado en áreas de cultura, deporte, educación, geografía, arquitectura, medio ambiente, tecnología y otras actividades, es un tema que todavía está lejos de los objetivos de los programas públicos.

2. ¿Cuáles han sido los factores de éxito en los ejemplos en los que la tecnología ha contribuido a generar confianza entre los gobiernos y los ciudadanos?

No conozco muchos casos de éxito en el uso de los drones para los servicios públicos, sin embargo el gobierno de la ciudad de México, no solo usa los drones para tareas de seguridad pública cuando hay manifestaciones o movimientos sociales, también trata de manejar la función de estos equipos aéreos a actividades de cultura en producciones de filmación. 

3. ¿Cuáles son las oportunidades, los desafíos y los riesgos de que los gobiernos interactúen con los ciudadanos a través de la tecnología?

Para el caso de los drones, la regulación del uso de estos dispositivos aéreos, también llamados RPAS por la normatividad mexicana, hace difícil la introducción de estos dispositivos aéreos en la aplicación de los servicios públicos de gobierno. Porque los RPAS deben ser registrados en la Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil  Y pueden ser notificadas por cualquier persona física o moral, por cualquier entidad federal, las operaciones del RPAS que causan heridas o la muerte de personas, o daños a las propiedades de terceros a la comandancia del aeropuerto más próximo, usando el formato de Reporte de daños por RPAS

Operar los drones en algún territorio de México, implicar desafío y riesgo, porque tiene mucha responsabilidad en la habilidad de manejo y conocimiento legal. La NORMA Oficial Mexicana NOM-107-SCT3-2019, que establece los requisitos para operar un sistema de aeronave pilotada a distancia (RPAS) en el espacio aéreo mexicano y publicado en el año 2019, indica que "De acuerdo con lo establecido por la Organización de Aviación Civil Internacional (OACI), en el Anexo 8, titulado "Aeronavegabilidad", los fabricantes de aeronaves y la Autoridad de Aviación Civil deben garantizar la aplicación de los problemas necesarios para prevenir accidentes y proteger a los tripulantes, pasajeros y terceras personas ; de igual forma el Anexo 2, titulado "Reglamento del Aire", establece que "

La forma de regular la aviación civil se ha realizado hasta nuestros días, con base en la noción de considerar que un piloto dirige la aeronave desde su interior y la que se considera cuenta con pasajeros y carga a bordo; sin embargo, el concepto de retirar al piloto de la aeronave plantea problemas importantes técnicos y operacionales, cuya complejidad continúa siendo afectada por las Autoridades de Aviación Civil a nivel mundial en conjunto con la comunidad aeronáutica.

Los Sistemas de Aeronaves Pilotadas a Distancia (RPAS) son un nuevo concepto en el ámbito aeronáutico, que la Autoridad Aeronáutica y la industria aeroespacial comprenden, definen e integran para su adecuada operación. Estos sistemas se basan en novedades tecnológicas aeroespaciales de última generación, que ofrecen avances que pueden proporcionar nuevas y mejores aplicaciones civiles y de uso comercial, así como contribuir a mejorar la seguridad operacional y la eficiencia de toda la aviación civil. La integración segura de los RPAS en el espacio aéreo no segregado será una actividad a largo plazo en la que muchos participantes interesados ​​contribuirán con su experiencia y conocimientos en tópicos diversos como el otorgamiento de licencias y la certificación médica del personal que controla la operación de RPAS en tierra,

La oportunidad de usar los drones en los servicios públicos de gobierno, es difícil de alcanzar, por razones de aplicación tecnológica y legal, porque pueden tener mucho tiempo, por la sociedad civil y gobernantes mexicanos, como máquinas aéreas para multas recreativas y en algunas ocasiones para vigilancia de la seguridad pública. Porque como dice esta norma mexicana, “la integración segura de los RPAS en el espacio aéreo no segregado será una actividad a largo plazo”.

La actividad lícita de los drones tiene que ser bien planeada y organizada por los gobiernos, si el meta corto o mediano plazo es integrado estos dispositivos aéreos a los programas públicos o laborales de los servicios públicos y pueden interactuar con los ciudadanos de forma justa. Porque probablemente, tenga la idea de usar los drones para controlar el tránsito vehicular, construir una gran escuela o para reparar una lámpara pública colocada en un lugar alto, podría convertirse en un drama serio, si no existe la regulación o las recomendaciones necesarias.

Anne Lochoff Moderator

Thank you Saúl Morales  for sharing such a complete view of the use of drones and public services of government (Mexico). Perhaps the community could respond with examples from other countries where this maybe a similar challenges but then offer solutions that have been found?

Almudena Fernandez

Thank you all for this fascinating consultation. One thing we have seen as we work on this area is that as governments implement technological solutions to communicate with their citizens, there is a bias towards who engages with these technologies. So the question arises, if resources are allocated based on the complaints, proposals, and participation that comes through these technologies, what are the distributional implications of this? Are there studies around this issue, namely the distributional impacts of technology adoption by governments, that anyone is aware of? Thank you!

da qun xiang

The world should strengthen the management of high-tech network。

To determine the direction of high-tech network research 。

Who will determine the direction of high-tech network research?

The United Nations general assembly is the global government agency that sets the direction for high-tech Internet research 。

The United Nations general assembly has developed a normative framework for high-tech network research in countries around the world。

This is to ensure that citizens of the world can equally enjoy the benefits of high-tech networks。

Anne Lochoff Moderator

Thank you da qun xiang, for sharing the example of the normative framework for high-tech network research, do you know of any examples of where citizens are equally enjoying the benefits of high-tech networks?

da qun xiang

For example, Internet technology should be Shared globally。For example, twitter is available in some countries,For example, twitter is not available in some countries。

Because some governments worry that their citizens will know their privacy policies。

Because some governments are reluctant to let their citizens know more.。

Twitter is not available on the Internet in some countries。

Some countries only allow governments to use twitter but not their citizens。

So the use of the Internet between countries also set up walls。

da qun xiang

Providing citizens with easy access to the Internet is the best way to increase their trust in government。The best way to promote the harmonious development of the world is to open up the Internet and make the world share information。

da qun xiang

Governments simply use their high-tech networks to serve civil society.

Technology networks serving the people is the main way to increase people's trust in government.

The development of high technology can improve people's trust in the government.

The development of high-tech network can also improve people's trust in the government by strengthening the guidance of management norms.

The government can gain people's trust as long as it is clear that high-tech research is for people's service.

If the use of technology to govern the people does not serve the people, then the government cannot be trusted by the people.

da qun xiang

In some countries, local governments form a wall with people on the high-tech Internet。

Government policy is not transparent government information is not public。

Government information can be communicated to people through high-tech networks, but local governments in some countries do not.。

In some countries, local government information transparency is good for economic development and people trust the government。

In some countries, local government information is not transparent, economic development is not good, people do not trust the government。

The best way to advance the country's high-quality development is for the government to implement high-tech networks and share them with the people。

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Welcome to the fourth and final week of the consultation on the role of technology in building trust between citizens and governments!

My name is Emanuele Sapienza. I am a Policy Advisor on Governance at UNDP’s Regional Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean and I will be moderating this week (11-17 December).

One of my main areas of interest is the evolving nature of citizen participation, so I have been keenly following the discussion so far and I look forward to more contributions this week.

As a reminder, we are especially keen to hear from people on three questions:

  1. Does technology have a role to play in building citizen’s trust in local governments? How can local governments effectively use technology to build trust with their citizens?
  1. What have been the success factors in the examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens?
  1. What are the opportunities, challenges and risks of governments engaging with citizens through technology?

Please join the conversation and add your voice before the 17th of December!



Read summaries of the previous weeks of the consultation:

Sylvia Siango Apreku

Exploring the Role of Technology in Building Citizens’ Trust in Local Governments


Building Citizens Trust in Local Governments.


Personal experiences and reflections from post-conflict, fragile and low-capacity country contexts, where I have worked over the period, affirm that a disconnect between the government, at all levels, and the citizenry, breeds mistrust, thereby putting state legitimacy at stake. This aptly describes my experiences in Sierra Leone, The Gambia, South Sudan, and the Solomon Islands. Circumstantial evidence from these countries shows that entrenched disconnect between state and citizenry serves as a potential catalyst that triggers instability and conflict. My personal deduction, therefore, is that democratic governance, becomes meaningful only when citizen participation is inclusive, and all voices, particularly voices of vulnerable groups, such as women, youth, the poor, elderly, disabled, refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and minorities, are heard and given required attention at all levels of the state governing machinery.  The natural question then is, how can this happen effectively and at what appropriate level of government? Is Local Governance and ICT-Led innovations in Local Governments, the viable solution then? If designed, sequenced, paced and implemented prudently, my personal opinion is, yes it is. Local Governance and ICT-Led innovations in Local Governments, hold a feasible potential in building citizens trust, through effective functioning of local and central governments, and enhanced responsiveness.


It stands to reason that local governments and local institutions of governance, are the most logical avenues for vulnerable population groups to get their voices heard, and participate in decision-making processes. For these avenues to flourish and be effective in addressing concerns of the citizenry, access to information should be a paramount prerequisite at all levels; that is, information should be available and accessible to all. In other words, access to information, a basis for communication for empowerment and communication for development in post-conflict, fragile and low-capacity country contexts, can best be achieved through technology in general, and ICT-Led innovations in particular. Anecdotal evidence shows that ICT-Led innovations gravitating towards citizen participation and local service delivery, significantly contribute to trust building between governments and citizens. Citizens’ trust in local governments and state legitimacy improves once ICT-Led innovations are in place; innovations that promote inclusive participation, empowerment of the poor and marginalized population groups, as well as accountability of the state to its citizens. For example, mobile technologies can be effectively used to increase public participation in political processes, policy advocacy, planning and budgeting, including implementation and monitoring of public projects.


ICT connectivity to public service delivery can build citizens’ trust, particularly in countries with isolated and dispersed population groups in conflict-torn countries, such as South Sudan, and countries with difficult geographical set-up, such the archipelago Solomon Islands. While it can be admissible that, the fact that this has not been done in many of these countries signals obvious challenges, it is equally not acceptable that it has not been, at least, experimented at all in most post-conflict and fragile states. Public investments in ICTs to strengthen governance processes kick started in Sierra Leone and The Gambia, mainly for e-administration, but little on e-participation and e-service delivery. Country experiences and lessons learnt from public administration reforms and local governance project interventions, reveal a number of common factors, highlighting emerging trends, and reinforcing existing knowledge, opportunities and challenges, as well as providing important implications for policy directions and designing appropriate interventions, including those outlined in the sections below.



Opportunities, challenges and risks of government engagement with citizens through ICTs.


The technological and digital revolution provides a unique opportunity in the new ways governments work, how citizens access information, how citizens and governments connect and interact with each other. This largely untapped potential provides the opportunity for engaging and building citizens’ trust in local governments.  In post-conflict and developing nations, however, the current technological and digital revolution offers opportunities to only those who can access and use the ICTs, while at the same time presenting a huge challenge for those who face a quadruple divide; digital, rural, youth and gender (particularly women). These categories are perpetually left behind and at a disadvantage. Public- Private Partnerships (PPPs) and collaboration on ICT innovations provide the best opportunity for meaningful local governance and for effective local service delivery, with beneficial innovations in aspects such as: data and evidence for pro-poor planning; budgeting; monitoring and poverty targeting; community participation and inclusiveness; vertical, horizontal and downward accountability and management of resources; and ultimately, improved service delivery and local economic development.


Common impediments to ICT_Led innovations and implementation.


Common impediments to the implementation of ICT-Led innovations in local governments and governments in general, include but not limited to the following:


  • Lack of clarity on availability, or lack thereof, of a committed Champion in government to coordinate and drive such intervention.
  • Inadequate or lack of mechanisms for government responsiveness, citizen engagement and participation. ‘Unresponsiveness of government/s’ in itself, is an impediment. Most often, there is inadequate supportive policy, legal and regulatory environment for the media and ICTs.
  • The dominant role of community radio, as a sole information medium and strong communication channel for marginalized and vulnerable groups can be restrictive. Worth noting is the differential access to the ICTs by men and women.
  • Inadequate preparedness of the communities, particularly rural communities to use and engage through ICT-Led innovations; most common is the limited confidence and capacity of many citizens to access and use ICTs to communicate. Illiteracy, limited skills and cultural barriers make adoption of ICT-Led innovations less likely.
  • Inadequate safe public spaces to support and expand opportunities for communication and participation in decision-making processes.
  • The slow/low coverage and penetration of mobile telephony in post-conflict, fragile and low capacity countries.


Policy directions for successful implementation of ICT-Led innovations in local governments and governments in general.


While it can be argued, and reasonably so, that no single panacea can be prescribed for a challenge as huge as innovation and implementation of ICT-Led innovations in general, and in citizens trust building in local governments in particular, especially for post-conflict and fragile states, a few suggestions to help guide policy, can be useful. The following points highlight some of the back to the basics approach:


  • Advocate for a supportive policy environment, legal and regulatory, for the media and ICTs.
  • Garner political leadership buy-in and introduce the ICT-Led innovations idea to the key Ministry and other Government relevant stakeholders. This must be supported by national-level training on Knowledge and Innovations prototypes. Key training outcome should garner the Whole-of-Government approach and commitment, understanding of its challenges and opportunities; and buy-in for prioritized ICT-Led innovations for local service delivery and citizen participation.
  • Technical support and guidance from Knowledge and Learning Specialists, in creating the appropriate ICT-Led innovations tailored for post-conflict, fragile and low capacity countries, are crucial. ICT-Led innovations should be adapted to local context, content and needs.
  • Building partnerships, scoping and exploring of appropriate public-private partnership models by engaging with Mobile Operators and or Google, is essential. Development partners’ increased investments in ICT-Led innovations for local service delivery and citizen participation, must be explored. Partnerships with NGOs operating at community level built.
  • Leverage on Local Governance projects’ to promote ICT-Led innovations in local service delivery and citizen participation. Identify a funded activity within the Project’s annual work-plan, as an entry point to demonstrate and actualize citizen participation and inclusiveness, using ICT-Led innovations.
  • At the appropriate timing, conduct advocacy and awareness campaigns on use of ICT-Led innovations to improve digital literacy and ICT use, by communities. Keep the dialogue open and on-going on ICT-Led innovations for Local Governments/Governance; providing more understanding on the challenge at hand in fragile country contexts, as well as the appropriate intervention required.
  • Knowledge and experience sharing; share tools used and concrete applicable interventions from the region (e.g “Participatory Planning and Budget Monitoring”,  “Community Centres and Interaction with Members of Parliament Set-ups”, “Corruption Tracking” etc.).
  • Recognize the importance of mixing traditional (e.g community radio) and new ICT-Led innovations and strategies for improving citizen participation, local service delivery and ultimately build citizens trust in local governments.


Anne Lochoff Moderator

Thank you Sylvia Siango Apreku  for your comprehensive insights on building trust within post-conflict, fragile and low-capacity country contexts. Think your suggestion of recognising the importance of mixing traditional (e.g community radio) and new ICT-Led innovations and strategies for improving citizen participation, local service delivery and ultimately build citizens trust in local governments is a profoundly important point. This is so relevant for other regions facing post conflict rebuilding.

Jean Marie BORA

Technologies can help promote justice and peace locally. Advances in digital technology can promote and accelerate the achievement of each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, whether to end extreme poverty, reduce maternal and child mortality, promote sustainable agriculture and decent work or to achieve literacy. However, technology can also threaten the right to privacy, compromise security and deepen inequality. Authorities, businesses and individuals need to choose how to exploit and manage new technologies.

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thank you, Jean Marie, for this very interesting comment!

Anne Lochoff Moderator

A summary of week 3’s conversations Using Technology to Connect Citizens and Governments.

  1. Does technology have a role to play in building citizen’s trust in local governments? How can local governments effectively use technology to build trust with their citizens?

There is continued agreement that technology has the potential to play a fundamental role in building citizen’s trust in local governments. This past week’s discussion shared comprehensive insights into the challenges and possible solutions of empowering vulnerable groups particularly post-conflict, fragile and low-capacity country contexts.

The idea of recognising the importance of mixing traditional (e.g community radio) and new ICT-Led innovations and strategies for improving citizen participation, local service delivery and ultimately build citizens trust in local governments was a good reminder not to only consider new technology solutions.

Solutions or technology discussed were AI, facial recognition, , #tagcoding handbooks, and better 4G networks enabling open sources for education. 

  1. What have been the success factors in the examples where technology has contributed to building trust between governments and citizens?

A great piece of advice that was shared by @ Sylvia Siango Apreku from Uganda was on the building of partnerships, scoping and exploring of appropriate public-private partnership models by engaging with Mobile Operators and or Google. Development partners’ increased investments in ICT-Led innovations for local service delivery and citizen participation, must be explored. Partnerships with NGOs operating at community level built.

  1. What are challenges and risks of governments engaging with citizens through technology?

The use of drones for public services of government highlighted both the risks to citizen trust (security services) and the potential opportunities for solutions( Infrastructure maintenance). The discussion detailed all the current legal and policy barriers currently faced in Mexico.

Régia Estevam Alves

Saudações a todos!

A questão do uso da tecnologia para estabelecer uma comunicação entre governo e sociedade não é simples em países onde a democracia se apresenta em risco ou em países corruptos. O mau uso da tecnologia pode gerar muitos problemas e aumentar ainda mais a falta de confiança da população no governo. Por exemplo, fraudes eleitorais, polarização política, notícias falsas, informações erradas ou falta de informações nos serviços de instituições do governo.

1 - A tecnologia tem um papel a desempenhar na construção da confiança dos cidadãos nos governos locais? Como podem os governos locais efetivamente usar a tecnologia para construir a confiança com seus cidadãos?

Resposta: Sim.

Em termos políticos:

 Penso que é preciso haver uma maior fiscalização da qualidade e veracidade das informações emitidas pelos governos para o uso da tecnologia ser de forma eficiente neste sentido. Ultimamente tem sido comum alguns governos usarem redes sociais para se comunicarem com a sociedade. Isso aumenta a distância entre governo e sociedade, o que não vejo como algo positivo.

Do ponto de vista de serviços administrados pelo governo:

Acredito que o uso de tecnologia para tornar os serviços do governo mais eficientes é válido e possível. Podemos observar vários exemplos de países desenvolvidos que usam a tecnologia para tornar os serviços do governo mais eficientes e, consequentemente, melhorar a comunicação entre governo e sociedade.

 Lembrando que a tecnologia substitui mão de obra humana e consequentemente reduz vagas de trabalho, o que obviamente não é bom.

2 - Quais foram os fatores de sucesso nos exemplos onde a tecnologia tem contribuído para a construção de confiança entre os governos e os cidadãos?

Quando morei em Portugal observei algo bem simples, porém muito eficaz. Existe no serviço de saúde pública é utilizado um sistema de informação em que é gerado um banco de dados com o histórico de consultas médicas, análises clínicas e tratamentos do paciente. Em qualquer lugar do país que o paciente for consultar o médico terá a acesso digital a todo o histórico de saúde do paciente. Isso é bom, pois em países como o Brasil, no sistema de saúde pública, isso ainda é feito de forma rudimentar e as informações do paciente ficam armazenadas localmente em formato analógico (em fichas de papel) sem os médicos de diferentes localidades terem acesso. Além de muitas vezes essas fichas de papel são perdidas e toda a informação do paciente se vai junto. É algo simples, mas sustentável que ajuda a otimizar tempo, reduzir gastos financeiros e uso de papel, reduzindo também impactos ambientais.

3 - Quais são as oportunidades, desafios e riscos de governos engajar com os cidadãos através da tecnologia?


Melhoramento dos serviços do governo;

É uma forma do governo perceber os pontos focais de necessidade de melhoria dos serviços;

Quando a tecnologia usada de forma eficiente aumenta confiança no governo.

Desafios e riscos:

Substituição de mão de obra humana,  distorção ou erro de informações em casos de corrupção e distanciamento entre a fala do governo com o que realmente está acontecendo.  

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thanks, Régia. Very interesting!

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Two very important themes raised in the most recent comments from Jean Marie BORA and Régia Estevam Alves. On the one hand the importance of individuals and other stakeholders being actively involved in shaping what technology is used for and on what terms (as opposed to being just users). On the other hand, the need for oversight to prevent misuses. It would be great to hear from consultation participants about examples of initiatives or good practices addressing these two issues, if people are aware of any…

Tamah Shamangende

Am so honourd to be part of this educating program.Technology is a broad term that refers to artifacts created by human, such as machines and the method uesd to creat those artifacts. eg computers, phones and any other devices.Technologly has a major role to play through our government (Zambia) in bulding the trust to their citizen, for examples..

Phones: In early 90s the governmet of Zambia introduced the use of cell phones through President Fredrick Chiluba which has brought a lot of benefit to the citizens of zambia and the government is able to educate, notifly and inform its citizen through sending massages to its citizens on their phones. 


Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thank you, Tamah!


Does technology have a role to play in building citizens' trust in local governments? How can local governments use technology effectively to build trust with their citizens?

Digitization is a consequence of the globalization effect towards which our societies converge. Technology is a sinequanone component of the new era in which we live.

 Governments are increasingly using the prism of connected applications to address the mass of the people who tend more and more to sulk at the polls for lack of confidence in the political system in place. Many popular protest movements originate from social networks. For example, faced with the issue of pension reform, the French state has implemented a popular participatory strategy aimed at obtaining the approval of the population by co-constructing the future retirement project. The French government therefore used technology as an interface with the population to make a decision fraught with consequences for the future of the country but also to reassure the population by allowing them to participate in the development of their future plan.

What have been the success factors in examples where technology has helped build trust between governments and citizens?

 From the moment when the population has the feeling of participating in the construction of its city, confidence is de facto established because it is a question of developing the bases of a project by taking as a base the results established at the end popular consultation. In Switzerland, this kind of consultation is very common and France is just beginning to experience this type of relationship with its citizens.

 Very often these consultations are done using digital technologies that make Citizenship questions accessible through the internet filter.

Electronic voting is a technology whose deployment has proven itself in terms of efficiency and confidence. In the United States, voters vote for the presidential election through this means. They do not seem suspicious about data security and the trust in government.

What are the opportunities, challenges and risks of governments engaging with citizens through technology?

 The challenges of engaging governments with citizens through the technology filter are manifold and are based on a plural, complex system, itself weakened as its expansion materializes.

 Indeed, governments embarking on this path should take care to:

 - guarantee data security

 - thwart hackers

 - succeed in large-scale dematerialization to contribute to environmental challenges

 - Annihilate the temptations of "mass manipulation" that may arise following the deployment of these citizen / government interface technologies

 - Reduce inequalities of access to these digital technologies

 - Train the population on the subject of digitalization.

 Taking as a base the social, economic, environmental and cultural disparities in which the world fits, the quotes are colossal.

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thanks, Audrey, for further elaborating on a theme that has been coming up on several occasions during the consultation - the relation between participation and trust.

da qun xiang

echnology is the carrier of social progress。Every advance of mankind is driven by technology。

The government should choose technologies conducive to building citizens' trust to develop local economy, culture and art 。

Governments need only plan with the needs and interests of their citizens in mind,

The government can choose the right technology which is beneficial to the development of economy and culture 。

The government's policy philosophy is that the purpose of technology selection is to establish a development environment that shares the benefits with citizens 。

With these three ideological elements, the government and citizens will establish a harmonious relationship of trust。

The challenge is for governments to apply technology to the benefit of political leaders。

Political leaders have higher status and interests than citizens。

Governments choose the technology they need to help political leaders。

This results in political leaders being above citizens。

The solution is:Government regulation of technology。

The government defines the framework for technology research and the technologies that allow research and development。

The government identified technology to help citizens。

Governments choose and identify technologies to share with their citizens。

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thank you very much for this comment!