ابزار های پیش بینی برای سیاستگذاری مشارکتی در فرآیندهای بین دولتی در کشورهای در حال توسعه : درس های آموخته شده از اولویت های سیاست eLAC دلفی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|988||2009||17 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 76, Issue 7, September 2009, Pages 880–896
The paper shows how international foresight exercises, through online and offline tools, can make policy-making in developing countries more participatory, fostering transparency and accountability of public decision-making. A five-round Delphi exercise (with 1454 contributions), based on the priorities of the 2005–2007 Latin American and Caribbean Action Plan for the Information Society (eLAC2007), was implemented. This exercise aimed at identifying future priorities that offered input into the inter-governmental negotiation of a 2008–2010 Action Plan (eLAC2010). It is believed to be the most extensive online participatory policy-making foresight exercise in the history of intergovernmental processes in the developing world to date. In addition to the specific policy guidance provided, the major lessons learned include (1) the potential of Policy Delphi methods to introduce transparency and accountability into public decision-making, especially in developing countries; (2) the utility of foresight exercises to foster multi-agency networking in the development community; (3) the usefulness of embedding foresight exercises into established mechanisms of representative democracy and international multilateralism, such as the United Nations; (4) the potential of online tools to facilitate participation in resource-scarce developing countries; and (5) the resource-efficiency stemming from the scale of international foresight exercises, and therefore its adequacy for resource-scarce regions. Two different types of practical implications have been observed. One is the governments' acknowledgement of the value of collective intelligence from civil society, academic and private sector participants of the Delphi and the ensuing appreciation of participative policy-making. The other is the demonstration of the role that can be played by the United Nations (and potentially by other inter-governmental agencies) in international participatory policy-making in the digital age, especially if they modernize the way they assist member countries in developing public policy agendas.
Over the last decades, much has been written about the structural changes in societies and economies associated with the advent of modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) , , , , ,  and . Change continues at a rapid pace. We are continuing to see the emergence of technologies like the Internet and mobile phones with applicability to practically all kinds of human endeavours, some of them displaying unprecedented speed of diffusion (with the Internet having reached almost every fifth inhabitant of the world, and mobile telephony almost every second, in less than two decades). The digital paradigm is characterised by fast innovation cycles and accelerating technological progress. These factors have led to a high level of uncertainty concerning the options for, and implications of, this technological change. At a global level, the problem of the digital divide and prospects of digital opportunities for development have been underlined at the highest possible political levels, during the two phases of the United Nations' World Summit on the Information Society1 (WSIS) in Geneva in 2003 and Tunis in 2005. This globally approved policy agenda spans a variety of subjects and sets goals to be worked on by the international community between 2005 and 2015. Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries have responded to this global challenge by identifying the most urgent and important short-term policy goals for the region. The result was a selection of thirty areas of interest and seventy concrete goals to be implemented during 2005–2007, through a plan dubbed eLAC20072. This Regional Action Plan for the Information Society was approved at the Regional Preparatory Ministerial Conference of Latin America and the Caribbean for the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society, in Rio de Janeiro from 8–10 June 20053, and was seen as a first partial step towards the goals for 2015. The plan's purpose is to mediate between the ambitious goals of the global agenda, and the local demands of individual countries of the region, by identifying common regional priorities. The plan's nature is a short-term. Accelerating technological progress, proliferating applications, and the related uncertainty in this field of development, have forced policy-makers to opt for a short-term approach of no more than two or three years, allowing for continuous revision and adjustment to constantly changing challenges4. The logic applied here calls for a series of consecutive short-term Action Plans in order to implement the long-term vision until 2015. During the execution of eLAC2007, significant advancements have been observed in the development of Information Societies in Latin America and the Caribbean , while at the same time an increased level of policy activity could be evidenced . As a result, countries and international organizations evaluated the plan as a success  and decided to start the discussion about future priorities concerning the effective usage of ICT to tackle pending challenges in the LAC development agenda. The promises of effective ICT usage are multifaceted. These promises include economic growth and productivity, social inclusion, the modernization of public administration, education and health sectors, security and disaster management, cultural development, and many potentials. The Information Society Programme of the United Nations' Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC), acted as the technical secretariat for the Regional Action Plan eLAC2007. In response to the task of elaborating a new regional agenda for the year 2010, the Programme elaborated the “eLAC Policy Priorities Delphi”. The exercise aimed to identify public policy priorities and strategic policy alternatives regarding the use of ICT for development in the LAC region, for the period between 2008 and 2010. It did so by systematically collecting, and analyzing information so as to provide results that can help to improve the quality of policy choices made in a public policy agenda. The Delphi policy process was conducted between April 2006 and February 2008, with the report of the Delphi exercise being used as an input for the new 2008–2010 Regional Action Plan eLAC2010. (A short description of the inter-governmentally approved eLAC2010 Action Plan can be found in the left-hand columns of the Appendix to this paper, which also provides a general overview of the different topics and thematic areas on the agenda an Action Plan for the development of Information Societies). Below we review this participatory exercise and highlight the lessons learned. It starts with a summary of particularities to consider when working on regional-level agenda-building on such a dynamic and cross-cutting topic as ICT in developing regions. It then presents the Delphi policy process, before drawing conclusions as to the conduct of foresight and participatory policy-making exercises, in developing countries and more generally.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In retrospect, it is possible to identify a number of issues that could have been done differently, and might have improved the effectiveness of the exercise. One of the major challenges was the formulation of concrete policy options to implement the identified thematic priority areas. The received online comments turned out not to be very useful to find the adequate wording of concrete policy actions, and more personal interviews or workshops during the face-to-face meetings in round three and five would have required more resources. It might have been a cost-effective intermediate solution to establish a multi-sector editorial board to assist and supervise the project team's work on synthesising online comments and the results of face-to-face interviews. If resources are available, this group could also serve as a focus group of regional opinion leaders. Sequential workshops could provide regular input and guidance throughout the exercise. A very positive externality of this approach is the creation of a group of regional agents of change. Future exercises should consider the creation of such board to accompany the process. Several design options have been influenced by trade-offs between the “theoretically desirable” and what was thought to be “politically practicable”. One such choice of design related to the right balance between the logic of a Policy Delphi to generate opposing views and the need for a political consensus to go ahead with the inter-governmental negotiation of a common LAC Action Plan. Given that the eLAC process has matured decisively and has entered its second generation already, it might be possible and beneficial for future exercises to deepen analysis and to focus with more detail on the disagreements of participants. In the same line of reasoning it would surely be of analytical interest to employ some kind of mechanism or software to register online users anonymously (such as with a username and password). This would allow tracking the evolution of disagreements over several rounds and the stability of the emerging consent or dissent. Contrary to all initial concerns, the LAC stakeholder community reacted very positively to the chance of participation, which seems to suggest that the addition of some minor user hurdles that enrich later analysis (such as registration or additional background questions) might not necessarily lower participant turn out. Besides lessons learned on design issues, the exercise discussed here also led to several insights about the nature and potential of foresight exercises in developing countries. The eLAC Policy Priorities Delphi brought a considerable amount of transparency and accountability, by introducing public debate into the traditionally obscure and somewhat arbitrary nature of inter-governmental agreements. Decision-makers found themselves asked to justify publicly why they rejected and preferred certain thematic priorities — though they did not always respond to this request. In this sense, the use of foresight tools to enhance participative policy-making in inter-governmental processes is not a quick fix or magic bullet for the longstanding challenges of more democratic and transparent approaches to policy-making. It is a gradual innovation, which respects established customs and procedures of inter-governmental decision-making. While the overwhelming bulk of the results of the Policy Delphi results were accepted by the inter-governmental power structures, the open-ended Delphi community did not replace traditional decision-making mechanisms — nor could it remedy all of their defects. The eLAC Policy Delphi supported public decision making by providing a more open and transparent mechanism, but governments remained free to follow what they see as their given mandates and to act as they see fit. The Policy Delphi did highlight points of mismatch between governmental opinions and the result of the open-ended multi-stakeholder consultations. For example, the newly approved Regional Action Plan for the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean, eLAC2010, does not mention the issues (identified as crucial by the Delphi participants) related to the strengthening of democratic institutions and practices, the transparency and efficiency of the judicial system and the protection of privacy. This is a significant mismatch, whose wider implications deserve more consideration than we can give them now. This “democratic deficit” would have been much less visible if there had been no Policy Delphi exercise to urge the inclusion of these issues in the public policy agenda. The fact that the inter-governmental Ministerial Conference rejected five democracy-related policy actions that have been proposed by the multi-stakeholder group provides rather tangible evidence of political perspectives. Such tangible evidence would be less apparent were all arguments and decisions taking place in the opaque channels of inter-governmental negotiations — the common situation in such political decision-making. Thus, Policy Delphi exercises can help to augment transparency and accountability in public decision-making by simply reveal mismatches of opinion between political leaders and stakeholders. This is of special importance in developing countries, where institutional structures are frequently immature. In this sense, the exercise can serve as a demonstration of a cost-effective way to foster transparent and accountable public decision-making — and not only in developing countries. Furthermore, the potential of participatory mechanisms was not just a theoretical matter, but has already shown practical results. The open-ended consultations during the five consecutive Delphi rounds strengthened a network of stakeholders and institutions that are involved in complementary tasks related to the areas of interest of the Regional Action Plan. As a result, the Appendix of the eLAC2010 Action Plan lists eighty-eight regional agencies that are active in the various challenges outlined by the regional strategy. This Appendix can be seen as a first “who-is-who” and “who-does-what” in the LAC ICT-for-development community. This incipient multi-agency networking is surely one of the most valuable results of the exercise. Such approaches are likely to be especially important in cross-cutting and multi-thematic areas as ICT-for-development. In this sense — as is so often the case in Delphi exercises and in Foresight more generally (c.f. ) — the process itself turned out to be just as important, or maybe even more important, for advancement on the ground, than the final product presented in the report. One reason for the acceptance and success of the exercise lies in its positioning and presentation. The Policy Delphi was not seen to be questioning the legitimacy of representative democracy and established multilateralism. Rather, the process aimed at enriching its functionality, at supporting established inter-governmental practices in the framework of the United Nations system (in form of its Regional Commission UN-ECLAC). This is the basic ambition of participatory policy-making in a representative democracy, where the aim is more for incremental change than for a radical break with traditional notions of democracy. Nevertheless, it does recognize that there are techniques and technological opportunities to gradually modernize the relationship between State and societal actors, and it has been shown that traditional policy makers are receptive to such innovations. These changes involve a growing prominence of such notions as stakeholder and of shared responsibility. Civil society, private and academic sectors and governments are viewed as different parts of society that affect and are affected by the public policy making process, and can contribute their knowledge and take responsibility in a collective way through public foresight consultations. The process relies on the involvement of publicly legitimized technocrats, but recognizes that they cannot possibly possess all the information required to make sound policy choices in such a dynamic and generic topic as ICT-for-development. It therefore mobilizes the collective intelligence of an open-ended stakeholder group, while respecting the established legitimization of democratically elected governments, following the basic definition of a Policy Delphi as a “decision-analysis tool”, and not a decision making tool . Additionally, the eLAC Policy Priorities Delphi is not only about ICT-for-development, but it also exploits the ICTs' involved, drawing on the benefits of digital communication. This helps to overcome geographical barriers and provides a 24/7 availability of the online platform. Cheap channels for participation are essential in Latin America and the Caribbean, given the region's large size and scarce resources. For example, while a four and a half hours flight between Stockholm and Lisbon represents one of the largest barriers to a face-to-face meeting in Europe (3000 km), a flight from Mexico City to Buenos Aires easily takes over 11 h (7500 km). Thus, every personal meeting with regional scope in Latin America and the Caribbean requires at least one day of travel each way for all participants to be able to come, whereas, in Europe, most participants in European Union or OECD meetings can go to a meeting and return the same day. Combined with the cost of travel and the much more limited resources in developing countries — not to mention environmental and personal burdens associated with long-distance travel — virtual channels prove to have great potential to facilitate participatory policy-making. There is bound to be much more use of such methods in coming years. Last but not least, the most important lesson learned might be the contribution of international collaboration in this exercise. The elaboration of a Public Policy Action Plan in the fast-changing field of innovation and technological change is an ongoing challenge that can be confronted internationally. Technological progress is a moving target, but many developing countries do not have sufficient resources to maintain continuous foresight exercises. In this case, the support from Europe (in form of the funds from the European Commission's @LIS project and the conceptual collaboration between UN-ECLAC and the much more experienced team at the University of Manchester, UK), and the South–South deliberations within Latin America and the Caribbean, has shown that international cooperation provides an adequate platform and sufficient scale for developing countries to adjust their policy actions to permanent technological change. Foresight exercises are resource intensive and if developing countries want to prepare better for the future, international collaboration at the regional level seems like the most feasible level to start with an institutionalization of such exercises in the developing world.