Panel on digital governments at the Brazilian Innovation Week 2023

Brazil

On 8 November 2023, the Secretariat for the Brazilian-German Digital Dialogue moderated an online panel at the Brazilian Innovation Week, annually hosted by the National School of Public Administration (ENAP). The focus of the panel “Global and local: International inputs for the national strategy of digital government” lied on discussing international best practices of the digital transformation of the public sector.

The panel explored international best practices for the digital transformation of Brazil’s public sector. © ENAP

Since 2018, the Brazilian government has been working on upscaling its digital services. In 2020, the Secretariat of Digital Government (SGD) released the first Digital Government Strategy (EGD) to digitalise federal public services. SGD focused on expanding the digitalisation of public services to subnational governments.

SGD is currently developing the National Digital Government Strategy (ENGD) to guide local policymakers in using digital tools to create more inclusive and citizen-centred governments. To support SGD’s efforts, the Secretariat for the Brazilian-German Digital Dialogue carried out a study to compare best practices from countries that digitalised their local governments successfully.

At the Brazilian Innovation Week, the Secretariat for the Brazilian-German Digital Dialogue organised a panel to present the study's findings and exchange with Brazilian stakeholders from civil society and academia. The Brazilian innovation week is the largest event on innovation in the public sector in Latin America.

International best practices on digital government

Nilson Borges, a digital government expert from Ekeep consultancy, explained that he and his team interviewed representatives from the public sector of Denmark, Estonia, Spain and South Korea. The interviews allowed them to comprehend the factors behind the successful digitalisation of local governments.

The initial findings revealed the need for an effective dialogue with all stakeholders involved in digital governance, meaning citizens, the government and the private sector. Borges also highlighted the crucial role of skills and training in the public sector.

Insights from panel speakers

After the presentation of the study findings, the panellists shared their views on the topic. Larissa Pedroso, Deputy Manager of the Innovation Laboratory of the Public Prosecutor's Office of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Inova MPRJ), stressed the importance of supporting municipalities while considering their diverse contexts. She also warned of the risk of digitalisation overshadowing other challenges that may be more pressing for local policymakers.

Manuel Bonduki, public policy lecturer at Insper University, emphasised the need for a strategy that accounts for Brazil's diversity, considering the many degrees of digitalisation across states. He suggested establishing a basic set of rules for subnational governments, such as joining the GOV.br platform.

According to Daniel Annenberg, advisor at the NGO Instituto I and former member of the City Council of Sao Paulo, municipalities should collaborate with citizens to create more efficient solutions. He reiterated that citizens should always be the focus of digital governments, which hold immense potential to reduce inequalities and tackle structural issues.

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