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Strategies for Developing Information Societies: The Case of Romania.

The development of information society is definitely the most important challenge that Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries must face in the near future. Concepts like good governance, IT-enabled development strategy and public sector information (PSI) have increasingly become interdependent [1] and hence, critically relevant, especially in the economic and socio-political context featuring the developing efforts of the CEE countries. In political terms, PSI is now credited with enhancing the democratization process, increasing political accountability, and improving the tattered government-citizen relationship. In economic terms, PSI is associated with combating corruption, creating a transparent and competitive economic environment, and speeding up standard administrative processes for citizens and business. In the social field, PSI is assumed to help restore public trust, rebuild social capital, and increase the transparency, quality and efficiency of public services. In short, PSI is generally expected to become the future engine for political and economic development as well as the critical ingredient for any good governance practice. However, weak institutional, legal and technological infrastructure, dearth of financial and human resources, bureaucratic resistance to change, as well as lack of leadership and strategic thinking constitute the main obstacles against the effective implementation of PSI in the CEE region.

 By taking Romania as a case study, the objectives of the research project are the following:

  • Examine the positions and action strategies of governmental bodies, EU institutions, and relevant civic interest groups with respect to the development of the Romanian PSI, ICT and e-governance sectors;

  • Assess the degree of public access to information from Romanian state institutions;

  • Discuss the medium-term implications of these strategies for the perspectives of the Romanian economic and political development;

  • Devise recommendations for PSI regulations;

  • Develop a policy paper on program strategies in the field of PSI policy.

Although focused on the Romanian PSI sector, the policy paper is intended to serve more broadly as background material for policy recommendations to other countries from the region, as well as to those civic society groups which, given their poor financial and expertise resources, possess few instruments to secure exclusively by themselves better access to governmental information and official channels of communication. The paper concludes with a triple set of policy recommendations (with regard to the institutional framework, the policy context, and the ICT infrastructure) for implementing a three-stage reformist agenda of e-governance based on two pillars: robust development of public sector information and large-scale application of Information and Communication Technologies.

[1] For a good overview of the subject see Richard Heeks, “Understanding e-governance for development,” University of Manchester: Institute for Development Policy and Management, Working Paper No. 11: 2001,; R. Heeks, Reinventing Government in the Information Age, International Practice in IT-Enabled Public Sector Reform (London: Routledge, 1999); “Readiness for the Networked World: A Guide for Developing Countries,” Information Technologies Group: Center for International Development at Harvard University 2000,; “Digital Opportunities for all: Meeting the Challenge,” Draft Report of the DOT Force, version 3.0, Siena Plenary Meeting, 23-24 April 2001.

Copyright © 2001 Corneliu Bjola. All rights reserved.
Revised: October 13, 2002.



Public access to information in Romania (PowerPoint:  282 K).

IPF Final Activity Report (PDF 14.6 K).

IPF Final Policy Paper (PDF 39.3 K).

IPF Final Research Report (PDF 1.98MB).

Article published in the Romanian Journal of European Affairs July 2002 (PDF 8.41MB) 


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