UN: African Parliaments Seek To Become More IT-Savvy

United Nations holds workshop for African parliamentary officials to better their information systems, strengthen regional networking and promote democracy , June 21, 2006

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 21 June – African Parliamentary officials from eleven countries, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum and the Pan African Parliament will discuss at a United Nations workshop the benefits of applying information and communications technologies to their work in order to promote parliamentary democracy.

The workshop is part of the bigger project “Strengthening Parliaments’ Information Systems in Africa - a Regional Initiative” which aims to assist African countries by providing an efficient support structure for the administration of Parliaments, increasing parliamentary knowledge management skills and strengthening regional networking among African Parliaments. It also strives for more transparency by facilitating access to parliamentary proceedings and encouraging civic participation in political processes.

To be held in Cape Town, South Africa from 27 to 30 June, the workshop will be attended by parliamentary officials from Angola, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, the SADC Parliamentary Forum and the Pan African Parliament. Participants also include officials from the European Parliament, the Senate of Spain, the University of Bologna, Italy, the University of Western Cape, the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and the United Nations Division for Public Administration and Development Management.

At the workshop, delegates will discuss AKOMA NTOSO, a system developed by the United Nations to adopt solutions that foster accessibility, transparency and accountability of parliamentary documents, thus facilitating citizens' right to access parliamentary proceedings. Participants will share their views on a new initiative, “Bungeni - Parliamentary Information System,” developed to support legislation, keep records and publish parliamentary documents. The initiative aims to increase the efficiency of parliamentary activities and make Parliaments more open and accessible to citizens, virtually allowing them inside the Parliament.

Delegates will also discuss e-voting in parliaments and Eurovoc, a multilingual thesaurus of the European Parliament being used for over 20 years in more than 25 countries.

The workshop is organized by the Division for Public Administration and Development Management at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with the Pan African Parliament.
For further information, please visit http://www.parliaments.info/ or contact Flavio Zeni, Chief Technical Advisor, Strengthening the Parliaments' Information Systems in Africa, United Nations, tel. (254) 20-2848 401/39, mobile (254) 733-638 298, e-mail flavio.zeni@gmail.com

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