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UN E-Government Survey in the News  
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UAE eGovernment forum proving to be a popular eParticipation channel
Source: Khaleej Times, http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/government/2012/September/government_September4.xml&section=government
Source Date: Sunday, September 02, 2012
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Country: United Arab Emirates
Created: Sep 04, 2012

The UAE eGovernment forum is becoming a popular eParticipation channel for the citizens and residents of the UAE as even for prospective tourists and investors to raise issues and share views.

The participants ask questions, raise issues and share views on a host of subjects such as visa matters, environment conservation and culture preservation.

On the topic, ‘Are social media effective in dealing with government departments?’ a participant shared, “I find social media amongst the easiest ways to contact the government departments. I have raised issues, asked queries and even shared my feedback with the entities through social media. What is appreciable is that despite so many interactions, the department took note of my posts and acknowledged me. They answered my queries, followed up on my complaints and valued my feedback. I think social media in the UAE is very effective.”

On another topic, ‘Developing UAE as centre of excellence for the Arabic Language’ a participant wrote, “There should be government run and assisted Arabic language schools to encourage expats to learn the local language and in turn help them to relate to locals and those originating from the region.”

While another participant shared, “Knowing the local language is very helpful in integration of expats with the Arabic speaking community. Even the expats who have been here for decades do not speak Arabic, either because they feel that it is not a necessity to survive here hence made no effort or they find that the facilities to learn the language is either not there or too expensive. The government’s effort to teach Arabic compulsorily in schools is an excellent idea. I feel that there should be greater emphasis on spoken Arabic in the classrooms. If the language is taught with the help of audio visual/multimedia then there will be more interest among the students.”

The forum is one of the several channels of eParticipation adopted by the UAE government and has been part of the revamped UAE federal portal www.government.ae since its launch in May 2012.

Sharing his thoughts on eParticipation, Salem Khamis Al Shair Al Suwaidi, Deputy Director General, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) – Information and eGovernment Sector said, “eParticipation is an important tool of communication between the government and the public and aids in enhancing transparency, efficiency and accountability of the government. I appreciate the involvement shown by our participants who utilise these channels to share their views and concerns and would encourage everyone to join in.”

The UAE’s lead in the field of eParticipation was acknowledged in the United Nations E-Government Survey 2012, which ranked the UAE at 6th position globally on the eParticipation index.

People can participate in the UAE government forum by adding questions and replying to questions that others have posted. Sharing name and email id is optional and no sign-in is required to take part in the forum. You are welcome to participate in the UAE eGovernment forum.

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