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Technology can help shave costs for local governments, Ban says

Technology can help shave costs for local governments, Ban says

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As the ramifications of the global economic crisis continue to reverberate worldwide, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today highlighted the cost-cutting potential of new uses of information and communication technology (ICT) for local governments.

Many countries, he said in a video message for the inaugural General Assembly of the World e-Governments Organization of Cities and Local Governments, are facing severe fiscal constraints, experiencing high unemployment and are being forced to cut back on social services.

New uses of ICT, Mr. Ban told the event under way in Seoul, Republic of Korea, “can help governments become more efficient and effective; more transparent and more accountable.”

More than 50 cities have signed on to the organization, which aims to disseminate knowledge of e-governments worldwide and bridge the digital divide.

“Together, you can learn from one another,” the Secretary-General said. “You can find out more about the technology that best fits your needs. And in the process, you can empower citizens.”

Technology use at the city and regional levels can enhance civic participation, boost trust in government services and strengthen democracy, he stressed.