E-Forum - The Forum for European ePublic Services
E-Forum is a not-for-profit association, registered in Belgium, that brings together interested parties active in the field of eGovernment in Europe. We are dedicated to analysing the future needs of smart governance and smart cities in Europe, and promoting excellence in defining solutions to those needs by bringing private and public actors together. In recent years, we have specialised in both Identity Management and EU-China Smart City development. And since we have specialised, we have developed strong relationships and frequently collaborate with the two leading networks operating across the full spectrum of eGovernment: EUROCITIES - a network of major European cities responding to common issues affecting the everyday lives of Europeans - and Major Cities of Europe IT Users Group - a network of leading city innovation experts maximising the value realised from the use of information and communication technologies at the sub-national government-level.
The European Commission supported the start-up of E-Forum with assistance from the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and Development and one valuable tool developed involved the process through which to best share recognised good practice. This revolved around the creation if "Communities of Interest."
Essentially, e-Forum is a network for exchange of ideas which has evolved to specialise in specific areas and engage directly in projects around Identity Management and EU-China Smart City developement and to assist in the dissemination and sustainability of projects in these fields.
E-Forum has been involved in a variety of projects. Examples of past projects can be found on our repository page.
EU-China E-Forum/China-EU E-Forum
The EU-China Information Society Project was a joint initiative between the Chinese Government and the European Union, running from July 2005 to June 2009. The primary aim of the project was to enhance regulatory dialogue between the EU and China, linking public and private sector organisations to establish long-lasting relations in Information Society.
A major objective was to conduct e-Government demonstration projects in six localities, drawing on good practises from Europe to improve government service delivery. These six project areas were Chengdu in Sichuan, Yantai in Shandong, Handan in Hebei, Xi'an in Shanxi, Yangquan in Shanxi and Baotou in Inner Mongolia.
A regulatory framework was designed to support the Chinese government enact and implement essential laws, regulations and non-legislative measures to foster the development of Information Society in China. These initiatives were designed to promote decision-making processes towards a more market-oriented and transparent regulatory environment for Information Society.
A provincial training programme was carried out across China to roll out the results of the regulatory and improved government service components, to prepare provincial decision-makers for the challenges in constructing eGovernment programmes. These activities were designed to provide a platform for continued high-level Information Society regulatory dialogue between China and the EU.
Many of the experts involved were E-Forum members and in order to ensure a level of sustainability and to encourage the flourishing of the partnerships created between Chinese and EU cities and organisations, a meeting was held at the Malm EU Ministerial COnference in 2009.
There was a need to pragmatically fill the gap between a long term strategy evolving and the immediate needs for continuity, as much would have been lost if the momentum had not been maintained. There was a strong willingness from cities and local authorities to continue the exchanges of experts and the study tours. A pragmatic informal approach was taken.
It was suggested that two new organisations, capable of acting under the wider EU E-Forum umbrella, be set up. These would be respectively “EU-China eForum” and “China-EU eForum,” the former being established in the EU and the latter in China, creating a focus in the short-term and a mechanism for maintaining and enhancing the existing Knowledge Base.
Concurrent to this, every effort will be made to consolidate the evolving partnerships between the Chinese cities and their counterparts in the EU through applications to the EU Framework 7 Programme, Horizon2020 and similar funding regimes. This has resulted in Chinese cities participating in EU-funded projects such as Handan in CHAINS, dealing with Carbon Awareness, Yantai in FUPOL, dealing with Citizen Centric Policy making tools and Tianjin joining the Manchester/Eindhoven/Stavanger Smart Cities Lighthouse project-TRIANGULUM as examples.
Swiftly following the Ministerial Declaration made at the EU IST Conference in Malmo, EU e-Forum took steps to act upon it. Malmo City hosted the meeting which was attended by the leading participants from the original EU-China IST project which had finished in July. The intention was to create a mechanism for sustaining the important initiatives created by that project and to cement the networking activities which were in full flow, within a new structure, to ensure their development. Hopefully a new EU and Chinese Government will be initiated in due course as a result of the Dialogue in response to the success of the initial collaboration.
Representatives from the Chinese Demonstration cities, including Madam Jing Cao from Yantai and Dr Li from Handan (both in the top 10 eGovernment cities of China) were accompanied by the Director of the original project, Chris Brown, who was accompanied by his colleague from the Beijing Office, Boyong Wang. A Committee was established to continue this work, chaired by Dr Shaun Topham, president of EU E-Forum with representatives from Malmo, South Yorkshire, Tuscany, Hamburg and so - essentially locations which had either provided experts to the Chinese collaborations or hosted visits from Chinese delegations.
The initial programme built upon existing relationships and culminated in a series of activities organised around the Shanghai World Trade Fair. A follow–up meeting was organised in Brussels in the Spring, with other initiatives in the pipeline. The onus being upon collaborating together on what will come next in the world of eGovernment, concentrating upon themes within the Ministerial Declaration (and its counterpart in the Chinese Information Strategy), rather than that of simply sharing best practice.