One focus is ICT (Information and Communication Technology). The existing structures and resources of the Zambian parliament are a good starting point, but they do not meet the growing demands and needs of the daily work routine of a modern parliament. There is still the need to develop both in terms of internal data transmission and the flow of information, as well as in terms of communication with the people and opportunities for citizens' active participation in parliamentary processes.
With the support of Peter Reichstädter, Head of the Information Technology Department at the Austrian Parliament, an ICT strategy will be developed by the end of 2018, defining the vision, mission and goals. Build on it, the implementation plan will be created. A workshop took place from 14 to 22 February 2018 as part of a working visit to Lusaka. Together with the project coordinator of the NorthSouthDialogue of Parliaments, Jutta Kepplinger, Peter Reichstädter moderated the workshop and was available as a resource person.
The participants consisted of senior staff members of the various departments, but also of IT experts from Smart Zambia, a government institution promoting e-governance. In his opening speech Deputy Parliamentary Director Roy Ngulube emphasized that IT has an important role to play in bringing Parliament closer to the people. Dr Martine Mtonga, Permanent Secretary and National Coordinator of Smart Zambia, stated that it is important to develop and improve services for citizens. In a very intensive process, vision, mission and subgoals were defined during the 4-day workshop. Together with a core team consisting of employees from the IT department of the Zambian parliament, Peter Reichstädter will continue to work on the document.
The visit was also of interest for the work in the Austrian Parliament. The National Assembly of Zambia has an electronic voting system in the plenary session room since last year and its own parliamentary television since the beginning of the year. Corresponding information about both systems was provided by the Zambian partner.
In preparatin of the development of a new ICT Masterplan for the National Assembly of Zambia, the deputy head of the IT department, Mwango Sharpe, and her colleague, David Mulenga, visited e-fovernance institutions in Tallinn.
Estonia is a European pioneer in terms of electronic participation and administration. The visit was initiated by Peter Reichstädter, head of the IT department of the Austrian Parliament, and organised within the framework of the NorthSouthDialogue of Parliaments. During their four-day work visit, the Zambian colleagues discussed with the Estonian Information Technology Director Siim Sikkut about e-law interfaces between government and parliament.
As guests of the e-Governance Academy, they were presented with Arvo Ott's experience with e-governance tools in Estonia. Particularly interesting was the presentation by Liia Hänni, former Minister of Reform, former member of the Estonian Parliament and member of the first constitutional committee after independence in 1992. She is currently adviser to the Estonian President on e-democracy. Dr. Hänni dealt intensively with the topics of transparency, accountability and communication in both lectures and how these can be accelerated by new applications in the IT area.
During a visit to the Technical University of Tallinn, Prof. Robert Krimmer informed the IT staff about the "Once Only" principle launched by the European Commission in January 2017. There was, of course, also an exchange with the colleagues of the Estonian Parliament, the Riigikogu, taking place. The main topics discussed were the improvement of internal processes, the IT system in the plenary hall and the adaptation of the website. The visit concluded with a half-day workshop with Peter Reichstädter and PNSD project coordinator Jutta Kepplinger to prepare the next steps for the development of the new ICT master plan.