The Good Governance in the Information Society Project (2004 – 2010) has been focusing on how new information and communication technologies (ICT) affect the practice of democracy in Council of Europe member states. Its main aim has been to provide governments and other stakeholders with new instruments and practical tools in this field and to promote the application of existing instruments and of good and innovatory policy practice
Standards in the field of e-voting
The Council of Europe Recommendation on e-voting (CM/Rec(2004)11) has become the main international reference for ensuring democratic election standards when e-voting is
The second biennial meeting to review developments in the field of e-voting and the application of Rec(2004)11 (Madrid, 16 October 2008) was organised in the context of the 2008 Session of the Forum for the Future of Democracy. At that meeting, the representatives of member states present agreed that the Recommendation on e-voting continues to be accurate and useful. At the same time, the participants felt that in the light of experiences and developments in the field of e-voting over the last four years, it might be appropriate to develop some additional commentaries on certain parts of the Recommendation. It was therefore agreed that the Secretariat should make an inventory of the topics which member states feel require more elaboration with a view to presenting the outcomes at the next biennial meeting, which will take place in Strasbourg on 16-17 November 2010. The participants also suggested that the issues of certification of e-voting systems should be the priority field of the Council of Europe’s future work on e-voting. The results of this work will be presented at the review meeting in November. At the same occasion, a new publication entitled “E-voting handbook: Key steps in the implementation of e-enabled elections” will be presented.
Standards in the field of e-democracy
The Recommendation on e-democracy (CM/Rec(2009)1), prepared by the Council of Europe’s Ad Hoc Committee on e-democracy (CAHDE) and adopted by the Committee of Ministers in February 2009, offers all European governments and other interested stakeholders substantial guidelines and principles when dealing with e-democracy. Alongside an explanatory memorandum, the Recommendation is accompanied by a number of practical tools1 providing practical information on using ICT for democratic processes.
In order to raise awareness about the potential of e-democracy, the Council of Europe has developed a portable exhibition on electronic democracy which has been shown since September 2009 at several events at the Council of Europe and elsewhere2.
Regulatory action may also be taken in respect of internet governance. In this connection, in 2007 the Council of Europe, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) launched a joint initiative in the framework of the UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) on “Public Participation in Internet Governance”. The objective of this initiative is to propose a code of good practice on information participation and transparency in internet governance that may be considered by major internet governance entities. During the past year, the draft code has been explored with various internet governance (IG) entities such as ICANN, regional and national IG fora, and ISOC. A workshop at the fifth IGF in Vilnius/Lithuania (14-17 September 2010) will provide an opportunity to discuss the practical aspects of applying a draft code of good practice and to hear from members of the wider internet community on their experiences and suggestions.
2 The Council of Europe is keen to show this exhibition at events related to the discussion and promotion of democracy and good governance. Further information may be obtained from ruth.goodwin[at]coe.int.