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Strategy | Policy | Policymaking
By 2004, it became clear to most stakeholders that inefficient and lacking legal and institutional framework has been hindering the development of information society (IS) on all levels in FYROM. In some cases, the existing legal framework was directly opposed to development of IS and especially e-commerce: for instance, the law required all legally binding documents to be signed by hand, not digitally. Moreover, FYROM has accepted the obligation to develop IS policies and strategies based on indigenous demand (with the e-Declaration adopted by the Parliament in 2002), and based on international obligations within the framework of the Stability Pact for SEE, the systems of UN and Council of Europe, and as part of the process of accession to the European Union, especially in alignment with the i2010 goals. However, before the project started, these obligations have not been met due to low level of initiative by elected political representatives.
The Foundation Open Society Institute Macedonia (FOSIM - www.soros.org.mk) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP - www.undp.org.mk) provided funds for creation of the National Strategy for Information Society Development, National Policy of IS Development, and an Action Plan, under coordination of the Committee for IT of the Government of RM (www.kit.gov.mk) through an inclusive process involving all relevant stakeholders. Metamorphosis Foundation (www.metamorphosis.org.mk) participated as implementing partner of FOSIM, providing both expertise and logistical aid to the process.
Participation in the project benefited its stakeholders in the following manner:
- The country gained a set of high quality working policy documents to be used as basis and guidelines for legislative and institutional reforms, and also contributed to fulfiling Macedonia's international obligations, providing positive reputation on regional and European level.
- The inclusive and joint approach also increased the internal networking of diverse stakeholders working on development of IS regardless of their background, contributing to the increase of internal cohesion of Macedonian society.
- All parties involved in the processâ€”especially the public administration representativesâ€”were able to claim credit for all the obviously positive developments resulting from the project.
The project was presented at the 1st International Conference e-Society.Mk taking place in Skopje, 20.10.2005 (www.e-society.org.mk), and also presented at the World Summit of Information Society in Tunis 2005 by Macedonian government and UNDP representatives.
Lesson 1 - The primary factor for success of this project was the insistence on inclusion of all stakeholders, which in turn created sense of ownership by their representatives. This resulted into widespread support for the policy documents by the decision makers, especially within the public administration, resulting in unanimous approval within the executive and legislative branches of the government.
Lesson 2 - Another success factor was putting the effort in context of general development of the society in all the main spheres, represented by the seven pillars, making it impossible for political representatives on any level to declare open opposition to it. Given the public perception that ICT is key factor for development, such an act would brand the naysayers as opposing general progress and knowledge, resulting in public relations disaster for them.
Lesson 3 - The third important success factor was the deliberate effort by implementers to put the project in context of the further international recognition of FYROM: among the UN members and as vital part of the struggle to join the EU. This included constant stress on the facts that the project realises international obligations taken by the country, and that it raises the profile of FYROM at a regional level, especially in comparison with most other Western Balkan countries.