ISLAMABAD (DNA) : In collaboration with the Government of Australia and the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) organized a three-day conference on the role of technology in strengthening democracy. The debate centered on the opportunities to leverage technological developments to help advance the quality of democratic process and citizen engagement, and the potential for technology to exacerbate the marginalization of constituencies. The conference brought together people from the private, public and non-profit sectors to discuss the core governance challenges of Pakistan, and possible technological solutions that can be developed, particularly by the growing tech sector, to help address these challenges. The Australian High Commissioner, Peter Heyward said that modern technology can enhance individual rights and strengthen rule of law. Sustainable democracies are built on strong institutions and robust electoral systems are pivotal for fair electoral process. Technology plays an important role in increasing transparency and accountability. The Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal commended the efforts of UNDP and said that technology and its role in strengthening democracy is a subject of increasing importance today. He further added that ‘We are living in an age of unprecedented change – no human generation has ever witness such mega changes as our generation is witnessing, thanks largely to knowledge and the information era.’ UNDP Country Director, Marc-André Franche concluded that technology is not a panacea for Pakistan’s governance challenges. However, as demonstrated during the event, technology can play a role in strengthening the performance of Pakistan’s democratic institutions and processes. This process is vital to securing the goals of poverty reduction and sustainable development. The sessions over the three days brought together experts from a range of sectors highlighting the innovative work of Pakistan’s established and emerging leaders in civic sector and e-governance technologies. The sessions on the second day explored how technology is enhancing the integrity of electoral processes.
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