Taiwan during a pandemic “a powerful model for other parts of the world”: State Department officials

Taiwan’s success in the area of ​​”open government” policy development and implementation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, is Thursday as an example that other countries should follow during an event hosted by the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Was praised by.

The OGP was launched in 2011 by eight founding countries, including the United States, and currently has more than 70 countries and numbers aimed at “improving the availability of information on government activities” and “supporting citizen participation in decision making.” Includes ten local governments. And policy formulation. “

“Taiwan’s transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic is a powerful model for the rest of the world,” said Scott Basby, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. Succeeded in defending against pandemics without widespread blockades or closures of schools and businesses.

Epoch Times Photo
Ambassador Abraham Wenshan Chu of 20,000 surgical masks donated by Taiwan to help the COVID-19 pandemic and Orange County fight in Santa Ana, California on June 16, 2020. We appreciate up to one package. (John Fredricks / Epoch Times)

“Many governments have imposed overly strict pandemic-related measures that have reduced open government,” Basby said. “These include restrictions on civil space, government surveillance, and access to information. But Taiwan has sought another path …. Taiwan has the effect of stopping the spread of the virus. We have taken early and bold steps to engage our citizens, while taking proactive steps. The global fight against the coronavirus is not over yet, but Taiwan is already with the global community. There are many positive lessons to share. “

Busby pointed out an initiative led by Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang and developed and implemented an online “mask map” showing “real-time inventory updates by citizens of masks from various vendors.” The platform was launched shortly after the pandemic in early 2020. At that time, medical masks, which were in short supply at that time, were being distributed in Taiwan.

“These maps have enabled citizens to more effectively target when and where to buy face coverings, so that they can face-to-face at times of public health importance. So far, more than 10 million people in 24 million countries are using the platform. “This initiative is a Taiwanese government agency. Not only was it born of a close relationship with Taiwan’s civil society, and the technology community. “

During the event, Digital Minister Tan, who Basby called “the leader of the open government movement,” said the mask map platform was updated every 30 seconds, with masks from nearby vendors to reduce the time waiting for mask buyers. The line said it showed that it was available, and also helped Taiwan’s better distribution masks.

Epoch Times Photo
On April 6, 2020, a production line worker is wearing a protective mask at a factory in Taoyuan City, Taiwan. (Reuters / Ann Wang)

Crowdsourcing efforts like this, where citizens share information about mask availability, are “because people understand that there is strong personal data protection when publishing fundamentally transparent datasets. It’s only possible, “says Tang. Mr. Tang said that public government projects such as Maskmap have so far been “unblocked and killed less than 20 people” in Taiwan due to COVID-19, a disease caused by COVID-19. -19 Said that it contributed to Taiwan’s widely acclaimed success in managing the pandemic. CCP (Chinese Communist) virus.

Mr. Tang elaborated on Taiwan’s recently launched Open Government National Action Plan. The plan was “co-created in the manner of civil society and multiple stakeholders.” “The co-creation process lasted about a year and a half,” Tang said before the National Action Plan began in January, and Taiwan’s past open government initiative petitioned Taiwanese citizens directly and publicly to the government. Electronically explaining how this was made possible. This has increased inclusiveness and allowed Taiwanese youth to become more civilally involved. A high school student pointed out an example of a successful petition to gradually ban plastic straws associated with drinking tapioca tea, which is common in Taiwan. Tang called this the “national identity drink” of Taiwan.

Mr. Tang said the petition to gradually ban plastic straws was “very popular” and explained the conversation with the student petitioner. “We asked,’Why do you propose this?'” Tan said. “And she said,” Well, it’s like our citizen class assignment. Our citizen teachers start a popular petition involving thousands of people as a citizen class assignment. “We have assigned,” Tang added, adding that the petitioner is now “part of our task force” and “lowering the participation threshold has made this kind of thing. Collective intelligence. And action … This shows our involvement in young people who were previously excluded from the typical democratic process. “

Despite its success in the Open Government Initiative, Taiwan is not a member of the Open Government Partnership, which was launched at the UN General Assembly in 2011 by President Barack Obama and seven other heads of state. Free and democratic Taiwan continues to be blocked by the Chinese administration from becoming a member of the United Nations. Busby said: , Citizen-centered transparency reform. “

Shreya Basu, Deputy Director of the Open Government Partnership and Asia-Pacific Regional Leader, said, “Congratulations to Taiwan’s civil society and government … Congratulations on the achievements in the field of open government.”

“What I personally find very interesting is the various aspects of inclusion. [Taiwan’s Open Government National Action Plan] We focus on youth, gender, indigenous peoples, ethnic linguistic groups and immigrants, “says Bass. “Obviously Taiwan enjoys the moment when government-wide reformers are working with non-government reformers to not only respond to pandemics, but go beyond that to create truly amazing innovations that can be shared with the global community. I’m out. “

Before the event ended, Tang considered the technologies and data-driven infrastructure that have supported Taiwan’s open government initiative.

“In Taiwan, our digitization plan, the National Plan, is called DIGI and aims at digitization, innovation, governance and inclusion. Inclusion is one of the final pillars and digitization is just the beginning. When thinking about digitization, it’s about “smart cities,” not smart mayors, but smart citizens. It’s not about the “Internet of Things,” but about the Internet of Existence. It’s collaborative learning, not mission learning. It’s a human experience, not a user experience, a shared reality, not a virtual reality. And these words are important, “says Tang.

“I think it’s really important to think of the system as empowering and bringing technology to those who are closest to pain, rather than asking people to comply with technology.”