Declaration on Local and Regional Information Society Development
We, representatives of local and regional governments and their
associations of V4 countries and other Acceding countries and the current Member States of
gathered together on the eve of the European Union enlargement--one of
the most important opportunities for the European Union at the beginning of the 21st
century--in the cities of Prague and Hradec Kralove, on the occasion of the ISSS/LORIS
2004 (Internet in Public Administration/Local and Regional Information Society) and DIS-V4
(Developing Information Society in V4 Countries) conferences held between March 28 and 30,
the potentials of information and communication technologies (ICTs)
should be further exploited in order to achieve the goals of the Lisbon strategy to make
the European Union the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy with improved
employment and social cohesion by 2010.
It is at the local level that the impact of ICT on government and
citizens relationships, community building and social and economic development and
inclusion, can be the most effective. Local and regional governments play the
irreplaceable role in the modernisation of public administration and in the provision of
services for business and their citizens.
The precondition for this is an active approach, dialogue and
cooperation between all levels of public administration--local and regional governments,
national governments and EU institutions. We place special emphasis on collaboration
between European networks and self-government associations, and mutual cooperation between
towns and regions, especially in countries with geographic, historical and cultural
proximity, as well as on a wider international scale.
The principles for an approach to the Information Society adopted by
the international community, in particular:
- eEurope 2005 Action Plan--Information Society for All
- Declaration of the World Summit of Cities and Local Authorities on Information Society
(Lyon, December 2003)
- Conclusions of the European Ministerial Conference on the Information Society "New
Opportunities for Growth in an Enlarged Europe" (Budapest, February 2004)
- Helsinki Declaration--the base for Global Cities Dialogue (Helsinki, 1999)
- A Charter of European eRights--Public Administration on the Information and Knowledge
Society (TeleCities/Eurocities, Porto, November 2003)
- The EISCO 2003 Communication "Modernising Local and Regional Public Service
Delivery in the Framework of eEurope 2005" adopted by ELANET (CEMR) (Aalborg,
- Memorandum of Understanding adopted at the ISSS/LORIS 2002 Conference (Hradec Kralove,
- Prague Declaration on Information Society Development (ISSS/LORIS 2003, Prague, March
COMMIT OURSELVES to
- Support information society development in close collaboration between local and
regional authorities and cooperation with national governments and EU institutions and the
European networks backing up our efforts in the interest of citizens and our
- Improve the quality and availability of services through modernising self-governments
and using the e-Government principles, enhance the effectiveness and transparency of
public administration, as well as foster the development of democratic processes and
active civic society. Our objective is to further develop the conditions for economic and
- Strive for more comprehensive involvement of citizens in co-decision-making on
communal policy and in municipal life. One of the ways of attaining these goals is to use
new technologies and working methods that will best contribute to improving the overall
quality of life in a community.
- Monitor actively the objectives and practices of EU and national strategies for
information society development and public administration modernisation, with the use of
ICTs. To take part in the discussion during their preparation so that the
role of local and regional governments, their goals and needs are sufficiently taken into
- State the objectives and priorities of EU and national strategies into our own policies
and plans (e-Strategy) based on the analysis of the actual situation and
- Ensure effective methods for the preparation, financing and management of projects,
to secure feedback and to set indicators for monitoring and evaluation of the results.
- Provide more and better training opportunities for the upgrading of the e-skills of
the public administration' workforce.
- Provide available on-line services for all citizens and businesses, address the
development of people's basic skills to use and benefit from ICTs and play an active
role in the knowledge-based economy;
- Contribute to avoiding digital divide in the society and ensure accessibility to
electronic services for handicaped citizens;
- Ensure to increase broadband coverage in under-served areas and ensure a safer
- Use, where appropriate, combination of financial resources, including instruments of
the EU, such as Structural Funds, IST and other programmes supporting research and
innovation in the field of the Information Society at regional and local level, eContent,
eTEN, IDA programmes and others;
- Create conditions for effective cooperation with other public administration bodies,
scientific and educational institutions, the private sector and consortia, which implement
citizens´ developing initiatives towards increase of life quality and the scale of local
employment. To strengthen cooperation between public administration subjects, primarily
towns, municipalities, regions and national associations and international networks for
exchange of experience, preparation and implementation of joint projects, evaluation and
bench learning/benchmarking methodologies, as well as for promotion and replication
of best practices.
To fulfil the above mentioned goals and commitments, it is necessary
within a short-term perspective to carry out the following activities:
- To draw up and update information strategies and the respective implementation plans of
local and regional governments and their associations, as well as citizens initiatives
groups, taking into account the objectives of the EU and national governments for
information society development. Pursuant to specific conditions and priorities, to
implement programmes and projects in practice, to monitor the fulfilling of targets and
give publicity to the results.
- To analyse the development of the information society in towns, municipalities and
regions, placing emphasis on dissemination of best experience and best practice, to
take an active part in benchmarking activities and sharing the results attained
with other subjects.
- To enhance mutual communication and exchange of experience by using different tools,
e.g. conferences, seminars and websites, lists of contacts, events, projects and other
mutually shared information.
- To identify common goals and priorities, to seek solutions in the form of joint
projects and provision of the necessary resources with the use of EU funds.
- To be actively involved in the operation of national associations and international
organisations of municipalities and regions focused on information society development
issues. To collaborate in a similar manner with professionally oriented
associations, primarily the IT associations of public administration employees as well
as IT associations of non-profit nongovernmental organizations employees.
- To be actively engaged in discussion on strategies and programmes of the EU and national
governments, namely, in the preparation and implementation phases, to ensure
participation in selected structures, to ensure linkage to the needs of information
society development on the local and regional level.
National governments and the European Commission to:
- Observe and take into account the needs of information society development on the local
and regional level in the EU and national governments strategies and develop partnership
with self-governments and their associations;
- Create the necessary legislative environment, methodologies, standards, support for
information exchange and best practices’ promotion and award;
- Support the proactive approach of local and regional governments in form of programmes
and financial incentives.
Local and regional self-governments and their associations of Acceding
and Candidate countries and the current Member States of the European Union to come into
line and sign this declaration.
Hradec Kralove, 28.3.2004