Romanian H.appyCities launches DES Hub – collaborative platform following Romania’s digitization

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Romanian H.appyCities association launched, on the International Communications Day, DES Hub – a new project aimed to define a collaborative framework in order to upgrade Romania’s indicators within the European digitization ranking, respectively European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index

Romania ranks last in EU when it comes of digital performance measured by Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) report, far behind the European average in all areas and sub-dimensions. Moreover, it is also worrisome that the average distance from second last ranking Bulgaria and Greece is increasing, despite Romania’s score improving compared to previous editions.

Considering the dimension and the economical development level, it can be said that Romania’s digital performance is way under its real potential. Also, in many DESI categories, Romania is constantly decreasing though a few years ago it was among the first in Europe when it came of internet speed or mobile communication network’s coverage.

Aiming to offer a collaborative framework to give a boost to all involved actors in a coordinated approach, aiming to increase Romania’s score in DESI, H.appyCities proposes opening a center dedicated to this, namely Digital Economy and Society Hub (DES-Hub).

DES-HUB aims to become an analysis and support center based on dialogue between authorities, private sector, academic and non-governmental, oriented towards permanent growth of the digital economy performance in Romania and, implicitly, of country’s ranking in DESI.

Radu Puchiu, co-founder H.appyCities and initiator of the project:

We are assisting for far too long to a rather passive attitude. We are finding out, once a year, where Romania stands in DESI, there are talks for a couple days, then the subject goes in the background. I believe a mechanism is needed to permanently follow this effort and to come up, through dialog and collaboration, with ideas and solutions and not only with the criticism from the sidelines

DES Hub will have the role of a platform for dialogue, resource for analysis and documentation, collaboratively generated solutions, all aimed to all DESI dimensions and sub-dimensions and individual indicators that are part of those.

The proposed work mechanism is to initiate a multi-party dialogue on each DESI dimension (human capital, connectivity, digital tech integration, digital public services), to identify possibilities and punctual interventions that would help to increase Romania’s score on specific dimensions and follow their implementation.

The entire mechanism is meant to offer to Romanian Government, responsible institutions, the needed instruments to follow the intermediary progresses, also via dialogue with those designated as representatives for the public institutions.

The project will take place in 2 stages: the first one, until July 2022, aimed to analyze the current situation, identify elements that can help with a fast improve of Romania’s score in DESI and the second, focused on discussion each dimension and find solutions in a collaborative manner, via monthly meetings during 2022 and 2023.

H.appyCities invites all stakeholders – Government, public institutions, companies, NGOs, academic sector – to join its collaborative effort.

H.appyCities is an NGO aiming to encourage collaboration and innovative cooperation between citizens and administration, linking people and ideas, tech and data that allow citizens, communities and authorities to think, communicate and act collectively in order to bring real benefits to the community

Radu Puchiu is co-founder H.appyCties, has over 10 years of experience in the public sector and is a constant promoter of new tech as a way to support transparency and dialogue between Government and civil society. Between October 2012 – November 2017, he was State Secretary within Romanian Prime Minister’s Chancellery and was responsible with coordinating public policies and strategies within the Government; starting 2013, he was the National Coordinator of Open Government Partnership, representing Romania within the Board of the organization starting 2015.

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