Highlights from #wepc2014

Lots of things happened during the conference, and it is difficult to pick specific highlights. Here are a few.

One of the great features of the conference was the way in which members of parliament and parliamentary staff were able to share their perspectives, and work together the common goal of more effective parliaments.

The concluding remarks by the IPU Secretary General-elect also give an overview of some of the main themes of the conference. See also the IPU Press note: “Investment in e-Parliaments essential for development of democracy

1/  Promoting inter-parliamentary cooperation

Inter-parliamentary cooperation is the deep purpose of conferences such as #wepc2014, and all participants demonstrated their willingness to share information just by being there. The session dedicated to “Effective partnerships for building ICT capacity” had some great presentations and excellent discussion.

#wepc2014 Effective partnerships

2/ Social media

The opportunities and risks of using social media was the red line running through the conference. Members on every continent are grappling with ways to make effective use to social networks to engage citizens in authentic conversation about the issues that matter to them. The presentation by Hon. Motlhale from Botswana was a great demonstration of how parliament can use SMS messages to listen to the people.


#wepc2014 Social media


3/ The e-parliament system in the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea

Everyone was impressed by the demonstration of the e-parliament system, and in particular the technologies used in the plenary chamber. The Republic of Korea’s commitment to using technology to strengthen parliament and democracy provides an interesting example for other parliaments.

See the presentations on:


#wepc2014 Lessons learned

4/ The Commission on Digital Democracy in the United Kingdom

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr. John Bercow, gave an insightful presentation on the Commission that he has set up to make recommendations on how parliamentary democracy in the United Kingdom can embrace the opportunities afforded by the digital world to become more effective in: representing the people, making laws, scrutinising the work and performance of government, encouraging citizens to engage with democracy and facilitating dialogue amongst citizens.


#wepc2014 Citizen participation

5/ Telematic voting in Spain

One of the most striking presentations was made by Mr. Javier Barrero Lòpez, Second Vice-President of the Congress of Deputies, Spain. He talked about the system for ‘telematic voting’, which enables parliamentarians to vote from a distance when they are unable to be present physically in parliament for example if they are sick. Certainly there is a need for safeguards against any unintended consequences of such a system, but it was interesting to see this innovation taking place.

#wepc2014 Lessons learned


World e-Parliament Conference 2014: Lessons learned and future horizons

The World e-Parliament Conference is the biennial forum of the community of parliaments on their use of information and communication technologies (ICT). It addresses, from both the policy and technical perspectives, how ICT can help improve representation, law-making and oversight and increase parliament’s openness, accessibility, accountability and effectiveness. The Conference  is co-organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the National Assembly of Republic of Korea, in cooperation with the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament.

The World e-Parliament Conference 2014, to take place in Seoul on 8, 9 and 10 May 2014 at the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, builds on the results of five previous conferences held respectively in Geneva (2007), Brussels (2008), Washington D.C. (2009), Johannesburg (2010) and Rome (2012), as well as on the activities undertaken by the Global Centre for ICT in Parliament, a joint initiative of the IPU and the United Nations, since 2007.

The overarching theme of the Word e-Parliament Conference 2014 is “Lessons learned and future horizons”. By focusing on this theme, the sixth World e-Parliament Conference intends to take stock of the progress made by the parliamentary community in responding to citizens’ calls for greater institutional openness and dialogue. At the same time, it will look at the emerging and future challenges that parliaments will need to address to keep pace with technological change in society.