A pioneering joint learning activity took place on 21 November 2008. It was organised within the framework of the Good Governance for Development (GfD) in Arab Countries Initiative and hosted by FEDICT, the Belgian Ministry in charge of Information and Communication Technology. This activity followed the Expert Seminar on the Business Case for Digital Identity Management organised by the OECD in Paris on 19-20 November 2008.
Delegates from five Arab countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia) participated in the expert meeting and joint learning activity.
The joint learning activity was opened by Mr Jan Deprest, General Manager, FEDICT, Ambassador Chris Hoornaert, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the OECD and Mr Christian Vergez, Head of the Innovation and Integrity Division, Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate, OECD.
Ambassador Hoornaert, who is also co-chair of the Steering Group of the GfD Initiative, stressed the importance of capacity building activities - such as this workshop - to create learning communities and knowledge networks around concrete governance issues. These kinds of activities are fundamental to strengthen project ownership and a practical-oriented approach to problem solving in both OECD and Arab countries.
From FEDICT, Mr Frank Leyman, Manager International Relations, Mr Frank Cornelis, eID Card Architect and Mr San Van Den Eynde, Service Delivery Manager, presented detailed information regarding the creation and implementation of identity cards and answered practical questions posed by the Arab experts. A tour of the card production factory was headed by Mr Ronny Depoortere, Senior Vice-President, ZETES P.A.S.S. and a presentation of the legal aspects of electronic identity was made by Ms Samoera Jacobs, Legal Advisor, FEDICT.
The objective of the joint learning activity was to unite a small group of experts from Arabic countries who have either implemented or started to implement an electronic identity card in order to learn from Belgium’s experience in the conception, implementation and production of the Belgian identity card.
Lessons learned from the experience of Belgium
A number of learning points based on the experience of Belgium in implementing the eID card emerged during the workshop discussion. These provide useful indications on the practical design, implementation and development of electronic identify cards:
Several factors contributed to the success of the meeting:
The principle behind the joint learning activity was recognised to be of great interest for both the co-organisers and participants from Arabic countries as it led to many practical applications within their various countries.
The following conclusions were decided upon: