The 20th Meeting of the GCC e-Government Executive Committee was launched in Muscat, Oman, with the participation of the United Arab Emirates, represented by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). The TRA Delegation included H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director General, H.E. Salem Al Housani Deputy Director General for Information and e-Government Sector, and Mr. Adel Al Mehairi, Senior Manager of aeCERT.
The meeting discussed two initiatives submitted by the UAE. The first one concerns the creation of a top-level domain (.GCC) to represent the Gulf identity, aiming to enhance and maintain the GCC presence in the ICT field, as well as developing and supporting the spread of GCC websites and providing new options for the internet community in the region.
The UAE presented the initiative of the .GCC top-level domain to the members of the Executive Committee. The presentation discussed the efforts needed to implement this initiative and its registration procedures. The UAE reported that a number of ICANN legislations have been amended to prevent domain registration of non-qualified parties. The presentation also discussed the importance of conducting a feasibility study for the project, followed-up by a specialized GCC team, and if the study results indicated positive feasibility, the subject should be referred to to the GCC Ministerial Committee for Post & ICT for instructing on opening the ICANN registration.
The second initiative is related to the development of the GCC e- Portal, and identifying the development aspects that need to be supported as per best international practices as well as the level of development in the GCC e-presence.
The TRA working paper reviewed the status of the portal, figures of the portal visitors in 2018 compared to 2017. The working paper proposed testing the portal for user experience in a specialized lab such as the UX Lab of the UAE Centre of Digital Innovation (CoDI). It also recommended simplifying the process of obtaining information, in addition to developing the portal design in line with the latest international developments, activating the e-participation on the portal, including participatory topics such as e-Consultations, blogs, chats and a successful experiences’ corner. The paper also recommended enriching the “Gulf data” on the e-portal by adding joint GCC data systems, adding links to all official data sites in the Gulf States, as well as publishing all data pertaining to policies, legislation, manuals, reports and working papers.
H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director General, commented: “The UAE is keen on strengthening the Gulf Identity in the Arab e-presence online, thus, TRA proposed the two initiatives. The top-level domain initiative (.GCC) aims to preserve and enhance the Gulf identity. Moreover, the GCC portal initiative aims to enhance the GCC e-presence online, through posting of information, services and GCC data on the portal.”
H.E. Al Mansoori added: “We are proud to work with our brothers in the GCC to shape our future in the field of electronic and smart transformation, and to share experiences in the field, especially that the UAE has reached the sixth position globally in Online Services Index (OSI) and it is seeking to achieve the third position in the next edition of the UN E-Government Survey.”
Al Mansoori praised the initiatives presented at the meeting and emphasized that they reflect the joint efforts of the GCC countries in the field of e-transformation, as they strategically support the development of e-government.
The meeting discussed numerous initiatives proposed by the GCC countries, including a periodic report on e-government achievements, strengthening the information security framework, a benchmarking model for the implementation of the e-government guiding strategy, conducting a business continuity study in emergencies in the GCC countries, in addition to the UAE initiatives of developing the GCC e-government portal and the .GCC top-level domain.