“It’s absolutely not about technology…but about changing culture”, said Anders Norskers, Chief of ITU Information Services at the ITU, during the panel discussion at the Geneva eDiplomacy day last month. Norskers has been leading the ITU recent experiments in remote participation for their meetings. Although in fact the ITU began experimenting with e-participation over 50 years ago those early experiments were more to do with remote observation, or broadcasting from outside into meeting. Norskers silenced the room with his detailed, energising account of how he and his team have been patiently working through a myriad of issues to make remote participation a working reality. He also shares some jaw-dropping statistics on savings that remote participation can generate in terms of real costs and, crucially, in carbon emissions.
Yet here we are in 2012 and while e-tools for mail, document management and other business functions are integrated into the daily routines of most diplomats, we are only now beginning to truly understand the potential range and impact of e-diplomacy as newer platforms for remote participation, collaboration and public engagement become mainstream. We captured the reflections of a few participants at #eDipGeneva on what they were taking back to their work.