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Country overview Uruguay

Date added: July 5, 2017

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Uruguay is a particular case within Latin American in terms of how strong, stable and traditional its democratic institutions are. The country has also seen recent implementation of policies to promote development by the spread and use of information and communications technologies. An enabling policy framework, an emergent digital culture and accumulated experience in civic engagement also contribute to the implementation of open government action plans in the country.

This State of Art Report explores how information and communication technologies (ICTs) have enabled civic engagement in Uruguay. The first section provides an overview of the political and civic liberties framework in Uruguay. In the second section the landscape of ICT mediated citizen engagement is mapped through the Open Government Action Plan. In the third section, the report engages with implications of technology mediations for deliberative democracy and transformative citizenship.

The report makes four main observations:

  • the Open Government Plan has incorporated citizen engagement in its objectives and has created a multi-stakeholder process that promotes citizen participation and advocacy but finds difficulty in involving citizens directly on policy debate
  • the implementation of dialogue mechanisms, collective construction of the National Action Plans and the use of digital technologies is a significant part of the process. So, the political will of search for citizens' involvement is put in action through them
  • civil society organisations seem to have developed more expertise on how to create apps that would enable citizen engagement and use of public information
  • the institutionalisation of civic engagement tends to limit the participation of a broader range of actors.  This may indicate the State’s incapacity to embrace innovation on public management and public policy. The process seems to be boosted by the apparent civil society organizations’ ability to adapt and manage information.
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