On October 21, I participated in the “Conference on Social Innovation and Civic Participation”, jointly organized by the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Representative Office in Thailand, the Faculty of Communication Arts of Chulalongkorn University and the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF). In addition to the Participation Officers of the National Development Council, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Public Construction Commission, there were also a representative from IISI International, Inc.; Johnson Liang, the co-founder of the Cofacts project; and a meteorologist, Dr. Chi-Ming Peng.
It is worth noting that the main contents of this seminar include Taiwan’s promotion of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the use of open-access materials to improve the quality of life, countering internet disinformation, and expanding citizen participation in public policy, and so on. Every item is the result of cooperation between government, business, and citizen communities. In other words, the focus of the discussion is not just “what we did”, but “how we did it together”.
Taking social innovation as an example, I shared the story of the development of the Innovation Center; the social issues dealt with by the winners of the Presidential Hackathon winners of the past two years and the implementation of sustainable development goals; opening up a weekly Office Hour as well as touring town halls, minimizing the information gap between urban and rural areas; and using the “Social Innovation Lab” to really grasp issues immediately by responding to social issues encountered by our friends, and letting social innovations drive regulatory innovation.
In addition, thanks to the arrangements of the Representative Office, I took separate and in-depth interviews on the same day with the Thai Public Broadcasting Service, Chulalongkorn University, A DAY, Post Today, and Workpoint. It is readily apparent that Taiwan’s practical experience has received attention from across Thai society.
🙋 The section on citizen participation was presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Public Affairs section chief, Mr. Qian Muxian, and the Public Construction Commission committee member Mr. Zhang Zhaoqi. The presentation opened with the government’s four key values of “Transparency, Participation, Accountability, and Inclusion”, and then explaining the functions of the NDC Public Policy Network Participation Platform (JOIN), and then continuing to the inter-departmental openings of the government liaison system. “Requesting a National Airborne Service Corps at Hengchun Airport” and “Using Tax-Income Software Leads to Blowups” are two examples of the network process.
They introduced the inter-departmental participation officers networks; how to clarify petitioner’ core demands; interviews with multiple stakeholders to collect opinions weekly; inviting service users to join in the process and participate in actual planning, and completing the meeting process and publicly responding to specific procedures to find feasible and innovative solutions.
“Taiwan Can Help” is the core message of the government in recent years. This is not just a slogan, but a dependable experience and resource that can contribute internationally. With help from all sectors of Taiwan, I’m glad to see that this Bangkok trip proves yet again: Taiwan Can Help.