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How the Danes are leading digitalization

When I first met with Danish Ambassador Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin, I learned from him that Danes have electronic mailboxes that are used by Danish public authorities to communicate with citizens.

Digital Post is used to communicate securely and digitally between public authorities, residents, and businesses in Denmark. When Danes reach the age of 15, they will receive Digital Post from Danish public authorities and are required to read it to ensure that they are able to attend to important events and concerns, including letters from the hospital, information about student grant, changes in housing benefits, assignment of day-care facility place, letters from the central customs and tax administration, among others. Citizens can also use the service to access their medical records and pay bills, among others.

Denmark is currently the most digitally competitive nation in the world. The Scandinavian country topped the 2022 edition of the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking, which measures how well economies are exploring new technology.

The country is well aware of the impact of technology on the world’s future. In 2017, it became the first nation to appoint a Tech Ambassador as it elevated technology and digitalization to a crosscutting foreign and security policy priority it dubbed as TechPlomacy.

Denmark is also the world’s best in digital governance. It topped the biennial UN E-Government Development Index (EGDI) for three consecutive reports, from 2018 to 2022.

The 2022 E-Government Survey report cited that, to engage citizens in development discussions and decisions, the Danish parliament recently introduced the e-participation initiative, which allows their citizens to make suggestions for new legislation in the form of e-petitions.

Meanwhile, as a maritime superpower, the Danish maritime sector has also been at the forefront in terms of implementing new technology. Digitalization is the future of shipping and Denmark believes that artificial intelligence, robotics, drones, blockchain and cybersecurity are essential tech fields with an increasing impact on the maritime industry.

In fact, it has introduced the “Digital Twin” concept for shipping that allows access information on a ship — from engine performance to hull integrity, which can optimize machinery systems, seamless exchange of data, retrofit of batteries and perform hull or propel cleaning.

Denmark is also a pioneer in digital shipping registries and digital certificates for seafarers on Danish flagged ships. These solutions have helped reduce administrative burdens, lower costs, and easier access to data.

Denmark is certainly a world leader in digitalization. It is well advanced in developing and using digital solutions. The Philippines will greatly benefit in pursuing digital cooperation with Denmark so that we can learn from their experience, best practices and approaches on digitalization, especially on cybersecurity, e-governance, digital health, and maritime digital transition.

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