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Agile Governance Crushing COVID-19: Taiwan and South Korea

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COVID-19 continues to ravage the global economy, setting forth the path to a new normal. As an unprecedented health crisis, it has been a litmus test of sorts — challenging the efficacy of conventional regulatory approaches while giving rise to interactive models like “agile governance.” The success of Taiwan and South Korea in combating COVID-19 showcased the viability of agile governance in mitigating a the pandemic by harnessing the power of big data.

Agile governance is defined as an adaptive, human-centered, inclusive, and sustainable approach to policy-making. It shifts the process of generating and enforcing top-down policies into a multistakeholder approach by optimizing the tools and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Agile governance’s defining hallmark rests on its capability to address time-sensitive issues in today’s digital societies. It embraces constant evaluation or feedback through impact assessments.

The role of big data is crucial to Taiwan and South Korea’s public health toolkits. By implementing data-driven solutions both have achieved favorable outcomes to flatten the curve: contact tracing at the early onset of the pandemic, managing of supply chain and medical resources, and ensuring timely updates on the crisis. Key in harnessing such data-driven solutions are the collaborative efforts of diverse actors under the strict observance of legal standards on data privacy and protection.

The current “Taiwan model” was shaped by Taipei’s exclusion from the World Health Organization (WHO), along with the lessons from the SARS outbreak in 2002-3. Without direct representation and access to WHO, Taiwan is at a higher risk in the........

© The Diplomat