Challenges and Partnerships

A contribution of the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force to the World Summit on the Information Society

Opening up
ICT to the world

Foreword

Mr Kofi Annan
Secretary-General, United Nations

The information society

opportunity. Organized by the International Telecommunication Union with the support of the United Nations system, it can help us better understand the information revolution. It offers a forum to develop a shared vision of an information society that empowers and benefits all people. And it can help us to make specific connections between information and communication technologies and the Millennium Development Goals set by the international community, since without creative and widespread of those technologies, the goals will be that much harder to meet. The Summit should also be a place to forge partnerships. Many actors have much to offer: the scientists that make the technology possible; the private sector enterprises that turn science into tools; the community groups and civil society organizations that are so dynamic in using those tools; the governments that create the necessary regulatory frameworks; and the media, who are both creators of content and connections that tie the global village together, and essential watchdogs that illuminate us about our world – thanks to the precious right of press freedom, as spelled out in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments. A parallel event to the Summit, the World Electronic Media Forum, will bring together media executives and practitioners from developed and developing countries, as well as policy-makers, to discuss the role of the electronic media in the information society. Information and communication technologies are the driving forces of globalization, with great potential to help people improve their lives. But they are not an end in themselves, or a magic formula that is going to solve all our problems. While technology shapes the future, ultimately it is people who shape technology, and decide to what uses it can and should be put. The World Summit on the Information Society can and must help us do just that.
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hat do we mean when we talk of an ‘information society’?

The expression is both a description and an aspiration. As a description, the term captures the times in which we live, as did other terms such as the atomic age and the industrial age and even the stone and iron ages of antiquity. For we live today in an era in which information is omnipresent, through newspapers, radio, television and the Internet; in which information is transforming the ways we live, learn, work and relate; and in which information is indispensable – for health, agriculture, education and trade, and for cultivating the engaged and learned citizenry that is essential for democracy to work. Description turns to aspiration when we consider what to do with the masses of information and knowledge increasingly at our disposal – how to make it serve some greater purpose, be it peace, development, human rights, global harmony or all of these together. The liberating and democratizing power of information is as old as the Rosetta Stone or Gutenberg Press. What is new today are the technologies that are dramatically accelerating its global dissemination. These technologies are a tremendous force for creating opportunities, and for integrating people and nations into the global economy. But too many of the world’s people remain untouched by the information revolution. A ‘digital divide’ threatens to exacerbate already-wide gaps between rich and poor, within and among countries. The technologies are also raising important social and other concerns, from privacy rights and freedom of expression to the ability of local and indigenous voices to be heard in an era of media concentration and mass culture. The World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, December 2003, and Tunis, November 2005) is a timely

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Contents
Foreword Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations Introduction Mr José Maria Figueres, Chair, United Nations Information and Communications Technologies Task Force Contribution by Mr Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union and Secretary General, WSIS

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ICT – Transforming the world by transforming universities Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency E-mail over short-wave radio The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency Closing the digital divide through education and training STMicroelectronics The Abu-Ghazaleh Cambridge IT Skills Centre Talal Abu-Ghazaleh International The World Bank Group: Fostering digital opportunities The World Bank Group ICT Policy and Governance United Nations Information & Communication Technology Task Force, Working Group 1 National & regional e-development strategies: A blueprint for action United Nations Information & Communication Technology Task Force, Working Group 2 A road to universal broadband connectivity United Nations Information & Communication Technology Task Force, Working Group 5 Technology solutions advance entrepreneurship in developing countries United Nations Information & Communication Technology Task Force, Working Group 6 The Wireless Internet Opportunity for Developing Countries Wireless Internet Institute ICT Policy Development and Implementation seminar for Afghanistan The Asia-Pacific Information Development Programme

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ICT and economic opportunity Mr José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

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The challenge of WSIS Mr Nitin Desai, Special Adviser of the United Nations Secretary-General for the WSIS

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The ‘cyber summit’ Mr Shashi Tharoor, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information

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Publisher’s welcome

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Digital diaspora networks United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force

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Global digital divide initiative World Economic Forum Digital opportunities for all Digital Opportunity Task Force The dialogue of civilisations UN ICT Task Force Regional Network for Europe and Central Asia

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eEurope: An information society for all European Commission A unique institution The Markle Foundation Global focus on youth and education Nokia

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APC: Internet and ICTs for social justice and development The Association for Progressive Communications Bridging the digital divide through the Cisco Networking Academy Program Cisco Systems Inc. AME and the Cl@se initiative Fundación Cisneros Promoting ICT for development alongside gender equality issues WSIS-Gender Caucus Making ICT work for development Federal Foreign Office, Government of Germany Creating a global network of innovation By Thomas Ganswindt, President, Siemens Information Communication Networks Telecommunications for development By David Thorn, Regional Director, Telstra Europe Capacity, complexity and cost: Lessons learned about infrastructure costs and consumption An interview with Anil K. Singhal, President and CEO, NetScout Systems e-Inclusion: Dikahotole Digital Village, South Africa – rising out of a cycle of poverty Hewlett-Packard DIGITALYART, an exhibition on technology in art The Cultural Center of the Inter American Development Bank The ICT4BUS Program: an initiative of the InterAmerican Development Bank to support ICT applications for small businesses Inter-American Development Bank Information and Communication Technology for Development Division The ALDEA Program: digital strategies for the Latin America and Caribbean Governments Inter-American Development Bank Information and Communication Technology for Development Division Italian Trust Fund for Information and Communication Technology for Development Inter-American Development Bank Information and Communication Technology for Development Division

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The vital role of e-government and e-governance Ministry for Innovation and Technologies, Government of Italy Digital Freedom Initiative: fostering ICT-led economic growth The US Government and its private sector partners in the Digital Freedom Initiative Digital opportunities for all The Government of Canada Challenges and partnerships International Telecommunication Union Media Lab Asia: Innovating for the next Five Billion MIT and the World Bank Group UNCTAD and e-commerce strategies for development United Nations Conference on Trade and Development The Information Society in Europe and North America: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe UNITeS: In partnership with universities United Nations Information Technology Service UNESCO’s international initiative for community multimedia centres UNESCO UNFIP: Facilitating the Millennium Development Goals UNFIP

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Capturing the promise of a Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative The United Nations Information & Communication Technology Task Force Working Groups 3 and 5 Closing comments: capturing digital opportunities Mr Sarbuland Khan, Acting Executive Coordinator, Information and Communication Technologies Task Force

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Introduction

Mr José Maria Figueres-Olsen
Chairman, UN ICT Task Force

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espite real progress on some fronts, there remain dramatic disparities in levels of human

good. They can help devise ICT solutions that are built to last. Secondly, they can participate in public-private initiatives that are driven by user demands, identified and realised through direct participation and ownership. Thirdly, such initiatives should be sensitive to local conditions and limitations. And finally, initiatives should be explicit about their development goals and how they will directly impact the target population. All these aspects suggest that ICT interventions focusing on development goals must address a variety of interrelated dimensions to secure an enduring impact. The potential impact of ICT interventions would be far greater if they are conceived in conjunction with private sector economies. There is no doubt that the private sector could be a great asset to ICT initiatives in developing countries. Governments, on the other hand, can play a role in providing a favourable policy and pro-competitive environments to ensure market fairness and flexibility as well as exercising leadership through strategic investments in ICT applications and content. If public-private partnerships are built on complementarities between the profit motive of the private sector and human development goals, we can achieve sustainable results and the harmonious development of a global networked society. The United Nations ICT Task Force is helping to build partnerships in key areas such as low-cost connectivity access, human resources development and capacity building, and business enterprise and entrepreneurship. It also provides a platform to analyse how programmes for promoting education, combating diseases, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, and those targeting youth, the disabled and people living in poverty in general can be leveraged and enhanced with ICT. Our objective is to work towards an ambitious but achievable agenda, in which progress would offer all human beings a chance of achieving lifelong prosperity. We have begun to transform our societies and together we can and must find our way towards a universal and inclusive information society in which wealth creation and social well being go hand-in-hand.
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development: the digital divide is threatening to exacerbate the existing social and economic inequalities between countries and communities. The principal objective of the Summit should be identification of strategies and actions that would mainstream ICT into the work aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals, which provide the wider social, economic and political context. One third of the world’s population has never made a telephone call. Seventy percent of the world’s poorest live in rural and remote areas, where access to information and communications technologies, even to a telephone, is often scarce. Most of the information exchanged over global networks such as the Internet is in English, the language of less than 10 percent of the world’s population. In response to these growing concerns, in March 2001, the United Nations Economic and Social Council requested the Secretary General to establish an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force. The Council recognised the tremendous potential of the digital revolution for economic growth, poverty eradication and sustainable development. Countries in which most people do not have access to the new technologies cannot play a full part in the new global economy at a time when knowledge acquisition and information are becoming pre-requisites for human development and progress. And the longer they remain outside the global economy, the harder and costlier it will be to catch up. The digital divide must then be bridged before it is too late. In order to spread information and communications technologies and their benefits to the developing world, intensified cooperation and strong commitment among the private and non-profit sectors will be required. The private sector – through innovation, risk taking and investment – can help develop a country’s ICT infrastructure. The private sector can contribute to achieving development goals with investments that can produce a positive impact on social and economic development outcomes. Companies can do well by doing

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Welcome message

Mr Yoshio Utsumi
Secretary General, International Telecommunication Union


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While the basic needs of humankind have long been food, clothing and shelter, the time has come to add ‘information’ to that list

nformation has the power to dispel ignorance and to empower those who are oppressed. It has the power to bind the global community and to spread the common ideals of peace and

tolerance, growth and development. While the basic needs of humankind have long been food, clothing and shelter, the time has come to add ‘information’ to that list. We stand on the brink of a new era in which we must make fundamental choices about what life in the information society will be like. We may not be entirely able to predict how it will manifest itself, but we must embrace it if we wish to ensure the basic principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and embraced by the Millennium Development Goals, are fulfilled. Today, activities based around the creation, processing and dissemination of information account for more than 80 percent of employment in the developed world, while 1.5 million villages worldwide remain unconnected to this information society. The World Summit on the Information Society represents a unique opportunity to help our political leaders, on either side of this digital divide, to develop a common vision of how to turn the challenges created by the Information Society into opportunities. Now more than ever we must seek new and innovative ways of mobilising and coordinating our efforts in this area, by seeking a global perspective that ensures we maximise our collective strengths, resources and skills. This publication provides an excellent overview of the work that is being done to bridge the digital divide and the hope that information and communication technology can bring to people of the world. It has been said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. Together, through the World Summit on the Information Society, we can invent a future where the tools of communication make the world a more equitable, peaceful and sustainable place for all, not just for a privileged few.
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ICT and economic opportunity

Mr José Antonio Ocampo
Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

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he new communications technologies are one of the major driving forces of globalization. They

applications to the developing world, so as to make use of unlicensed radio spectrum to deliver cheap and fast Internet access. As promising and invaluable as they are, such efforts – and others involving such diverse areas as trade promotion, disaster response and education – merely scratch the surface of what is possible. If all countries are to benefit, we need more and better strategic public-private partnerships. That is one of the primary functions of the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force, which brings together CEOs, government officials, non-governmental organizations, technical experts and other information industry leaders to enhance developing countries’ ability to fully participate in, and benefit from, the networked economy and society. This work is particularly relevant at a time when we are all more focused than ever before on the interdependence of our world. That is also one of the main reasons why the United Nations General Assembly decided to hold a World Summit on the Information Society, which is to be held in two parts: first in December 2003 in Geneva, and two years later in Tunis to define a vision and help develop an inclusive and universal approach to information society, with the achievement of UN Millennium Development Goals placed at the center In September 2000, the Member States of the United Nations adopted a Millennium Declaration – a landmark document for a new century that reflects the aspirations and concerns of all peoples, sets specific targets for reducing poverty, and calls for concerted action to fight injustice and inequality and to protect our common heritage, the earth, for future generations. Among the commitments they made was to ‘ensure that the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication technologies, are available to all’. Information technology is not a magic formula that is going to solve all our problems. But it is a powerful force that can and must be harnessed to our global mission of peace and development. This is not only an ethical question but also an economic imperative. The new economy can only be productive and sustainable over the long term if it spreads worldwide and responds to the needs and demands of the people of the world. What is needed to seize this moment is a framework for guiding concerted action. To date, efforts to harness ICT’s potential have all too often fallen short, largely because they have been taken in an uncoordinated and isolated approach. The challenge for the World Summit on the Information Society is to work to bring access to information, and the empowerment it offers, to all of the world’s people.
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are bringing people together, and bringing decision-makers unprecedented new tools for development. At the same time, however, the gap between information ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ is widening, and there is a real danger that the world’s poor will be excluded from the emerging knowledge-based global economy. There are more Internet connections in Manhattan alone than in the whole continent of Africa; more hosts in Finland than in Latin America and the Caribbean; and notwithstanding the remarkable progress in the application of ICT in India, many of its villages still lack a working telephone. Within developing countries, urban islands of connectivity have emerged in a vast sea of the unconnected poor people and rural areas. Digital divide needs to be bridged not only among but within countries as well. Information technology is cost-effective compared to other forms of capital. ICT opens up economic opportunities for nations positioned to capitalize on them by facilitating the creation of modern growing economy and helping to seize the opportunities of the contemporary global marketplace. ICT can help develop and capture economic opportunities by: increasing business efficiency, productivity and quality of output, promoting participation in the global economy, driving growth in employment and high wages, and enabling effective and efficient provision of public goods and services. Emerging evidence from national or country case studies suggests that ICT can play a more profound and far-reaching role in development than simply through narrow interventions focused on specific development objectives. ICT has clearly been a factor in the impressive performance in improved competitiveness, exports and incomes in high intensity ICT economies such as Estonia, Costa Rica, and Malaysia with the generation of significant new export revenues and employment opportunities. Indeed, ICT can give developing countries the chance to leapfrog some of the long and painful stages of development that other countries have had to go through. But bridging the digital divide is not going to be easy. Too often, state and private monopolies charge exorbitant prices for the use of bandwidths. Governments need to do much more to create the effective institutions and supportive regulatory frameworks that promote competition, and attract investment; more generally, they must also review their policies and arrangements to make sure they are not denying their people the opportunities offered by the digital revolution. We need to think of ways to bring wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi)

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The challenge of WSIS

Mr Nitin Desai
Special Adviser of the United Nations Secretary-General for the WSIS

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ome one hundred and fifty years ago, the railways and telegraph transformed the world economy. In the early phases, they were

future of industry depends on technological advance, but also on the spread of InfoTech in the developing world and in new using sectors. It needs a new business model. The choking points of development for the ICT companies today lie in the lack of a vision and a policy framework for this broader goal rather than in technology. It involves organisational, institutional and public policy questions not technological fixes. This is at the core of the agenda for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) whose objectives include: • To establish a common vision for the information society. • To utilise ICTs to overcome poverty and archive other millennium development goals. • To work towards bridging the digital divide. • To create partnerships and funding mechanisms for universal and affordable access to ICTs. • To consider the need for new legal and policy frameworks for cyberspace. • To create improved coordination mechanisms for improved security in cyberspace. • To promote cultural and linguistic diversity in the information society. • To uphold freedom of expression and the right to communicate. The preparatory process for this summit is centred on governments, for they are the ones who set the national and global policy frames that enable or hinder development. There are the usual differences between those who bemoan the anarchy of multiple standards and lack of interoperability and those who see too many constraints on competition imposed by older more monopolistic visions of public

driven by the creativity of technicians and went through a huge speculative boom, followed by a bust, before finding a more even paced business model. They transformed the way business was done in other sectors and had a huge impact on warfare, governance and the news media. One country, the United States, accounted for a large proportion of the global total, while Europe was comparable, but not continental in scale because of multiple jurisdictions. The technology did spread to the colonies and near-colonies (today’s Third world) but mainly to connect them better with metropolitan markets. Some developing countries, like India, were a little ahead of the curve. Globally there was little coordination of standards or interoperability. In sum, the new technology changed the prospects for development mainly in the richer part of the world and may even have worsened economic and political inequalities. Replace the phrase ‘railways and telegraph’ with the phrase ‘information and communication technology (ICT)’ and the description above may still apply. That is the core of the challenge before the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which convenes in December in Geneva and later in Tunis in November 2005 in a unique two-phase process. The InfoTech industry needs a new dynamic for continued growth. Throughout the last decades of the millennium just gone we were bedazzled by the sheer pace of technological advance. Computer and communication costs seemed to drop by the day and companies came out with yet another gizmo to tempt the customer. But then the bubble burst and now the

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service. Perhaps there is a merit in both points of view but for different parts of the industry. The challenge before the summit is to secure a shared understanding of what constitutes a good policy for managing the cyberspace and what are the coordination arrangements at the international level that promotes such good policy practices. The summit is also about the digital divide – the vast gap in the use of ICTs in the richer and poorer parts of the world. This has to be a global concern because in a networked world everyone gains when the network spreads. My telephone becomes more useful when you also acquire a ’phone. But in the developing world public policy has to give priority to eliminating poverty and deprivation, This is why the focus has to be on the use of ICT in governance, education, health and similar areas, or more generally on ICT for development. ICT for development requires a new mode of operation for public agencies and private companies. The activities involved are very much in the public domain. The aim is to reach as many people as possible, not just the privileged few who can afford rich country prices. The competencies to provide and deliver the service exist in the private sector – hence the need for partnerships and innovative initiatives. Many are being developed, like for instance the Global e-schools initiative, which is bringing together some important corporations, donor governments and developing countries with homebound goals for connecting universities and schools to the Internet. This and several similar initiatives have been spawned by the UN ICT Task Force, which brings together international policy makers from governments, CEOs of InfoTech companies and civil society leaders and international organizations. But much more needs to be done and the unique two-phase structure of the Summit must be used to lay down goals and strategies and then flesh them out in concrete partnerships so that by the time we meet in Tunis the Geneva Agenda becomes the Tunis Action Plan. Activities in the public domain require public resources in national budgets and in donor aid programmes. This is one issue that the delegates will agonise over, the developing world looking for specific commitments and the donor countries arguing for less binding language or, in some cases, flatly rejecting any case for new concessional resources. There will also be some debate on issues of technology access, not just in a North-South context but also more generally, for instance about appropriate policies for open-source software. In both of these areas, conversional finance and technology transfer, the delegates will find their way to appropriate compromises. But the real challenge is to make sure that no promising partnership of ICT initiative in the public domain is held back by lack of resources or technology access. ICT is not just a technology that has a profound impact in the economy. It can transform politics as information on government or corporate operation becomes more widely available or as easier communication makes it possible for citizens to organize themselves. In fact, the greater transformative potential of the new technologies lies in how they can alter government-citizen and citizen-citizen relationships. We have seen this already in the way SMS was used by citizens to thwart an attempted coup in the Philippines, the use of the Internet to exchange news in Serbia under Milosevic and the way citizen/pressure organized for the Land Mines Treaty. But to ensure this we need

The choking points of development for the ICT companies today lie in the lack of a vision and a policy framework for this broader goal rather than in technology

public recognition of the freedom of

expression and the right to communicate. One of the most important results of the Summit could be in precisely this area. ICT technologies are seen as universalising influences. To the extent to which they universalise prosperity and

democracy that is surely welcome. But they are also seen as universalising particular languages (especially English) and modalities of communication and through all this homogenizing lifestyles. This fear has to be met so that the diversity of languages, cultures and lifestyles is respected and nurtured in the Internet and in the media. In fact, ICT technologies make possible a type of decentralisation that actually can enhance the viability of languages and cultures outside the mainstream. In many ways the World Summit on the Information Society is tackling issues, which will define how our century evolves. This is not a matter just for technocrats in information or communication ministries. It concerns every part of government. That is why it has to be a Summit and that is why any political leader who cares for the future should be there. It is also not just a base for political leaders. The leaders of the InfoTech industry must also be there because their industry needs a second wind which the Summit could provide and because they command the capacities that have to be deployed to realise the full promise of these technologies – a more equal, more prosperous, more peaceful and a more free world.
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The ‘cyber summit’

Mr Shashi Tharoor
Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, United Nations

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nce again, a United Nations conference has aroused concerns about press freedom. This time it’s the first World Summit on the Information Society, or WSIS, which will be

held in Geneva later this year. Many media watchers fear that some countries will use the ‘cyber summit’, as it has been dubbed, to place restrictions on the Internet and other information technologies. Others fear a resurrection of the ideologically charged debates of the 1970s and 1980s on a new world information order. The summit meeting, organized by a UN agency, the

International Telecommunication Union, or ITU, has an ambitious agenda: to come to grips with the profound changes wrought by the information revolution and its impact on all aspects of human activity. It will search for ways of putting this revolution, and the technology that generated it, at the service of poor countries. It will also be the first time that issues such as the role of communications in promoting development, and the challenges of cybersecurity, spam, Internet governance and freedom of expression in the information age will be raised for global discussion and action at the highest governmental levels, with the participation of all those who have a stake in the outcome. Press freedom, including its application to new technologies, will be in the spotlight. The UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, has no doubt that the summit meeting will reaffirm the universality of press freedom through all media, as envisioned in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But does press freedom, some governments ask, give carte blanche to produce and promote any and every idea, product or cause? In all democracies, the law imposes certain limits in order to protect the right to privacy and prevent abuse of the Web by

The summit meeting has an ambitious agenda: to come to grips with the profound changes wrought by the information revolution and its impact on all aspects of human activity

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organized crime and terrorist groups. Isn’t it only natural that these boundaries, already in place for traditional media, be extended to the Internet? Action has been taken by some governments to shut down Internet sites that peddle child pornography, or that promote anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and racial hatred. These measures fall under national penal law, and are not viewed as a threat to freedom of speech. At the same time, there is a risk in sanctioning the extension of such restrictions. National security or crime control can easily serve as a pretext for repressive governments to curtail press freedom. It is clear, however, that the free flow of information is in the interests of all countries. Restraints on the flow of information directly undermine economic well-being. Global interdependence means that those who receive and disseminate information freely have an edge over those who do not – the ability to exchange information through electronic networks has become crucial to the health of economies and civil societies. There is little argument that information and freedom go together. The information revolution is inconceivable without political democracy. Already, the spread of information has had a direct impact on the degree of accountability and transparency of governments around the world – and thus on their effectiveness. Consequently, countries need to open up to the outside world, liberalize the mass media, and resist government control and censorship of information. Prosperous countries can play an additional supportive

In all democracies, the law imposes certain limits in order to protect the right to privacy and prevent abuse of the Web by organized crime and terrorist groups. Isn’t it only natural that these boundaries, already in place for traditional media, be extended to the Internet?

role – by promoting greater, freer and fairer access to information for developing countries, helping them improve their infrastructure, and sharing technological advances with them. Though some have rung alarm bells during preparations for the summit meeting, there have been positive signs. While the main players at the meeting will be governments, there has been strong involvement and input from civil society, the private sector and the news media during the preparatory phase. Appropriately enough, reports on the most important subjects for debate have been posted on the summit meeting’s website, increasing the transparency of the negotiations and providing fuel for debate by nongovernment organizations. International news media organizations and journalist unions are keeping a watchful eye on the summit meeting, and are calling for a strong reference to press freedom in the conference’s final documents. It is clear that further efforts are needed to involve the

news media and their organizations in summit preparations. One way of involving the media is

through a parallel event organized by the United Nations, the European Broadcasting Union and Switzerland. The World Electronic Media Forum will bring together media executives from developed and developing countries with policymakers to discuss the role of the electronic media in the information society. The event will provide another platform for defenders of press freedom to state their case loud and clear. The world is heading inexorably toward an information society, and all governments need to see not the writing on the wall, but the pulsing cursor on the screen. The summit meeting will provide a major opportunity to ensure that the ‘information revolution’ does not leave any of the world’s citizens behind.
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Copyright (c) 2003 The International Herald Tribune. This article is available on the IHT’s website (www.iht.com): http://www.iht.com/articles/114041.html

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Welcome message

Mr Spencer Green Chairman, GDS Publishing Ltd

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DS has been publishing journals for the information and communication technologies (ICTs) sector for many years, and still the

Secretary-General of the United Nations has said: “Governments themselves are acknowledging that they cannot successfully pursue development on their own. Thus there is unprecedented scope for publicprivate partnerships that match real investment opportunities with the real needs of the poor...” The digital divide has the potential to give rise to a new form of illiteracy by promoting information and knowledge poverty and limiting the opportunities for economic growth and wealth distribution. Mr Annan: “If all countries are to benefit, we need more and better strategic public-private partnerships. That is one of the primary functions of the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force, which brings together CEOs, government officials, nongovernmental organisations, technical experts and other information industry leaders.” ICTs can create economic and social networks, allowing diverse groups around the world to access and exchange information and knowledge crucial for their socio-economic development. The benefits to business are obvious, less obvious are the benefits to basic health and education services delivery, and to marginalized and isolated people who can now have a voice in the world community, regardless of their gender or where they live. To this end, of course, there is the World Summit on Information Society. I would like to wish everyone a successful Summit and hope you find ‘Challenges and Partnerships’ a useful and interesting contribution.
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phenomenal speed of evolution and development amazes me. New products, new services and new ways of conducting business are created everyday through an increasing convergence between telecommunications, broadcasting multimedia and traditional IT, then disseminated and implemented at incredible speed using the same channels. Meanwhile, modern business’ hunger for information, ‘lean’ operations and connectivity – given a solid platform by ICTs – is opening new markets to competition, foreign investment and participation, and is driving commercial and professional opportunities in these markets. We are living through a paradigm shift every bit as far reaching as that of a century ago, when the world pitched from an agrarian to an industrial base. Now the industrial society that marked the 20th century is giving way to the information society of the 21st century, and the changes are coming thick and fast: how people live, how they learn and work, and how governments interact with civil society. Information has become the most powerful tool for economic and social development. To benefit the world community fully, this new dynamic needs global attention. We need to close the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ of access to the global information and communication network: to bridge the ‘digital divide’. And, as Kofi Annan,

Editor Adam Burns adam@gdspublishing.com Assistant editors Jonathon Edgley Kellie Peakman Alice Sharp Designers Andrew Hobson James West Production manager Dylan Law dylan@gdspublishing.com Managing director Nick Farrar nick.farrar@gdsinternational.com Chairman Spencer Green Contact GDS: T +44 117 921 4000 www.gdsinternational.com GDS Publishing Ltd, Tower House, Fairfax Street, Bristol BS1 3BN, UK

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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES TASK FORCE TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Digital diaspora networks
expertise and networking ability to stabilise and grow. The Networks will mobilise expatriate leaders and entrepreneurs to underwrite and mentor these developments. The modalities of the initiative are modelled, to a large extent, on the successful IndUS Entrepreneurs network created nine years ago for the Indian Diaspora in the United States. Two Digital Diaspora Networks have been launched by the ICT Task Force so far: The Digital Diaspora Network for Africa (DDN-A) and the Digital Diaspora Network for the Caribbean (DDN-C). For Africa The Digital Diaspora Network for Africa (DDN-A) was launched in July 2002, in collaboration with the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships, the

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onvinced of the positive potential of ICT to accelerate economic growth and social development, and as part of its effort to

United Nations Development Fund for Women and the Digital Partners Institute. The launch meeting brought together more than 130 high-level entrepreneurs, academics and experts of African origin currently residing in the United States. Among the tangible outcomes of the launch meeting was the creation of an AfriShare Network, a platform for sharing best practices and matching innovative projects with mentors and potential sponsors, and the launching of a Social Venture Fund for Africa that will provide financial support for entrepreneurial activities using ICT in Africa. A Steering Committee was formed and immediately started work on the Plan of Action of the Network. In September 2002, the Digital Diaspora network for Africa was launched in Europe as well. In the near future the Digital Diaspora Network for Africa will link the two diaspora networks – in the United States and in Europe – with existing and emerging networks in Africa, thus creating a broad platform for empowering African entrepreneurs and enhancing their contribution to development of the continent.

mobilise key partners for ICT-for-development, the United Nations ICT Task Force launched an initiative aimed at bringing together qualified members of the Diaspora – high-tech professionals, entrepreneurs and business leaders – into a network with their counterparts in order to promote ICT- fordevelopment initiatives in their home country. This initiative, known as the Digital Diaspora Network, aims to promote development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals through mobilising the intellectual, technological, entrepreneurial and financial resources of the Diaspora entrepreneurs. Through the Digital Diaspora Networks, expatriates working in the high-tech sector in North America and Europe will seek to jump-start ICT initiatives in their home region. Thousands of Internet nodes and digital activities are taking shape in many developing countries, but usually lack the capital,

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For the Caribbean The Digital Diaspora Network for the Caribbean was launched in January 2003, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP). The initiative was supported by the CARICOM Permanent Missions to the United Nations and the CARICOM Secretariat, and facilitated by the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The launch meeting of the Network led to the formation of a steering team, coordinated by the CARICOM Secretariat and the University of the West Indies with the task of establishing an organisational framework to promote and manage the resulting network of interest, to ensure continuity and to oversee and monitor follow-up activities. For Latin America and the Caribbean The Digital Diaspora Network – Latin America Caribbean was launched on September 5th, 2003 as a collaborative effort in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP), and Digital Partners. It was created to promote development in Latin America and the Caribbean and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, through mobilizing the technological, entrepreneurial and professional expertise and resources of the region’s Diaspora communities in North America. In addition, the aim was to build upon the momentum of the Digital Diaspora Network Caribbean launch and create a collaborative and synergistic relationship between the two networks. The outcome of bringing together organizations, corporations, foundations and academics that promote the application of ICT to assist Latin America and the Caribbean’s development, was the generation of a wealth of ideas and support for promoting digital opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean. A number of actions points emerged after a day of intense deliberations including: create LAC-Share – an online resource that can serve both as a database and web-platform for interaction among network members; hold Digital Bridge LAC annually in the region; develop partnerships with corporations, educational institutions, and other networks to support the work of the network; establish a LAC Social Venture Fund to support projects in LAC using IT for Development. To ensure that the vision will be implemented effectively an Advisory Committee has been established and tasked with developing an action plan.
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It was created to promote development through mobilizing the technological, entrepreneurial and professional expertise and resources of the region’s Diaspora communities in North America

For more information, contact: Daniela Giacomelli Program Manager United Nations ICT Task Force Secretariat giacomellid@un.org www.unicttaskforce.com

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Programme Series on Policy Awareness and Training in Information Technology (PATIT) Initiative Organised by UNITAR, Mandate given by ICT Task Force, under the auspices of the ECOSOC Working Group on Informatics in New York, with the support of Intel Corporation, Inc. Type of initiative Capacity building programme – skills training and awareness building. Objectives To enable diplomats to the United Nations in New York, to acquire specific computer skills and be exposed to workings of the Internet. To raise awareness and understanding of policy and security issues related to the information society among diplomats and policy makers. To enable govt. officials in countries to acquire specific computer skills and be exposed to workings of the Internet through webbased learning. To help provide input into preparation for the World Summit for Information Society by exposing Member State delegates and officials in capitals to technologies, on which they will be required to formulate policies. Implementing partners UNITAR, United Nations ICT Task Force and Intel Corporation, Inc. Partnership with Intel Intel’s high level of commitment to the series is demonstrated through its donation of 40 computers for training labs at the United Nations in New York, and its substantial and financial hands-on participation in training events with UNITAR. This participation includes providing instructors and facilitators in class, development of training material and complete involvement in delivery and evaluation of the project in instructor-led training as well as on-line training. Intel is also very committed that this capacity building initiative should support the eventual quality of inputs into WSIS. Facts and results Participants – Certificate Programme (4 modules on basic computer and Internet skills and one module on policy and information security issues): • In 2002, 4 cycles of the 5 module certificate programme were conducted. • 33 workshops were delivered. • 100 participants trained in the certificate programme in 2002 (Africa 41%, Asia 23%, Latin America and the Caribbean 24%, Europe and Emerging Economies 10%, North America 1%). • Participants from 65 countries participated in the certificate programme.

Participants – Open High-level Seminar (Module 5) I, II and III: • 400 participants attended the 3 high-level seminars in 2002; (Africa 33%, Asia 21%, Latin America and the Caribbean 28%, Europe and Emerging Economies 16%, North America 2%) Training Material: • For Module 1 to 4 a set of handbook, exercises on CD ROMS and Handouts were provided for each. In addition supporting resources were posted on the training website www.un.int/unitar/patit • For Module 5 – the high-level seminar, training materials and summary of discussions were provided on CD ROM, and posted on to PATIT website. 3-Year Plan (2003-2005) for the PATIT Initiative Partnership agreement with Intel, with commitment from the ICT Task Force for 2003: • Instructor-led Classes in New York: To expand the cycles of instructor-led classes in New York from 4 to 5 for the next 2 years. • Global Outreach through Web-based Training: To develop, in parallel to the above, web-based full-fledged modules to provide access to training in capitals over the next 2 years. To phase out the instructor-led classes once the modules are fully on-line. • Policy and Security Awareness Seminars: To provide briefings and input to the diplomatic community in New York in preparation for the WSIS in 2003 and 2005. Conclusion The organisers and sponsors are encouraged that the participant profile has been in-line with the ICT Taskforce’s developmental priority of providing policy makers and officials from developing and less-developed countries with basic exposure to computers and Internet technologies. This can be seen from the regional and hierarchical class profile, where on average 41% of participants were from Africa (a priority area) and 47% were from Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean combined. By title/hierarchy 48% of total participants were senior diplomats such as Permanent Representatives, Deputy Permanent Representatives and Minister Counsellors etc. This indicated a high level of interest and need among the highest level of decision makers for meeting the challenge posed by new information and communication technologies. UNITAR and its partners for this series strongly believe that this is one of the rare programmes where results are immediately visible, because the need is immediate, and can be addressed very simply. For more information, contact: Humaira Kamal UNITAR Special Fellow hkamal@un.org www.unitar.org

FROM THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Global digital divide initiative

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ver the last three years, the global digital divide has come into focus as one of the critical global issues facing poverty

alleviation and development. Indeed, the role of technology in development has been recognised through key international efforts undertaken by the G-8 DOT Force and the United Nations ICT Task Force. In parallel, the business sector has made important investments towards digital development and such practices are being mainstreamed into their corporate strategy. The World Economic Forum through its Global Digital Divide Task Force is pleased to have served the development community at the intersection of government, business and the not-for-profit sectors in addressing the issue of creating digital opportunities for social and economic growth. In its third and final year, the Global Digital Divide Task Force has demonstrated itself as a successful incubator for projects that facilitate digital development in disadvantaged regions of the world. Set up by the Governors for IT, Media and Entertainment at our Annual Meeting 2000, the Task Force has developed a private sector-led multistakeholder community that serves to provide a business perspective to policy advocacy, awareness raising, project implementation, resource mobilisation and relationship building. Through the commitment and leadership of its co-chairs, and the vision, hard work and dedication of the Task Force members, the Global Digital Divide Task Force boasts a significant portfolio of achievements. In 2000, the Task Force was mandated to complete an international policy effort culminating with the G-8 Summit in Kyushu-Okinawa. With the momentum generated from this effort, the Governors requested an additional two-year mandate to implement our recommendations. Today, the Task Force work programme has a footprint that reaches
For more information, visit: www.weforum.org

over 10 countries and collective investments totalling over $2.5 Million. While the Task Force completes its mandate at this year’s Annual Meeting 2003, the work programmes launched by the Task Force will continue their growth thanks to the leadership and commitment of their original initiators. Having served as a ‘launch pad’ for sustainable projects, such as this one, the World Economic Forum will diminish this support in the future. As we end 2003, the Forum looks forward to new challenges where we can apply our many lessons learned over the course of our mandate. The Forum is poised to facilitate efficient participation in corporate citizenship activities for our members and partners that wish to increase their involvement in development activities. s

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Through the commitment and leadership of its co-chairs, and the vision, hard work and dedication of the Task Force members, the Global Digital Divide Task Force boasts a significant portfolio of achievements

CEO charter for digital development At the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2002 in New York, former Vivendi Universal Chief Executive and Global Digital Divide co-chair, Jean-Marie Messier, proposed the CEO Charter for Digital Development (‘CEO Charter’). The CEO Charter is a resource mobilisation initiative designed to bring together members of the private sector to affirm their commitment to social, economic and educational progress in the developing world. The Global Digital Divide Initiative has coordinated this process for the last year among business executives involved or interested in ICT for development activities. The CEO Charter is a private sector commitment to transparently allocate human, in-kind or financial resources to reduce poverty in developing countries and disadvantaged communities through the use of information and communication technologies. It is a signal that participating CEOs stand ready to partner and collaborate with governments, international organisations and civil society to find innovative solutions to help bridge the digital divide. Participating CEOs agree to make their best effort to target at least 20 percent of their annual corporate citizenship and/or philanthropy budgets to support concrete and sustainable actions aimed at promoting social, economic and educational progress in developing countries and disadvantaged communities through information and communication technologies. We hope that the CEO Charter serves as a step towards galvanising the private sector to commit to socially responsible business activities and analysing the ‘support’ market. One result will be the accumulated body of knowledge on the resources that are dedicated by the private sector to combating the digital divide. As we build up information about the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘why’ of social investments, we hope that project partnerships will develop more efficiently (be it technology for health, education or e-government). The outline below serves as a first look at the support market. It includes information generated from an informal

questionnaire answered by our first 10 CEO signers. Members of the Global Digital Divide Task Force look forward to expanding this process of information gathering and data analysis towards more efficient partnerships as companies become more involved in corporate citizenship activities. General findings The drafters of the CEO Charter used the terms ‘corporate philanthropy’, ‘corporate citizenship’, and ‘social investment’ interchangeably to encourage companies from around the world with different corporate cultures, traditions and business practices to volunteer to participate in the Charter. Of those that answered the questionnaire, 60 percent exceed the 20 percent corporate citizenship/philanthropy or investment target for ICT for development projects and 30 percent meet the target. The other CEO Charter signers aspire to achieve the investment target. They indicated their hope that participation in the CEO Charter will lead to expanding their network of potential projects to support and further exchange of best practices. Ninety percent of CEO Charter respondents have a clear mission behind their philanthropic programmes and 50 percent of respondents undertake their social investments as part of their core business strategy. This group indicated that such investment is part of their portfolio of corporate citizenship activities rather than a philanthropic investment. In their response, they indicated that a focus on citizenship activities assist the corporate goal of mainstreaming socially conscious corporate investment into their core business operations. All respondents stated in their reply form that partnership organisations (e.g. international donor agencies, regional government organisations, the World Economic Forum, etc.) play a significant role in introducing projects to businesses for corporate support. As companies expand and innovate on their citizenship programmes, they will rely more on these organisation to find sustainable, impactful and credible projects that they can support.

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FROM THE DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY TASK FORCE TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Digital opportunities for all

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n July 2001, G8 leaders endorsed the Genoa Plan of Action, a product of the work of the Digital Opportunities Task Force. The DOT Force, which

for the reduction of poverty, known as the Millennium Development Goals. They pledged to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; to achieve universal primary education; to promote gender equality and empower women; to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health; to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; to ensure environmental sustainability; and to develop a global partnership for development. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) provide a powerful tool to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Thus, the ‘mainstreaming’ of information technology within project planning and design and, even more importantly, within development strategies is critically important, both nationally and internationally. The value and legacy of the DOT Force is clear – it has focused global attention on sustainable, ICT-enabled development, and has encouraged the international development community to mainstream ICTs in its bilateral and multilateral assistance programmes. Over the past two years, DOT Force partners have worked with great passion and dedication to broaden the understanding that ICTs are a fundamental tool for reducing poverty and for spurring sustainable development. As stressed in its first report to G8 leaders: “Access to knowledge and information is a prerequisite for modern human development.” This central premise underlies the continuing work of the DOT Force and the commitment of its members to expanding the contribution of ICTs to all forms and levels of development. Examples of the enabling power of these technologies are now emerging. Community radio stations in Africa are providing vital information on weather disaster warnings, health and nutrition, and HIV/AIDS prevention. The quality of life of many poor women in Bangladesh has improved through the

was formed following the 2000 G8 Summit in Okinawa, represented both a unique model of international cooperation and a new way of responding to the challenges of development. It brought together committed leaders from government, industry and civil society, drawn from G8 member countries and from the developing world, to conceive a forward-looking action plan designed to expand the use of digital technology and to universalise its benefits. Its report, Digital Opportunities for All: Meeting the Challenge, contained a vision of global development based on the power of information technology to promote sustainable growth, advance social justice and strengthen democratic governance. Less than one year later, the DOT Force vision has moved dramatically closer to realisation. Participation has reached well beyond its original membership to include almost 100 stakeholder organisations, spanning more than 30 countries. Through the work of its implementation teams, the DOT Force has generated more than 20 major bilateral and multilateral initiatives, operating across a broad range of areas crucial to balanced development – access, governance, entrepreneurship, health and education. In designing and implementing these initiatives, DOT Force members have also given special attention to the needs of lesser developed countries, and particularly to Africa, responding directly to the requirements articulated in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). New tools and partnerships for development At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, world leaders set a series of targets

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innovative use of cellular phones. In Bolivia, Internet centres have been set up to provide farmers with timely information on crops, production and processing, as well as policies and regulations. The formula for success The success of the DOT Force has relied on the close cooperation from representatives of G8 governments, developing nations, international organisations and the non-profit and private sectors. Each participated fully and equally in its work. The multi-stakeholder approach of the DOT Force now serves as the model for other global ‘ICT for development’ initiatives that follow in its footsteps. Future agenda Under the auspices of the G8, the DOT Force has emerged as the primary instrument for harnessing the potential of information technology for global development. Through its leadership and sense of strategic purpose, it has successfully mobilised the international community behind a common goal of broadening the participation of countries and peoples in the information age. As catalysts for action, its products and partners have demonstrated conclusively the crucial role of ICTs in addressing basic development needs – in promoting good governance and democratic values, improving healthcare, education, and government services, as well as supporting industry and small business. The continuing challenge is to sustain the energy and creativity of the DOT Force and ensure the full implementation of its future agenda. The first and most essential task is to maintain the sense of political leadership and accountability that have characterised the mandate and work of the DOT Force to date. The mobilisation of political leaders, industry captains and civil society requires a suitably high-level forum to provide strategic direction to, and promote the cause of, ICTs for development. Secondly, given the numerous initiatives under way at the global level, a focal point is required to provide policy coherence and coordination in the design and implementation of ICT-based development initiatives. This focal point should also act as a strong catalyst in the formation of partnerships between countries and organisations of all types, based on an all-inclusive approach that involves governments, the private sector, civil society and international organisations. As a process conducted under the G8, the DOT Force is formally drawing to a close. Its agenda,

however, has now become the business of a number of other bodies that will carry on the leadership role of the DOT Force within the international community. The UN ICT Task Force, established by the Secretary-General in November 2001, shares the DOT Force vision and approach, and provides a focal point for establishing strategic direction, policy coherence and advocacy in relation to the global, ICT-based development agenda. Through its regional networks, the UN ICT Task Force provides an effective means for broader outreach and the effective involvement of developing countries in future implementation work. In the private sector, organisations such as the World Economic Forum, the Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce, and the International Chamber of Commerce have also accepted the challenge of widening digital opportunities within the developing world. The DOT Force implementation teams have become the primary means of implementing the Genoa Plan of Action. Their initiatives illustrate the key elements in the DOT Force formula — they include innovative models of development that are scalable and replicable; they involve partners from developing countries in all phases, from design to delivery; they rely on public private partnerships; and they carry minimal overhead, allowing for speedy implementation. Their autonomy and operational flexibility are key values to nurture in the deployment of projects, while seeking high-level support from global organisations. The teams are important agents to carry forward the future work of the DOT Force and to complete the implementation of the Genoa Plan of Action. They will seek other additional partners and establish an informal network to coordinate their work, facilitate the exchange of information and combine forces on ‘ICT for development’ advocacy. As part of their ongoing work, DOT Force partners also invite G8 governments individually to continue their involvement in the implementation of the Genoa Plan of Action, including support for specific initiatives. The World Summit on the Information Society will provide a good opportunity to take stock of progress made in achieving the goal of an inclusive global information society.
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For more information, visit: www.dotforce.org

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FROM THE UN ICT TASK FORCE REGIONAL NETWORK FOR EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

The dialogue of civilisations

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n the 29 April 2002, an inaugural meeting of the UN ICT Task Force Europe and Central Asia (EuCAs) regional network took place in Geneva. Two nodes of the UN ICT TF EuCAs Secretariat were

established in Geneva and Moscow. The Moscow node started to operate in May 2002 and has five regular staff members. A special UN ICT TF EuCAs Regional Network website has been set up. Six EuCAs regional network working groups were established in accordance with those in the global UN ICT TF. Election procedures for WG coordinators were organised. The elected coordinators now represent the following countries: Armenia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. All six chairmen of the working groups became ex-officio members of the UN ICT TF EuCAs Bureau, which includes 11 members. This Bureau was established to ensure that the regional network pursues the objectives of the UN ICT Task Force. Two regional conferences took place in our subcontinent. We have approved the Bishkek-Moscow Declaration and Bucharest Declaration. These two important documents will be our ponderable input in preparation for the World Summit on Information Society, which will take place in Geneva and Tunisia. Upon the meeting of the EuCAs Bureau in Bucharest, we adopted the vision of the strategy and plan of action for the near future. Now we have regional priorities, such as creating the infrastructure of the information society, knowledge-based economy and cultural diversity of the content. An example of the holistic approach to e-development at the regional level could be the comprehensive e-Moscow programme. Its main goals were proclaimed as: improving the quality of life for citizens and their maximum selfrealisation, development of democracy, innovativeness and labour efficiency, improvement of the social and economic situation through the creation of new work places and the development of an information industry, improvement of the environment through ICT, effective use of Moscow’s creative and cultural potential, etc. The last five years of our work clearly proved to us that we are not talking about conquering the digital divide, but rather about conquering the divide between economies or even civilisations. Today, we are appealing to those who have knowledge. On 9 December 2002, the international conference “Global Knowledge – Russia” took place in Moscow, which brought together decision makers and high-level experts from 18 countries, representing government, business, civil

The last five years of our work clearly proved to us that we are not talking about conquering the digital divide, but rather about conquering the divide between economies or even civilisations. Today, we are appealing to those who have knowledge

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society, the research and education community, mass media, national and international associations, and international organisations (such as the World Bank, United Nations Development Program and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). The participants were made aware of E- and Kstrategies and programme development implementation worldwide. They could exchange their own unique practical experience and were informed about the World Summit on Information Society and its preparatory process. Partnership networks were looked at and analysed as mighty tools to transform the society towards an information society for all and to enhance the knowledge economy. One such network is the Russian e-Development Partnership (PRIOR). It is a loose association of organisations established in November 2001, aimed at facilitating Russia’s dynamic and fully-fledged development in the information society through building a partnership between the key forces of edevelopment, undertaking targeted efforts to bridge the digital divide, and assisting in the development of the knowledge economy. Now the partnership includes 193 organisations from 26 regions of Russia – those ranging from a one-man company to leading Russian universities and research organisations, recognised public organisations and IT leaders. It is open for international participation as well. One of the significant outcomes of PRIOR and UN ICT TF EuCAs’ joint activity is the fact that Russia made a step towards a national e-strategy – a multi-stakeholder working group has been created to prepare a framework for this document. The group has been established under the umbrella of the Ministry of Russian Federation for Communication and Informatization, which is in charge of issues related to the information society. Today, we are looking at those who are ready to share technologies. We are waiting for goodwill actions from those who are willing to share their profits, realising that without it there will be no profits tomorrow. We are closely cooperating with the Geneva Node of the UN ICT Task Force Europe and Central Asia regional network. This cooperation resulted in a contribution to the preparation of the conceptual outcome of the European Regional Ministerial Conference (Bucharest, 7-9 November 2002), now it refers to the development of action plans for the WSIS. It’s time to speak about the dialogue of civilisations. And it’s time to use ICT for this dialogue. The time is coming to merge TV, radio, multimedia and the internet into one entity – the entity of knowledge and technology. We are approaching the World Summit of Information Society. It will take place in Geneva and Tunisia. Both Summits with our help can turn into a new form of a dialogue between civilisations. This is our dream. This is our will.
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For more information, contact: Andrey Korotkov, Head of Bureau, UN ICT Task Force Regional Network for Europe and Central Asia. www.unicttaskforce.org

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FROM THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

eEurope: An information society for all

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he European Council held in Lisbon in March 2000 set the ambitious objective for Europe to become the most competitive and

dynamic economy in the world. It recognised an urgent need for Europe to quickly exploit the opportunities of the new economy and in particular the Internet. To achieve this, the Heads of State and Government invited the Council and the Commission to draw up ‘a comprehensive eEurope Action Plan using an open method of co-ordination based on the benchmarking of national initiatives, combined with the Commission’s eEurope initiative as well as its Communication Strategies for jobs in the Information Society.’ eEurope initially identified ten areas where action at European level would add value. The key target areas were revised following the Lisbon European Council, and clustered into three main objectives: a cheaper, faster, secure Internet; investing in people and skills; and stimulating the use of the Internet. A cheaper, faster, secure Internet The first priority of this goal was to establish cheaper, faster Internet, an important aspect of which involved developing competition in the local loop and unbundling the local loop. Ensuring that less-favoured regions can fully participate in the information society is a priority for the Union. Projects encouraging the uptake of new technologies in less-favoured regions are also now a key element in regional development agendas. In relation to the next generation Internet, the Commission is also to launch an initiative aimed at mobilising telecommunications operators and equipment manufacturers to work together with service providers and users to ensure the rapid deployment and use of IPv6. The next priority in this objective was faster Internet for researchers and students. Europe needs to invest more to provide both a truly ‘state-of-the-art’ Investing in people and skills A key responsibility established in the framework of the action plan was to integrate European youth into the digital age, by promoting the relevant use of infrastructure and the technologies required to fully exploit it. The Commission launched the research networking activity under the 5th Framework Programme, which provide €80 million to ensure the upgrading of trans-European capacity to 2.5 Gbit/s. The final goal regarded the establishment of secure networks and smart cards. This included improving the availability of solutions for Internet security, better co-ordination to fight cybercrime and the encouragement of the use of smart cards to improve the security of access to electronic services (via a high level Task Force to initiate and support common developments in the deployment of smart cards).

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new technologies and applications, and financing dissemination of best practices. Extra financial resources were also made available to ensure that all pupils have the possibility to be digitally literate by the time they leave school. Ensuring employability and adaptability in the new economy is also a primary responsibility. The Commission played a key coordinating role within the European Employment Process, which is based on drawing up employment guidelines at European level and translating them into National Employment Action Plans. The Council also noted that there should be no ‘info-exclusion’, adding that special attention should be given to disabled people. As part of this drive, the High Level Group on the Employment and Social Dimension of the Information Society (ESDIS), in cooperation with the Commission, examined and monitored legislation and standards relevant to the information society to ensure their conformity with accessibility principles. It was also established that public sector websites and their content in member states and in the European Institutions must be designed to be accessible to ensure that citizens with disabilities can access information and take full advantage of their potential. Stimulating the use of the Internet A critical element of stimulating the use of the Internet involves accelerating e-commerce. To ensure the establishment of the internal market for e-commerce, the Commission proposed a number of legislative measures – the ‘Dual Use Regulation’ providing an internal market for security products and the rapid adoption of the e-commerce Directive, for example. Enabling electronic access to public services and health information was also

recognised as a critical component, and the Commission has revised procedures to better exploit digital technologies. The Commission also launched a programme to support European digital content on global networks and promote linguistic diversity in the information society. Finally, the eEurope initiative was also created to address the growing demand for mobility within transport infrastructure networks – paying particular attention to the issues of congestion, safety and the shortage of new services. Technologies are already being deployed to address these issues, and eEurope will also kick start new solutions and accelerate their deployment. An operational action plan The action plan acknowledges that there is an urgent need for Europe to quickly exploit the opportunities of the new economy and in particular the Internet. The objectives will contribute to the development of a stronger and more pro-active policy in the information society at a global level. In the context of e-commerce, for example, it will provide global co-operation between governments and the private sector, particularly in the development of co-regulation. Europe must play an active role in the development of a more equitable information society, which offers fair chances of inclusion to all countries. Closing the 'digital divide' between developed and developing countries is a key goal for the European Union. To meet this goal, collaboration with Europe’s main international partners and private industry will be necessary. eEurope assists this collaboration, driving the ambitious objective of making Europe the most competitive and dynamic economy in the world.
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For more information, visit: http://europa.eu.int/information_society/eeurope/action_plan/pdf/actionplan_en.pdf

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FROM THE MARKLE FOUNDATION TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

A Unique Institution
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he Markle Foundation is a private notfor-profit philanthropy. In 1999, the Foundation focused its mission on Policy Participation Project Markle created the Policy Participation Project in 2002 to further the work on policy participation begun in the G-8 DOT Force, which expired in the summer of 2002, and the UNICT Task Force, which is not an operational body. The goal of this project is to enable meaningful and effective participation by developing countries in international multilateral institutions where ICT commitments, rules, and policies are made (e.g., ICANN, ITU, WIPO, and WTO). While domestic policies are needed to harness ICT for development effectively, international policies forged in multilateral institutions will increasingly define the range of policy options available to developing countries. Many developing countries have not participated effectively in international ICT policy processes due to capacity and process limitations. These limitations may cause developing country stakeholders to question the transparency, legitimacy, and accountability of international governance processes and outcomes related to ICT and impede both developing and developed countries in their national and international ICT goals. Full and equitable participation by developing nations in multilateral institutions, therefore, is critical to the realization of their developmental goals. Through the UNICT Task Force, Markle is working on two initiatives to promote developing country participation in the WTO and ICANN – two important global ICT policymaking institutions. WTO In Working Group I on Internet Policy and Governance, Markle is leading an initiative ICANN Markle has been working with ICANN since 1999 to ensure that its decisions, decision-making processes, and venues are representative and inclusive of all users – including those in developing countries. While many of ICANN’s decisions appear to be strictly ‘technical’, they have important social and economic ramifications for developing countries, including: the allocation and maintenance of country-code top level domain names (ccTLDs); the standardization of foreign language domain names; and the implementation of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) to safeguard the intellectual property rights of users in developing nations. focused on providing technical assistance to developing countries on e-commerce and ICT issues that may be addressed in the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda and in other bilateral or regional trade negotiations. The objective of the ‘WTO Initiative’ is to help developing countries identify and represent their interests on e-commerce and ICTrelated issues arising in these trade negotiations. This objective reflects the tremendous potential of e-commerce/ICT and the rules-based trading system to promote development by using information and communications technologies to create new commercial opportunities and trading efficiencies for developing countries. Developing countries must participate in the policymaking process through which the rules-based trading system is applied to ecommerce and ICT if that system is to reflect their interests and maximize ICT-related trade and development opportunities. using emerging information and communications technology (ICT) to improve people’s lives. The Foundation creates and operates most of its own projects using grants, investments, and strategic alliances with governments, multilateral organizations, industry, the academy, think tanks, and other foundations and non-profit organizations. It is a unique institution that combines the functions of an operating foundation, granting foundation, think tank, and incubator. One of Markle’s goals is to advance the policy foundation that will enable the public to benefit fully from ICT. Markle seeks to contribute to the development of that foundation by leading multi-sectoral policymaking processes through which government, industry, and non-profits work with equal dignity to build sound sustainable ICT policies. Over the last three years, we have focused much of our work on promoting meaningful participation of developing country stakeholders in ICT governance [1]. In addition to serving on the G-8 DOT Force and the UNICT Task Force, Markle has undertaken two projects to assist developing countries in participating fully in ICT governance. The Policy Participation Project seeks to engage developing countries in global ICT policymaking that will influence how ICT is deployed at the national level and in the global marketplace; and The Global Digital Opportunity Initiative seeks to integrate ICT into national development strategies.

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At the ICANN board meetings in Accra, Bucharest and Shanghai, Markle funded developing country participation and organized meetings with ICANN officials and other members of the global domain name community to discuss how best to ensure that the needs of developing nations are met. Markle is also supporting the Uniform Domain Name Resolution Policy Database that provides Internet users worldwide with free access to legal precedents regarding disputes over Web addresses. The UDRP Database encourages consistency of globally distributed decision-making, enables equal access to information for all parties and improves ongoing policy development in dispute resolution. And, Markle is leading the exploration within the UNICT Task Force of ways to provide even greater accessibility for developing countries to ICANN. The WTO and ICANN initiatives are an extension of recommendations made on how developing country participation in IT governance can be improved in ‘A Roadmap Toward Enabling Meaningful Participation by Developing Country Stakeholders’, published at the conclusion of the DOT Force. The Roadmap defines the current global ICT policy environment and the most common barriers to developing-country participation, examines key lessons in developing county participation drawn from other global policy fora that are not ICT focused, and lays out a framework of priorities and recommended actions to increase developing-nation participation. The Roadmap complements ‘Louder Voices: Strengthening Developing Country Participation in International ICT Decision-making’ (‘Louder Voices’), a survey and report conducted by CTO and PANOS with DFID support. Global Digital Opportunity Initiative (GDOI) Markle, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and a broad set of publicprivate partners launched the Global Digital Opportunity Initiative (GDOI) in February 2002. GDOI is based on a report developed for the G-8 leaders at the 2001 Genoa Summit by UNDP, the Markle Foundation and Accenture that lays out a strategic framework for action to assist developing countries in integrating

ICTs into the mainstream of their development activities. The report emphasizes the need to address not only policy changes, but also a comprehensive agenda of strategic interventions in the interrelated areas of human capacity, enterprise, infrastructure and applications. GDOI includes a Steering Committee comprised of senior officials and experts from both the development and ICT communities and an International Partners Group consisting of commercial and non-profit institutions with expertise and interest in both ICT and development matters. While GDOI’s initial work has focused on national e-strategy development with individual countries, specifically in South Africa and Mozambique, GDOI plans to redirect the Initiative into UNICT Task Force Working Group II on National and Regional e-Strategies chaired by UNDP. This will enable GDOI to engage with a wider set of countries through a series of regional meetings held under United Nations auspices, bringing together six-to-eight countries at each gathering. This approach not only multiplies the number of countries involved, but also promotes a peer review environment and mutual learning among the countries and outside entities participating. GDOI partners – experts, donors, investors, and others – are expected to participate in these discussions on strategy implementation as a way of facilitating new partnerships for the country initiatives that follow. GDOI’s country engagements to date include:

South Africa: A team of seven GDOI consultants was invited to participate in a national e-Strategy Task Team mandated by the South African Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2002. The GDOI team is providing expertise in key areas of the strategy development process: education, healthcare, e-government, job creation access/infrastructure and policy. In addition, Markle supports a set of experts and NGOs whose work reinforces the important interventions of policy, human capacity, enterprise, infrastructure, and applications addressed in the framework for action: • Bridges.org, an NGO focused on policy issues in South Africa; • Dr Allen Hammond of World Resources Institute on the use of ICT to promote enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovative business models; • Professor Ernest Wilson of the University of Maryland on leadership and human capacity building; • Voxiva, a voice and data applications provider dedicated to serving public health in poor communities in developing nations; and • Interaction, an alliance of 160 international relief and development non-governmental organizations seeking to expand the use of information and communication technology to facilitate their work. Markle is also a founding partner along

Mozambique: GDOI was asked by the Prime Minister of Mozambique to assist with a national ICT for development strategy. Working with an in-country ICT Policy Commission, GDOI helped finalize an ‘Implementation Strategy’ by providing policy and technical support to the Government and other sectors. The Mozambique Council of Ministers approved the final version in June 2002 and UNDP entered into an agreement with the Government of Mozambique on an Implementation Program to which Markle contributed additional funds. GDOI is now enlisting other partner organizations to help implement the strategy.

with Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) and Internews of the Global Internet Policy Initiative (GIPI), an organization committed to promoting an open and democratic Internet through the adoption of legal and policy frameworks in fourteen developing countries. s
[1] For further information about the Markle Foundation’s interest in developing a sound, sustainable foundation for ICT policy, please see the following articles published by Markle President Zoë Baird: ‘Governing the Internet: Engaging Government, Business and Nonprofits,’ Foreign Affairs (November 2002); and ‘Promoting Innovation to Prevent the Internet from Becoming a Wasteland,’ Federal Communications Law Journal (May 2003).

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FROM NOKIA TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Global focus on youth and education

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okia aims to be a good corporate community member wherever it operates and has been running programmes for many years to help people, particularly the young, improve

themselves through a wide variety of learning opportunities. The focus of Nokia’s Corporate Community Involvement programme is youth and education – a logical step given Nokia’s leadership in future-oriented technologies. Chairman and CEO Jorma Ollila puts it this way: “In the future that Nokia’s business is shaping, people will have the technology to communicate anytime, anywhere. Helping young people improve their skills, knowledge and connections to society is a natural outgrowth of Nokia’s business, vision and values.” Nokia is committed to having a positive impact on society that extends far beyond the advanced technology, products and services it creates. The company’s Corporate Community Involvement programme is designed to respond to the expectations of all stakeholders – customers, employees and investors alike – and to reflect the company’s core values. It is dedicated to the ideal of continuous learning – constantly improving life skills, creating an environment that fosters open and creative thinking, establishing a meaningful connection with society and sharing best practices across all borders. Veli Sundbäck, Nokia’s Executive Vice President, who is in charge of global Corporate Social Responsibility, explains: “It is not our intention to promote technology as such even though it is our core competence. In a fast changing world, we want young people to develop the skills they are going to need – creative thinking, the life skills needed to make quick decisions, and simply an ability to think for themselves and take responsibility for what’s happening around them.” Veli points out that the company has also made local donations for specific events, such as disaster relief in Kosovo and victims of the Venezuelan floods, in addition to supporting long-term initiatives on all the continents. “It’s not a question of pure donations – we want to take an active role as a company and as individual employees,” says Veli. “This is all about human values.” Nokia and the IYF make a connection While Nokia has been sponsoring activities to support youth and education for many years, 2000 saw the beginning of a multiyear commitment to the International Youth Foundation (IYF) – a new and truly global partnership to promote corporate responsibility. In the first year, Nokia invested 3.4 million Euros in the wellestablished IYF programme to support children and youth development activities in six countries – China, Germany, South

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Africa, UK, Mexico and Brazil – as well as to conduct global programmes. The IYF programme, called ‘Make a Connection’, will work hand-in-hand with existing Nokia projects in many parts of the world. IYF itself is an independent, non-governmental organisation dedicated to improving the conditions and prospects for young people wherever they live, learn, work and play. It does so by drawing on the expertise of a worldwide network of national-level children and youth development organisations, as well as corporations, such as Nokia, and governments, to ensure that the best programmes are identified, strengthened and expanded. Currently, this global network includes organisations in more than 30 countries with plans to expand to 60 by 2003. IYF views young people’s needs as an urgent global priority, with all young people having the innate right to develop their full potential to become responsible and caring individuals. Its programmes seek to build character, confidence and competence and to ‘connect’ young people to their families, peers and communities. Creative thinking in China “In just two days, I learned skills which I believe are most important to success in the information age. I believe this project will have a positive and significant impact on nurturing the creative thinking skills of Chinese university students.” This is what graduate Fu Peng had to say about Nokia’s ‘Creative Thinking Corner’ project, which helped him to prepare his thesis for his master’s degree. The programme, launched in Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications, is the first of its kind and is touching the lives of thousands of students. It includes a series of roadshows and Thinking Club activities and has travelled to 12 universities across China. An important part of the programme in 2000 was the Nokia College Student Thinking Challenge Competition, which helped students from the 12 universities develop their brainpower, intelligence, innovation abilities, problem-discovery and solutions capabilities. And, in order to share the project with as wide an audience as possible in China, the Thinking Corner now has its own website. The Thinking Corner, for university students, has a natural synergy with an existing IYF project called the ‘Little Master Newspaper’, which is now receiving Nokia backing. Youngsters under the age of 15 write, edit and produce the newspaper which has a circulation of more than 1 million. Folke Ahlback, Chairman of Nokia (China) Investment Corporation, comments: “We feel that the newspaper encourages leadership, creativity and responsibility across activities such as culture, education, sports and the arts. We hope it will emulate the success of Nokia’s Creative Thinking Corner workshops.”

Life skills initiatives in the UK For the past seven years, Nokia has sponsored Mencap – the UK’s leading charity for children and adults with learning disabilities. The company supports specific projects each year ranging from establishing a special sensory unit for learning to the construction of a recording studio to produce Mencap’s newsletter in audio format. Mencap Chairman Brian Baldock comments: “Computer and communication technologies have the potential to revolutionise the lives of people who have a disability by offering a better quality of life unimaginable only a few years ago.” Mencap is also one of the partners helping to develop teaching materials in the new IYF Make a Connection project in the UK, funded by Nokia and managed by the Children and Youth Partnership Foundation. The nationwide project is aimed at young people aged between 11 and 16, including those with special educational needs, to equip them with the necessary life skills for future personal and social well-being. Connecting schools and families in the USA ClassLink is a well-established example of Nokia’s commitment to creating a positive impact on society by providing wireless phones to hundreds of schools across the USA in order to connect students, teachers and parents more effectively. More than 90 percent of American classrooms do not have access to a telephone, yet a national survey of teachers showed that wireless phones are the one tool they really need. ClassLink, a philanthropic partnership sponsored by Nokia, the CTIA's Wireless Foundation and several carriers, answers that need. Piloted successfully in Texas, Nokia donated 1,000 phones to 200 high schools in the state. Due to the success of the Texas programme, ClassLink moved into the national arena in 2000. So far, more than 6,000 phones and millions of minutes of airtime have been donated to schools across the country, bringing teachers and parents into a closer partnership in the education of their communities’ students. But ClassLink is not the only Nokia Corporate Community Involvement project in the USA – others include help for sick children and support for community issues. The Make a Wish Foundation supported by Nokia and CBS Channel 11 has given trips to Disney, puppies and computers to children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. And The United Way is a programme dedicated to making communities better places in which to live and work. Nokia employees choose to donate to a network of agencies looking after children, families, crisis relief, health and the elderly. Their contribution went up by 116 per cent in 2000 and the combination of corporate and employee pledges rose to $472,000 in 2000 from $173,200 the year before. s

For more information, visit:http://www.nokia.com/cda2/0,1083,2912,00.html

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FROM THE SWEDISH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION AGENCY TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

transforming the world by transforming universities

ICT -

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weden started to support development research in 1975. The support is currently administered by

access to information, data, communication and research networking. Within the framework of research cooperation, Sida is therefore systematically assisting universities and research institutions to get access to Internet. At present, the budget for ICT projects at universities in developing countries is approximately 60 MSEK a year. The ICT projects are usually initiated by providing assistance for making an ICT policy and an ICT master plan. To increase the long-term effects of the ICT projects, technical infrastructure is just one of the focused areas. Human resource training at various levels is an essential part of these projects as well as the development of ICTbased services such as distance learning, policy and organisation development. SAREC also hopes universities will emphasize research on ICT as there is a need to develop an ICT knowledge base in many developing countries. Universities are important for development. In many countries they have the possibility – and capacity – to be the driving force that could spearhead the use of Internet. But they cannot play this role in isolation. In order to participate in the fight against poverty the universities must cooperate with the private sector and the society in general. The use of ICT will make their contribution even more important. Forming a new administration Introducing ICT as a tool in all administrative areas is seen by many universities as being the first step for using ICT as a tool for education and research. In the University of Dar es Salaam the process began with the formulation of an ICT policy plan. The aim was to provide a

Sida’s Department for Research Cooperation, SAREC, which is responsible for support to research and also acts as a resource in programmes of development cooperation run by other departments of Sida in which there is a focus on research. The objective of research cooperation is to support research, which is of significance for development in developing countries. This is done by providing support to improve the capacity to run research programs of their own and by providing support to research which can contribute to the solution of important development problems. Sida is supporting regional research networks in Africa, Latin America and Asia which focus on, for example, energy, biological diversity and biotechnology. Sida also supports research in important areas that require special attention. Several special projects are linked to the four action programmes which guide Sida’s international development cooperation: sustainable development; poverty reduction; gender equality; and peace, democracy and human rights. There are today many donors providing support to ICT programmes in general. Sida has established a focal point to promote the use of ICT, identifying strategic applications for the various areas of development cooperation. The focus of ICT support in research cooperation programmes is to improve higher education and research at universities. Access to the Internet is absolutely necessary for modern research in term of

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common vision for the adoption of ICT with regard to the university’s mission. Initially, the process was concentrated on implementing ICT into the university’s administration. Access to the Internet was given high priority. In 1989-90 a computer centre was established and in 1999 a dedicated computer science department was formed. The process has since then been twofold. One aim is to develop an ICT structure within the university and for the university’s administration. The other aim is to introduce ICT as a tool for education and research. Despite the overwhelming needs, there was a great deal of uncertainty within the university about the implementation. The enormous changes ICT would introduce within the university and the institutions were not always to everybody’s liking. For many lecturers, ICT was something that would disrupt their old habits. For quite some time, members of faculty remained unaware and uninformed of the ongoing ICT process. One conclusion is that more investment is needed in promoting the policy within the university. Internal level management support is crucial for the implementation of any ICT plan. If that fails, the work for those involved in the project will be very burdensome. Another experience also shared by other universities is the importance of end user training. Both students and staff need to attain at least a minimum level of computer literacy. As the University of Dar es Salaam was a frontrunner in ICT compared to society in general, most capacities had to be developed internally. However, the second level support provided by external partners in northern universities was vital for the implementation of the ICT policy plan. Pedagogy and training The introduction of ICT into universities is clearly changing the way education is conducted. Not only is it possible to work with distance learning and achieve a closer collaboration between different universities, ICT is also paving the way for a new

pedagogical approach where students are expected to play a more active role than before. The Faculty of Education at UEM in Mozambique is a newly formed faculty that has facilitated the introduction of new pedagogical methods and ideas. The experience of Professor Ernesto Mandlate is that ICT is clearly changing the way education is conducted. Until recently the focus was on theoretical aspects with little relation to what was happening outside the university. The student was seen merely as a reproducer of knowledge. With the introduction of ICT the student has come to play a more active role. “Students like places with technology so ICT has given the students a lot of motivation. Our students already show a lot of ability in ICT. They go to the library and search for information etc. But there is no point teaching students ICT skills if they have to use pen and paper in the classroom,” he says. ICT also gives university teachers the role of facilitator, organiser, manager and adviser on top of the knowledge required within their domain. This, in turn, means that the professors need to acquire new skills. Professor Björn Pehrson at KTH calls for a collaborative framework for learning. With this individualised learning model, all students might not learn the same from the

same course. The Moz-IX project is one example of this approach. “I am very much in favour of an Open Source approach. There is a lot of free software available in the Open Source community. One of the first laboratory exercises for the students is to build a network using their laptops. Most things can be done with cheap hardware and free software,” he explains. The university within society As the leader in ICT, universities could play an important role in the development of the society, both in cooperation with private companies and within society at large. “The university was among the first to promote the Internet services and Internet café model,” says Professor Beda Mutagahywa, University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. “We initiated the local telephone company into the Internet business and now they are providing Internet links to many organisations, both governmental and private including small Internet cafés. When we started, the Internet was very expensive as all access was through local dial up system. We developed a wireless solution that was quickly adopted by many ISPs and Internet cafés, something that lowered the access cost for the local entrepreneur. “The university also played a role in establishing the ICT business. The first

Another experience also shared by other universities is the importance of end user training. Both students and staff need to attain at least a minimum level of computer literacy

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private ISP was started by one of my staff from the medical college who teamed up with a foreign company. Others have followed. Some students have also, when they graduated, started enterprises together. “There is a digital divide between Tanzania and the developed world, but also one within Tanzania itself. Our attempt to create public access telecentres, Internet cafés and other facilities is a way to bridge the gap.” “During the genocide in 1994, the university lost many skilled people and today we face a lack of teachers,” says Albert Nsengiyumva, National University of Rwanda. “In 1998 we opened up the computing centre at the university. Our first priority was to provide Internet access for teachers and students so that they could get complementary information for their studies. “We are looking at ICT as an important way to improve the quality and the accessibility of education, because the human resource is one of the keys to social and economic development of Rwanda where we don’t have natural resources. The first level of empowering ICT in Rwanda will be to educate people. With the use of ICT we will increase the literacy in the country by creating the telecentres especially in the rural areas, by promoting instructional technology in the existing educational institutions. “ICT is a powerful tool in order to link Rwanda with the outside world and to facilitate the ongoing reconciliation process. We need to provide people with information and knowledge, especially in rural areas. One thing we are looking at is the development of telecentres where people can discuss and share ideas, learn from the outside on how they handled their problems, for example the reconciliation process in South Africa.” Sweden is one of the most ICT developed countries in the world in terms of both usage and population working within the ICT sector. Swedish industry has great expertise in areas related to most aspects of connectivity, including telecommunication equipment and consultant services. Sweden also has extensive experience of the implementation and management of technology projects in distant parts of the world due to a small home market. These characteristics would make the Swedish ICT industry an important partner in the transfer of knowledge and ICT services to developing countries. The cooperation with developing countries would also benefit the private sector in Sweden, as it will provide access to new markets in developing countries and the possibility to recruit personnel with experience from university cooperation with Sweden. In Sweden there is a tradition of close cooperation between universities and the private sector. Universities often function as incubators for commercial projects. They play an important role, not only in graduating students but also by actively participating in various projects. This cooperation is especially strong in researchintensive fields such as biotech and ICT. Listening to universities from developing countries, one senses a certain hesitation when it comes to cooperating with the private sector. In many developing countries the public sector is the largest employer. The private sector is small, especially when it comes to companies in the ICT sector. But instead of looking for opportunities for cooperation with the private sector many institutions fear they might lose qualified staff without getting anything in return. The
For more information, visit: www.sida.se

There is a digital divide between Tanzania and the developed world, but also one within Tanzania itself. Our attempt to create public access telecentres, Internet cafés and other facilities is a way to bridge the gap

Sri Lanka experience shows that there is little reason for this fear. The University of Colombo has successfully cooperated with the private sector for many years. Achieving sustainability To bridge the digital divide, huge investments are required in bandwidth, running cost, infrastructure, equipment and human resources along with major support from the donors. But here lies the problem with sustainability. In order to make the investment sustainable, there is a need to develop a long-term financing model for ICT at the universities. But who will pay? What will happen with salaries, software licenses, connectivity costs, and salaries to match the private market once donor programmes are coming to an end? Sustainability requires income generation and universities can actually also make money so cooperation with the private sector is of vital importance. Many universities in developing countries are selling their services to the private sector in the form of Internet services, consultancy for private companies, fees for students etc. Sida is planning to start a study that will address the issue of sustainability of ICT projects in the public sector of low income countries.
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FROM THE SWEDISH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION AGENCY TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

E-mail over short-wave radio

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ot a telephone or power pole in sight, not even a satellite dish, but the people in Wino Ward, a remote Ward in the south-western Corner of Tanzania, are busy sending and

receiving e-mails from all over the world. They are using old fashion short wave radio. A data modem and a laptop allows a classic ‘Codan’ radio transceiver to send binary files through robust error-checking protocols to a receiving station, BushLink, where the file is put out on the Internet. Bushlink is one of two commercial providers in Tanzania, offering publicly accessible radio e-mail networks to many locations in sub-Saharan Africa. Wino Development Association (WIDA), Wino Savings and Credit Co-operative Society (SACCO) and Wino Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (WAMCS) have used this e-mail service since February 2002. The source of energy for the equipment is a 50 W solar panel and two 12 V batteries. The staff has been trained in understanding the basics of running the service after training in Microsoft Word and Excel programmes. The initial cost for a shortwave radio transceiver with antennae, a laptop, data modem and software is in the order of USD 3000. The monthly cost is around USD 30 plus 0.12 per Kbyte for sent and received messages. The e-mail service has not only provided a means of communication; it has also become an income generating activity for the CBOs. Private e-mails are charged USD 1-1.5 depending upon whether you are a CBO member or not. This income has been enough to cover the total monthly costs. This is by no means ‘broadband’ communication; the data speed is only 2000 baud! However, it does allow e-mail and thus also facsimile messages to be sent to and from an area, where it would take a letter posted in Dar es Salaam two weeks to reach its destination. It has considerably raised the prestige of the Wino villagers. It has been used by private people to deliver messages of social character such as death announcements, arrangements of trips and visits, business matters, family issues etc. Wino Ward is far away from market centres. However, the area is very rich in natural resources such as forests and water and is highly productive, producing coffee as cash crop beside maize, beans, sunflower, groundnuts and fingermillet. Other activities involve honey, fruits and timber production. The e-mail system has allowed

The e-mail service has not only provided a means of communication; it has also become an income generating activity

WAMCS to become a player in the markets for these products.

Coffee prices are followed regularly and WAMCS is able to withdraw from the market when prices are low and enter when prices are more favourable. When the coffee price was low in Tanzania, the email system allowed WAMCS to secure a buyer through the Fair Trade Coffee Register, who was prepared to pay above the world market price. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency has received a request to look into a scaling up of this project by promoting, attracting and training rural entrepreneurs to run such low-cost rural e-mail services.
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FROM ST MICROELECTRONICS TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Closing the digital divide
through education and training

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he proposal made by Pasquale Pistorio and STMicroelectronics (ST) concerns the involvement of corporations in the fight against the digital divide. The

peace for the entire world if economic reasons for potential conflicts are reduced in the future. ST has already started down on this track and has completed the most significant part of the preparation job, that is, building up a model course for basic PC and internet literacy, and a course to train its employees or other volunteers to become trainers. The courses were designed by ST information technology specialists leveraging the training expertise of the internal corporate school of management, and are totally royalty-free. As such, they will be offered to any organisation willing to run the same programme. The model course, to be deployed in at least 20 hours in a classroom, not only includes basic PC and internet tools for a user starting from scratch, but also instructions on security and quality, as well as an introduction on hardware key elements. After a successful trial with teachers in an Italian primary school, translation in all the main languages spoken by the ST community worldwide has begun, taking into consideration both local culture and local standards of computing literacy. The English, French and Italian versions have already been completed. More than 50 trainers have now been trained and will initiate, in 2003, the cascading process by which the company aims to reach one million people in a decade. The process will first involve members of the ST community at large, including employees, their relatives, small businesses, schools, local organisations and administrative entities in the vicinity of ST sites. The next steps will foresee the setting up of internet kiosks for free access to the web and its services and the start-up of remote training activities, while at the same time expanding the cooperation with other organisations and business enterprises in order to broaden the scope and the reach of the initiative.
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proposal is based on the firm conviction that, while building infrastructure – and whatever else is needed to provide Internet access – is essential for overcoming the technological gap between the most advanced nations and the developing world, it is equally important that people be able to use the technology, understand its importance and recognise the benefits it has to offer. Education and training are essential to access modern means of communication and information. In Pistorio’s opinion, all companies can and should invest in teaching those who have not had access to the education necessary to use a PC, no matter where they might live. He suggests that medium to large corporations – i.e. companies with over 250 employees – voluntarily donate up to 0.1 percent of their annual revenues and up to 0.1 percent of their employees’ working hours to this cause. The intention is to create a widespread movement and to mobilise voluntary donations, not only of hardware, software and communications connections but also of human resources. Why get business involved? Firstly, because Pistorio and ST are deeply convinced that socially responsible companies – that is, companies that are committed to promoting the wellbeing of the communities in which they work – generate more value not only for their stakeholders but also for their shareholders. Secondly, corporations should consider that by encouraging employees to transfer basic computer skills they also provide them with extra motivation. This kind of initiative helps companies to recruit the best young talent and retain them for longer since they contribute to increase the motivation of employees and their acceptance of and identification with the company. Lastly, in the long run, the most advanced economies will clearly benefit if, by triggering a process to limit the digital divide and to contribute to the development of poorer areas of the world, new markets and new opportunities for trade and production are created. Moreover, no one should forget the payback in terms of security and

For more information, visit: www.st.com

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FROM TALAL ABU-GHAZALEH INTERNATIONAL TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

The Abu-Ghazaleh Cambridge IT Skills Centre

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alal Abu-Ghazaleh International (TAGI) is one of the leading providers of professional services in the Arab world. Although it is a

profit-making firm, it is uniquely distinguished by the inclusion, in its core mission statement, of a commitment to contributing to the socio-economic development of the Arab world. This unusually strong focus on development issues originates in the lifelong commitment of the firm’s founder, CEO and namesake Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, to fostering a renaissance in the Arab world. Abu-Ghazaleh’s special interests and commitments in this area have resulted in his becoming a leading Arab business leader in the field of development. In the late 1990s, his belief in the power of information and communication technologies (ICTs) increased to such an extent that he acted as a catalyst to the development process. The increasing focus on ICTs led to an evolving leadership role at an international level, which culminated in his current international leadership position as chairman of the ICC’s Commission on Electronic Business, Information Technology and Telecoms (EBITT), and co-chair of the UN ICT Task Force. The stumbling block for Mr Abu-Ghazaleh in seeing his vision of an Arab information society realised is that the Arab world is one of the most digitally deprived regions in the world. Other issues that pose problems include lack of high-quality local content (i.e. Arabic language materials), and significant lack of literacy in basic computer skills. One solution pioneered by Abu-Ghazaleh was to partner with Cambridge International Examinations (CIE), one of the world’s foremost educational institutions. Together with the Arab Knowledge Management Society (AKMS), they formed AbuGhazaleh Cambridge IT Skills Centre (AGCA). AGCA was established to prepare prospective candidates for the Cambridge IT Skills Award tests in Arabic.

The key to initiating the project was TAGI’s core commitment and mission to Arab development

Individuals who successfully complete this course are awarded the Cambridge Skills Award in Information Technology. CIE provided their world-renowned educational materials and awards, which were translated into Arabic and marketed by TAGI. The only difficulty the project experienced was that which affects most development-oriented initiatives: financing. CIE and TAGI are both profitmaking companies. For CIE, venturing into the marketing of Arabic versions of their products would be too risky without a strong local partner. Even for TAGI, some of their in-house consultants were sceptical of the profitability of the project. The key to initiating the project was TAGI’s core commitment and mission to Arab development. Thus far, the project has yielded far greater success than was initially imagined. Utilising a franchising system, TAGI has begun spreading the Abu-Ghazaleh Cambridge IT Skills Centres (AGCA) to academic and other institutions across the region. This is a demonstration of a winning partnership between the two motivations of development and profit making in one successful project.
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For more information, visit: www.tagi.com

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FROM THE WORLD BANK GROUP TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

The World Bank Group:
fostering digital opportunities

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he World Bank Group’s strategy for ICT lays out four directions for our work:

policy and investment tools remain effective in a rapidly changing sector. This evolution is underpinned by a commitment to learning and knowledge development within the Bank and beyond, covering research, pilots and dissemination. Much of this development and dissemination is supported by infoDev, which was one of the first grant initiatives created to back pilot projects that put ICT to work in the fight supported a number of telecommunications investments. Turning to skills, the Bank has been a leader in expanding e-learning operations. This is not only through lending operations such as the Turkey Basic Education Project which will eventually link 10,000 schools to the Internet, but also through a number of special initiatives. The Global Development Learning Network, World Links and the Africa Virtual University all provide eeducation facilities – the first through a network of 32 learning centres, the second through virtual teaching that has reached 24,000 tertiary students and the third through a programme that has reached 130,000 primary and secondary school students in LDCs. Finally, the Bank also supports roll-out of ICT applications in government services from budget and accounting to education and telemedicine. In total, somewhere between USD 1-2 billion in lending each year goes to support the ICT components of such projects. The World Bank Group is continually evolving its ICT agenda to ensure that its
For more information, visit: www.worldbank.org

• Policy for ICTs, including telecommunications reform, access programmes and e-strategies. • Connectivity, including support for private sector roll-out of information infrastructure. • Skills, supporting public private partnerships to generate human capital to exploit ICTs. • Applications, using ICTs to deliver the goals of development. The Bank is currently involved in over 70 countries worldwide working with governments to improve the policy and regulatory environment for information infrastructure. This involves support not only for the development of well regulated, competitive private provision of infrastructure, but also innovative subsidy schemes to support the roll-out of services to poor and rural communities. The IFC, the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, has mobilised about USD 5 billion in private capital over the past 10 years to extend access to information infrastructure in developing countries. Including the catalytic impact of IFC projects, this investment can be linked to the roll-out of 32 million new cellular connections – equal to 20 percent of all of the mobile phones in developing countries at the start of 2000. MIGA, the private sector guarantee agency, has also

against poverty. It has supported over 250 projects covering initiatives such as rural telecentres, e-readiness studies and use of the Internet to sell products created by artisans. More recently, the Development Gateway has also played an important role. The Gateway is more than a website containing best practice and information on development topics, it also acts as an eprocurement portal, an aid database and a centre for knowledge creation surrounding ICT and development. Finally, it should be noted that the World Bank Group’s ICT strategy recognises the great importance of cooperation and partnership in an area where so many governments, private companies, donors and non-governmental organisations are at work, and on an agenda that is far too large for any one organisation to hope to tackle alone. The World Bank Group sees collaboration with and learning from our development partners central to the effort of grasping digital opportunities.
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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY TASK FORCE WORKING GROUP 1 TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

ICT Policy and Governance

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nformation and communication technology (ICT) is an important tool that developing countries can use to achieve

social and economic growth by, for example, creating new economic activities and markets, improving mechanisms for delivering education and healthcare, and mapping environmental resources and planning for their sustainable usage. ICT policy and governance will be one of the key factors shaping how ICT is deployed for development and whether it is deployed successfully. Accordingly, the goal of Working Group I of the UNICT Task Force is to improve developing country participation in global ICT policymaking institutions. Background Over the last decade, the number of global ICT policymaking institutions has grown along with the importance of their work. Many traditional, governmentdominated multilateral institutions – such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and World Trade Organization (WTO) – as well as new nongovernmental bodies – such as the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce (GBDe) – are identifying critical ICT policy issues and addressing them. The policies these institutions are setting have a direct impact on how developing countries promote the use of ICT at home, and consequently, on their ability to reap the benefits of the networked economy and society.

Developing country participation in ICT governance will ensure that ICT resources and benefits are more democratically distributed


This reality highlights the critical need for developing country stakeholders to participate more effectively in these multilateral institutions. However a lack of financial and human resources and incomplete information with which to develop negotiating priorities and positions makes it difficult for developing countries to participate in, and contribute effectively to, the complex international policymaking processes related to ICT. As a result, developing countries may not be fully invested in the ICT policies developed in these multilateral institutions and may question the accountability and inclusiveness of those policies. Some of these institutions have learned first-hand the importance of improving developing country participation and are taking meaningful steps to do so. But there is much work left to do. The Plan Working Group I on ICT Policy and Governance is addressing these challenges by promoting transparency, legitimacy, and accountability of the international governance processes and outcomes related to ICT to ensure that they represent and serve all stakeholders, including the developing countries that have so much to gain from ICT. Developing country participation in ICT governance will ensure that ICT resources and benefits are more democratically distributed by promoting the development of ICT outcomes that reflect developing country interests, needs, and experiences. Working Group I convenes approximately two times per year during the UNICT Task Force meetings. Participation is open to all governments, industry, and non-profit representatives who have an interest in ICT policy and governance and in improving developing country participation in global ICT policymaking. For each meeting, the agenda includes the initiatives that the Working Group is pursuing. Participants

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are encouraged to propose other agenda items for the purpose of exploring new initiatives, improving understanding of specific ICT policy issues, and showcasing their own ICT policy work. In its first year (2002), Working Group I and its participants published two documents recommending strategies for improving developing country participation in ICT governance: ‘A Roadmap: Global Policymaking for Information and Communications Technologies’ and ‘Louder Voices’. For 2003, Working Group I has launched two initiatives involving the WTO and ICANN. In addition, CTO/Panos, a Working Group I participant, will support a series of initiatives to build capacity among developing countries to participate more broadly in international ICT policymaking. WTO Initiative The WTO Initiative focuses on assisting developing countries in becoming active and successful participants on e-commerce/ICT issues in WTO and other trade negotiations, an increasingly important issue with the launching of the WTO’s Doha Development Agenda and the expanding number of bilateral and regional free trade agreements. The WTO Initiative will serve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that call for the further development of an open, rules-based, predictable, nondiscriminatory trading system (MDG 8, Target 12) and mandate that the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication technologies, should be made available to all (MDG 8, Target 18).

The milestones of this initiative are to: • Develop materials explaining what ecommerce/ICT issues the WTO and other trade agreements will be addressing over the next 1-3 years and why they are significant to developing countries; • Disseminate these materials through a network of experts, partners, and institutions who are working to promote developing country participation in ICT governance. ICANN Initiative The ICANN Initiative seeks to improve developing country participation in both the technical and the policy aspects of ICANN. ICANN is responsible for managing the domain name space (DNS); allocating IP addresses; managing the root server system; and coordinating protocol number assignment. All of this means that ICANN’s decisions are tremendously important to the worldwide community – developed and developing countries. This initiative is exploring how to: • Assist African countries in creating their own regional internet registry (RIR), AfriNic, that would provide for increased technical capacity as well as more decision-making power within ICANN. Existing RIRs have proven an effective, transparent and bottom-up means of channelling local DNS concerns into policy. They are a crucial means of ensuring that regional IP resources are efficiently and fairly distributed. • Create linkages between the UNICT

Taskforce and ICANN to improve developing nations’ understanding of and participation in ICANN (as well as possibly manage a travel-fund); and • Advise ICANN in creating regional outreach centres or networks. Louder Voices CTO/Panos will launch several initiatives drawn from the Louder Voices recommendations to build capacity by providing basic tools, resources, and training that can be applied to international ICT policymaking, including: • Establishing regional institutes on ICT policy and regulation; • Developing an authoritative website on ICT policy issues; • Establishing a fund to support smallscale research studies; • Developing a code of practice for ‘fellowship’ and similar programs to enhance participation in ICT policymaking; • Developing a model policy-making processes to address international ICT issues; and • Stimulating public awareness and debate on international ICT issues. Conclusion Participation in ICT policymaking processes is a critical component of the Task Force’s work on ICT for development. Working Group I welcomes all governments, industry representatives, multilateral institutions, and civil society actors who wish to share their experiences and resources in support of this work.
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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES TASK FORCE WORKING GROUP 2 TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

NATIONAL & REGIONAL E-DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES: A BLUEPRINT FOR ACTION

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he focus of e-development strategies is to enhance development through effective deployment of ICT, putting

largely connectivity-centred focus on the digital divide to a more holistic development focus that concentrates on the deployment of ICT. • Awareness of the networked economy and society as opportunity and challenge: ICT themselves have helped to underpin the process of global integration through the creation of a networked economy and society. This has transformed the ways in which organisations, services, production and markets are organised, creating new opportunities and challenges for those not yet networked. • The distinctive focus on ICT – as a sector and/or enabler of development: development of the ICT sector is not essential for deployment of the technology, nor can all countries benefit from developing a sector.

While falling costs and an increase in technology options are making ICT more accessible than ever before, difficulties in securing investment funds and private sector involvement remain in the wake of the dotcom and telecom crashes. This increases the premium on well-defined, costed and implementable strategies, as well as the need to think of new partnerships, business models and implementation strategies in terms of ODA. The e-strategy As an enabler of development, ICT has the potential to assist in the achievement of millennium development goals: through the creation of new economic and social opportunities; the promotion of greater participation in development policies and processes; an increase in the efficiency, accountability and delivery of public

in place the conditions necessary to achieve these ends. Convinced by this potential of ICT to enhance national and regional development opportunities, and realising that telecommunication and IT sector reforms by themselves were insufficient to release this potential, a number of developing countries have embarked on formulating and implementing e-strategies or ICT for Development (ICT4D) strategies. Many have yet to do so, and are looking to understand what needs to be done and to get a clearer sense of the results that can be expected. In developing e-strategies, countries do not necessarily retrace all the steps of those who have gone before but adapt their strategies to new environments and opportunities. For both developed and developing countries, e-strategies are thus

National approaches to ICT

an evolving process rather than a fixed output that is defined once and for all. In analysing past national and regional estrategies, impact is seen to vary according to the approach followed. Strategies can be differentiated along some of the following: • Degree of integration of telecom in estrategies: few address the full range of ICT and converging technology choices and platforms. • Digital divide as opposed to digital opportunities for development focus: strategies are only slowly evolving from a
National capacity/ domestic market Focus e.g. Brazil, India (1960s-1980s) Export market focus e.g. Costa Rica, India (1990s) Global positioning focus e.g. Malaysia/ Ireland Development goals focus e.g. Estonia, South Africa (1990s) ICT as a sector ICT as an enabler

Source: p. Final Report of Digital Opportunity Initiative, a partnership of UNDP, Accenture & the Markle Foundation http://www.opt-int.org/

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e-strategy essentials / a blueprint for national and regional e-strategies
This blueprint highlights 10 key steps for conceiving, planning and implementing e-strategies.

Telecom-IT cohesion

Poverty reduction goal

Processes to enhance global inclusion Donor cooperation and resource mobilisation

Regional integration Implementation modalities

Prioritisation programmes

Holistic framework

Multi-stakeholder strategy

Vision and leadership Bottom up approaches

services; as well as through assisting with improving the content, access and delivery of education and healthcare. However, this awareness of the development potential of ICT is often not fully reflected in the formulation of national e-strategies, many of which either lay primary emphasis on ICT as a sector (IT services, call centres), assuming that this can emerge as a new growth and export sector, or focus on ICT as an enabler, but in a more piecemeal fashion. Also critical in making the case for a strategic deployment of ICT to support the achievement of millennium development goals is the potential to demonstrate impact. There are currently few studies or strategies that outline a strategic programmatic vision with regard to ICTs and development in terms of benchmarks, goals, etc.

Identification of strategic entry points It is important to begin by identifying areas where ICT can have a critical development impact. Most e-assessments do not have this development focus in mind. Development entry points for the strategy may be usefully derived from the priorities identified in the national poverty reduction strategy and other development policies and plans. To consider a few recent examples: in the case of Mozambique, the ICT policy implementation strategy draws its priorities from the PARPA or poverty reduction strategy. There are indications that the PARPA may in turn be iteratively revised to address deployment of ICT for development. Within the context of the IT Masterplan 2001-2005, the pre-eminent focus is more on ICT as a sector rather than ICT as an enabler. But in general, these are the

exceptions rather than the rule. In the context of the PRSP exercise, ICT is yet to be viewed as a strategic enabler for development and poverty reduction. There are examples of ICT but as of yet there are no systematic case studies or guidelines on ICT as an enabler in the PRSP sourcebook. ICT is viewed as infrastructure or considered in the context of private sector development. Moving forward, it could prove both useful and important to secure complementarity at the policy and implementation levels between the national ICT and poverty reduction strategies by inserting development in ICT strategies and ICT in poverty reduction strategies.
For more information, contact: UN ICT TF Working Group 2. E-mail: denis@undp.org s

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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES TASK FORCE WORKING GROUP 5 TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

A road to universal
broadband connectivity
connectivity known as DakNet. The name derives from the Hindi word ‘dak’ which means ‘post’ or ‘postal’. The DakNet wireless network takes advantage of existing communications and transportation infrastructure to distribute digital connectivity to outlying villages lacking digital communications infrastructure. DakNet combines physical means of transportation with wireless data transfer in order to extend the internet connectivity provided by a central uplink or hub (e.g. a cybercafe, VSAT or post office) to kiosks in surrounding villages. Instead of trying to relay data over a long distance (which can be expensive), DakNet transmits data over short point-to-point links between kiosks and portable storage devices called mobile access points (MAPs). Mounted on and powered by a bus, motorcycle or even bicycle, the MAP physically transports data 1. As the vehicle carrying the MAP comes within range of each village (up to 1km depending on lineof-sight, velocity and use of antennas) they automatically sense a wireless connection with a kiosk and deliver and collect data at relatively high bandwidth (300Kbs-11Mbs). 2. Whenever a MAP comes within range of another kiosk or a hub, data is automatically uploaded to, and downloaded from, the Intranet/Internet. 3. This cycle is repeated for every vehicle carrying a MAP unit, thereby creating a low-cost wireless network and seamless communications infrastructure. Even a single vehicle passing by a village once per day is sufficient to provide daily information services. Although the data transport provided by DakNet is not real-time, a significant amount of data can be moved at once, supporting a variety of applications. As a result, it is interesting to note that physically transporting data from village to village by this means generally provides a higher data throughput than other low bandwidth technologies, such as telephone modems. By employing short distance radio links, DakNet allows for small low cost, low power radio devices to be used. Perhaps more importantly, the use of short distance radio links also ensures high data rates and does not have the interference problems, security problems and maintenance costs associated with long distance wireless links.

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s an implementation of very low cost ICT infrastructure, we have developed a storeand-forward wireless network for rural

among public kiosks and private communications devices (as an intranet) and between kiosks and a hub (for non-real-time internet access). Through the use of low cost WiFi radio transceivers, the data carried by the MAP is automatically and wirelessly transferred at high bandwidth for each point-to-point connection. The operation of the network can be described as follows:


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DakNet transmits data over short point-to-point links between kiosks and portable storage devices called mobile access points


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DakNet can be used to support a wide variety of applications such as: • Internet/Intranet messaging: e-mail and video/audio messaging. • Information distribution/broadcasting: community bulletin boards, public health announcements, music and video broadcasts. • Information collection: collection of environmental sensor information, voting, census/polling, health records and land records. • Information searching, web services: searching and browsing, and e-commerce. • Rural supply chain management: tracking the movement of goods.
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Although the data transport provided by DakNet is not real-time, a significant amount of data can be moved at once, supporting a variety of applications

For more information, contact: Prof. Alex (Sandy) Pentland, Dr Richard Fletcher, Amir Alexander Hasson, MIT Media Laboratory E-mail: daknet@media.mit.edu


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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES TASK FORCE WORKING GROUP 6 TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Technology solutions advance entrepreneurship in developing countries

The projects are consistent in their overall goals: addressing the business and financial needs, and sustainable economic growth in developing countries

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orking Group 6 (WG6) was created with the understanding that ICTs can be leveraged to

funded initiative called Enablis. A new organisation that will be piloted in South Africa, Enablis will provide venture capitalstyle funding and support to medium-sized businesses that are either focused on ICT or are using ICT in innovative ways. Enablis will also serve as a focal point for expertise in the ICT/entrepreneurship area. It is believed that Enablis will have a transformational impact on the socioeconomic environment of the businesses it supports. This vision is to be achieved through loan financing, direct business and technical support to the SMEs, as well as policy advice to governments that encourages a more bottoms-up approach to business development. DevelopmentSpace Network WG6 has formed an alliance with the Center for Global Development, Many Futures Inc. and State of the World Forum to create the DevelopmentSpace Network (DSN). DSN is an innovative approach to the way the private sector and civil society can participate in development. Through a website (www.developmentspace.com) created by Many Futures, the alliance will create a virtual marketplace that matches pre-qualified community-based projects in developing countries to individual donors who wish to make direct contributions. By building a bridge between small donors and small entrepreneurs, DSN plans to link individuals at a person-to-person level for the transfer of financial and skills-based resources. It is the vision of the alliance that grantmaking and individual and corporate investment to the developing world will

achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Over the past year, the working group has assessed the development environment and has recently engaged in three specific projects aimed at helping enterprises and entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses. With the assistance of experts in the field and inputs from those who have worked in development, the chair of WG6 has crafted a strategy that will allow the working group to directly affect medium enterprises, small to medium-sized businesses and microentrepreneurs. In addition, WG6 is also drafting policy recommendations for governments wishing to create a more enabling environment for business development. To achieve this goal, WG6 has partnered with outside NGOs, most notably Bridges.org and Open Economies. Each of the projects being pursued under the WG6 umbrella is unique in its focus, scope and reach. Yet the projects are consistent in their overall goals: addressing the business and financial needs, and sustainable economic growth in developing countries. These goals parallel those of the Millennium Development Goals. Thus all the WG6 projects are focused on concretely applying the benefit of ICTs to entrepreneurs and enterprises in developing countries. Enablis In the category of medium-sized businesses, WG6 is continuing the efforts initiated by the DOT Force entrepreneurship task force through an already partially

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dramatically increase, resulting in direct partnerships between the private sector and civil society that will help reach and surpass the Millennium Development Goals. Microdevelopment finance team WG6 has focused on microentrepreneurs by seeking solutions that enable the dramatic scaling of microfinance. A team of dedicated and talented individuals who comprise a cross-section of organisations involved in microfinance has been convened by WG6. Over the past several months, this team has been considering the key obstacles that are preventing the microfinance industry from reaching scale and exploring potential solutions. The elements of the solution are likely to include: • Financial instruments that can attract sizeable new commercial investment. • Consistent management information for each aspect of microfinance. The implementation of such a solution will require a voluntary, decentralised organisation structure that supports continued local innovation, institutional autonomy and consensus building around critical issues. The concept behind this initiative was announced at the Microcredit+5 Summit held the week of 11 November 2003 in New York City. The team is continuing to reach out to parties who are interested in participating.
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systems and standardised operations and reporting systems. • Universal, low-cost, end-to-end, real-time information flows within the sector and between microfinance institutions and organisations outside the sector. • Innovative solutions (both high-tech and low-tech) for reducing the cost of transactions. • Flexibility in the design and delivery of financial services to meet diverse and changing local needs.

It is believed that Enablis will have a transformational impact on the socio-economic environment of the businesses it supports

The group is seeking a solution that will leverage the most appropriate technology

For more information, contact: www.unicttaskforce.org

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FROM THE WIRELESS INTERNET INSTITUTE TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

The Wireless Internet Opportunity for Developing Countries

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he promises of wireless Internet technologies have generated much interest on the part of the international-development community.

explored and documented to support wireless infrastructure investment needs. A multitude of field experiments are currently under way in the developing world, suggesting that wireless Internet can be sustainably and in some cases profitably deployed in support of economic and social development objectives. One common characteristic among these deployments is their unconventional, often grassroots origin. Entrepreneurs from the private, public, or not-for-profit sectors are independently developing original deployment models pointing to potential solutions. Most, however, must confront serious challenges that are non-technical in nature and associated with legacy regulations, administrative obstacles, and the opposition of incumbent telecommunications operators. Key issues need to be clarified and brought to the attention of governments, international development agencies, and nongovernmental organisations, whose goals are to bridge the digital divide. Documenting this worldwide phenomenon, sharing best practices and experiences, and promoting adequate policies can help to accelerate the resolution of the many obstacles that constrain the expansion of one of the most promising information-technology tools of this century.
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While in developed nations these technologies have primarily been associated with mobility applications and local area networking in homes and offices, their most intriguing application in developing nations is the deployment of low-cost broadband Internet infrastructure and last-mile connectivity. The rationale for such interest is simple in theory: The digital divide cannot be resolved any time soon because of the prohibitive cost of deploying conventional wired infrastructure in developing countries. Wireless Internet, however, has the potential to ease this bottleneck. And leading IT vendors do confirm that wireless Internet should be the most promising accelerator of technology adoption in developing nations. In support of these hopes, technology is readily available and more accessible every day thanks to standardization and fast-declining costs. So, why should this topic become central to the World Summit on Information Society initiative? Wireless Internet may be a very effective and inexpensive connectivity tool, but it does not carry any magic in itself. It can only be successfully deployed as demand for connectivity and bandwidth emerges in support of relevant applications for the populations served. These may be supporting egovernment, e-education, e-health, e-business or eagriculture applications. But those are not easily implemented in the developing world. Consequently, demand aggregation for wireless Internet connectivity around applications needs to be

Adapted from 'The Wireless Internet Opportunity for Developing Countries', co-published by the infoDev Program of the World Bank, the UN ICT Task Force, and the Wireless Internet Institute, a Division of World Times, Inc., to be released at the World Summit on Information Society in Geneva in December and available on W2i's website: www.w2i.org.

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FROM THE ASIA-PACIFIC DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION PROGRAMME TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

ICT Policy Development and Implementation seminar for Afghanistan

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he Asia Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) in collaboration with the UNDP Afghanistan Country Office successfully conducted a specialised seminar on ICT

2. Provide universal access to ICT information and knowledge. 3. Reinforce the role of government as a model user of ICT. Five principles are also put forward to guide the development and implementation of policy: 1. An interconnected and interoperable network of networks. 2. Collaborative public and private sector development. 3. Competition in facilities, products and services. 4. Privacy protection and network security. 5. Lifelong learning as a key element of ICT policy. Afghanistan already has two key building blocks in place for a national ICT policy: the National Telecommunications Policy issued in July 2002, and the Telecommunications Development Strategy issued in October 2002. These documents tackle critical aspects of building communications infrastructure. However, a number of complementary public policy issues related to content and capacity building must be addressed before further progress can be made towards the development of a national ICT policy. These public policy issues, ranging from competition to culture, and from access to learning, will be discussed and debated by representatives of all levels of Afghan society. Mr Stanekzai is considering the establishment of a National Information and Communications Technology Council (NICTC) consisting of a core group of UNDP/APDIP ICT policy seminar participants, to which representatives from various levels of Afghan society would be added. The NICTC would use the strategy report as a roadmap to ensure an appropriate and balanced approach to providing network access, information and knowledge access to all sectors of Afghanistan that respects Afghanistan’s history, socioeconomic and cultural realities, international context and encourages investment and innovation.
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Policy Development and Implementation from 14-18 October 2002 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The curriculum of the seminar was tailored to the specific needs of government officials from Afghanistan: to provide professional expertise and assistance in the development of organisational, national and international ICT policies for their country. “APDIP aims to promote the development and application of ICT for poverty alleviation and sustainable human development in the Asia Pacific region,” said Shahid Akhtar, the programme’s Regional Coordinator. “By providing assistance in formulating comprehensive ICT frameworks and enabling policies, we help countries to harness the potential of ICT to support national development in line with their social, economic and political objectives.” Headed by the Afghanistan Minister of Communications, H.E. Masoom Stanekzai, the Afghan delegation included representatives from the Ministries of Information, Foreign Affairs, Education, Justice, Higher Education, Women Affairs, Commerce and Finance, as well as from the Afghan Assistance Coordination Authority. “The need for ICT development in Afghanistan is huge and the development of policy is a critical ingredient for the success of the ICT programmes,” said Mr Stanekzai. With the assistance of a skilled facilitator and ICT policy specialist, the group identified challenges, issues and processes for developing and implementing a national ICT policy for Afghanistan. Citing a vision to build a high-quality, low-cost ICT network for Afghanistan, a strategy paper was produced that outlines pertinent public policy issues and recommends the development of a national ICT policy for Afghanistan in consultation with stakeholders. The paper puts forward three objectives to be pursued by the strategy: 1. Ensure affordable and equitable access to ICT networks and infrastructure.

For more information, visit: www.apdip.net

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From the Association for Progressive Communications to the World Summit on the Information Society

APC: internet and ICTs for social justice and development

Our Internet Rights programme works to build the capacity of civil society organisations to understand the issues and influence of policy and to ensure that ICTs and the Internet are tools for development and democracy

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he Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network of civil society organisations. APC is dedicated to empowering and supporting groups and

individuals working for peace, human rights and the development and protection of the environment, through the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), including the Internet. Technology: practice and policy APC’s members were often the first providers of the Internet in their countries. Today, we continue to pioneer practical and relevant uses of ICTs for civil society, especially in developing countries. APC is an international facilitator of civil society’s engagement with ICTs and related concerns (in both policy and practice), who strives for a just and inclusive information society. Our Internet Rights programme works to build the capacity of civil society organisations to understand the issues and influence of policy and to ensure that ICTs and the Internet are tools for development and democracy. The APC’s Internet Rights charter (http://rights.apc.org/charter.shtml) outlines our position on the right to communicate, freedom of expression, diversity of ownership and control, licensing, intellectual property, privacy, governance of the Internet and awareness of rights. We work to expand concern for ICT issues into the broadest range of civil society organisations: social movements, women’s groups, human rights organisations, trade unions, environmental activists and more. We aim to generate information, explain issues, build capacity and encourage lobbying – supporting the voice of civil society to build a just information society. Visit http://www.apc.org/english/rights/why_ir_and_civsoc.shtml to read why civil society should lobby and protect our right to use the Internet.

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Working regionally in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean The APC has active Internet Rights initiatives in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and works with networks of activists in Asia and Europe. To read more about our activities, please visit http://rights.apc.org. In 2001, APC brought together civil society representatives to Internet Rights workshops in Europe, Asia and LAC. In November 2002, we held a successful African Civil Society and ICT policy workshop in Addis Ababa hosted by the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Over 80 people attended from all over the continent. This workshop (http://africa.rights.apc.org/workshop.shtml) developed an African civil society statement on ICT policy, with specific actions and contact people in each region. Monthly newsletters are produced in LAC and Africa on ICT policy issues as complements to our regional ICT policy monitoring websites. Occasionally special issues on WSIS and related themes are produced. We are developing a one-week training course on ICT policy for civil society, which will be translated into French and Portuguese. Currently in draft form, this was demonstrated at the Addis conference. The Communication Rights in the Information Society campaign The APC is a member of the campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society (CRIS) (http://www.crisinfo.org), which brings together many civil society organisations and individuals committed to building an information society that benefits all. Communication rights are emerging as a key issue. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not fully recognise this, however, the World Summit on the Information Society could declare it a universal right. APC would like to thank IDRC, the Open Society Institute, the CTO and Hivos for their support of our Internet Rights work.
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We work to expand concern for ICT issues into the broadest range of civil society organisations


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For more information, contact: Dr Peter Benjamin, APC Communications and Information Policy Programme Manager. E-mail: peterb@apc.org

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FROM CISCO SYSTEMS INC. TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Bridging the digital divide
through the Cisco Networking Academy Program

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he Cisco Networking Academy Program is a comprehensive elearning programme that provides

students with the internet technology skills essential in a global economy. The Networking Academy Program delivers web-based content, online assessment, student performance tracking, hands-on labs, instructor training and support, and preparation for industry-standard certifications. Launched in 1997, there are now over 10,000 networking academies in 149 countries. Over 296,000 students are enrolled in academies in high schools, colleges and universities, technical schools, community-based organisations, and other educational programmes around the world. Cisco has partnered with various international organisations to help bring digital opportunities to disadvantaged and at-risk communities worldwide. Least developed countries initiative During the G-8 Summit in July 2000, leaders of eight major industrialised democracies called for new public and private sector efforts to bridge the global digital divide. In response, Cisco System’s President and CEO, John Chambers, and United Nations Development Program Administrator, Mark Malloch Brown, announced the Least Developed Countries Initiative. Their intention was to partner with the US Agency for International Development/Leland Initiative/EDDI and the United Nations Volunteers/UNITeS to extend the Cisco Networking Academy Program to 24 of the world’s 49 least developed countries (LDCs) by the end of 2001. “The Cisco Networking Academy Program enables the Internet to bring digital opportunity to every corner of the earth. By including these countries in our programme we will show that the Internet and education are truly the two great equalisers in life for countries, companies and individuals,” Chambers stated. The initial target was met six months ahead of schedule. The Academy Program has been established in 32 LDCs and six African non-LDCs. Eighty-six academies have been established at universities, technical schools, secondary schools and

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“The Cisco Networking Academy Program enables the Internet to bring digital opportunity to every corner of the earth”
non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Three-hundred instructors have been trained and more than 2440 students are currently enrolled. Furthermore, 20 UN/UNITeS volunteers have been deployed in the targeted LDCs to focus on outreach to groups with restricted access to ICT training and to promote female participation. Internet Training Centres Initiative for Developing Countries Leaders and experts worldwide increasingly recognise human-resource capacity development as one of the most crucial constraints facing developing countries in their attempts to bridge the digital divide. In both the developed and developing world there is an acute shortage

of skilled networking and IT professionals. Students in developing countries face particular difficulties in gaining access to training in the IT field. With the aim to close the gap in Internet and networking skills in developing countries, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched the Internet Training Centres Initiative for Developing Countries (ITCI-DC) in May 2001. Cisco is the pioneer corporate partner under this initiative. Cisco Networking Academy Program will be offered at the ITU’s training centres, which will provide training in networking skills. The goal is to establish a worldwide network of 50 Internet training centers by end of 2003. As of November 2002, 26 centres were participating in the initiative, with more than 800 students enrolled in the Academy Program. Jordan – achieving e-quality in the IT sector In Jordan, Cisco and Cisco Foundation have partnered with UNIFEM and the Government of Jordan to establish 10 gender-focused academies. The primary goal of the project is to create training opportunities with particular emphasis on women, ensuring that they play an active role in the Internet economy. Under this project, 10 institutions including community centres, NGOs, colleges and high schools were identified in the capital and secondary cities. Instructor training took place in August 2001 in Amman and since then, nine of the 10 academies have started classes. There are currently 520 students enrolled, of which 345 are females (66 percent). In addition to establishing the academies, this partnership also includes other activities such as research on the role of women in IT in Jordan, as well as developing marketing materials intended to improve recruitment and retention of women into the IT sector.
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For more information, visit: www.cisco.com/edu/academy (The Cisco Networking Academy Program) www.cisco.com/edu/ldc (The least developed countries initiative) http://cisco.netacad.net/public/digital_divide/ partners/ITU.html (The ITCI-DC)

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FROM THE FUNDACIÓN CISNEROS TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

AME and the Cl@se initiative
What is AME? Founding partners AME’s founding partners have made this programme a forceful reality through their generous contributions. These enlightened institutions are: DIRECTV Latin America Made available transponder space in its region-wide digital satellite platform (Galaxy VIII i). The Microsoft Corporation Donated the operating programs and Internet software to schools. Fundacion Cisneros Provides the project management and finances the training fees and the publishing of learning manuals for teachers. Inter-American Development Bank Covered the fees charged by UNESCO to assess the pilot project. Centro de Transferencia de Tecnología Trained, free of charge, participating teachers in the pilot project phase in the use of computers and the Internet. Why AME? As the DirecTV partnership (Hughes Electronics-Cisneros Group of Companies) prepared to enter the Latin American market, disparities between economic and social trends became painfully apparent. Most salient was the status quo of education in the region.
For more information, contact: AME Dennys Montoto dmontoto@ame.cisneros.com http://www.cisneros.com/company/ame.asp CL@SE Maria Ignacia Arcaya Marcaya@Claxson.com http://www.cisneros.com/company/clase.asp

• 45 percent of entrants into primary school do not graduate. • 40 percent of primary school graduates do not understand a 500-word essay. • 55 percent of high school graduates fail a basic algebra test. • 35 percent of primary school children repeat grades. • 45 percent of children in high school repeat grades. • 70 percent of primary school teachers do not receive their teaching materials. • 80 percent of primary school teachers are not empowered with new teaching skills throughout the duration of their careers. • Average teacher salary in the region is US$1.09 per hour. This situation posed a development challenge for the partnership, as the expansion plan was based on the constant recruitment of skilled human resources. The Fundación Cisneros was thus enlisted to develop a region-wide teacher-training programme that would contribute to redressing this situation – resorting to the DIRECTV digital satellite platform as the distribution medium.
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esigned to make a contribution to the quality of basic education in Latin America, AME (Actualización

de Maestros en Educación) is a partnership between an entertainment content providing satellite-based platform and the educational authorities of seven Latin American nations. AME is also an innovative distance-learning programme that provides training to schoolteachers across the region via digital satellite television. AME relaunches its services this year to serve 250 schools in seven Latin American countries: Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela. Teachers access an eightmonth distance-learning course that originated in Barcelona, Spain, at the headquarters of the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona via DIRECTV, and communicate with the University and fellow trainees through the Internet. Groups of teachers from different countries then work together to resolve practical tests and to prepare research projects designed to deepen the knowledge acquired through the distance-learning courses. The effort has been widely praised by teacher participants, and preparations are underway to become a full-scale resource for teachers throughout Latin America. UNESCO assessed AME at the end of its pilot project phase (September 1998-May 1999). Strong recommendations to continue the project were issued by this UN authority on educational matters.

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“Thank you so much for your devotion to a kid like me… Congratulations to all programmes, especially to the Math Crew that is leading me out of my fear of numbers.” John Jairo Marulanda Arroyave, aged 12, Pereira, Colombia What is the Cl@se initiative Cl@se was developed in 1996 as an educational channel for families in DIRECTV subscriber homes in Latin America. The first pan-regional educational channel, it was further developed in 1999 to provide educational content for children and teenagers. Cl@se offers dynamic content relevant to primary and secondary school students, thus serving as an educational tool for teachers that children and teenagers become easily engaged with. Its valuable, educational content provides a clear purpose for the integration of new technologies in the classroom and its integrated system takes full advantage of available technologies, offering: • Cl@se: the educational channel direct-to-home and direct-to-schools. • Teacher guides: distributed to schools to assist teachers in taking full advantage of the channel content as a complement to the curriculum. • Cl@se website: an interactive environment allows for open communication within the continent between students, teachers, parents and Cl@se. The Cl@se channel • Targets 6 to 17 year olds. • Includes hosts who make programming content relevant for a Latin American audience, frame programmes with questions to stimulate classroom discussion, and promote audience participation through contests, e-mails, on-line games, etc. • Features programmes from: BBC, Dorling Kindersley, TV Ontario, Pearson, Canal Once.

Programming includes: • Eyewitness – Dorling Kindersley. This series stimulates the imagination through the use of computerised images, documentaries, footage from films and animations. In Eyewitness, history and science are presented in an anecdotal manner with energy and a touch of humour. • Eddie Files – FASE Productions. Eddie solves interesting mathematics assignments and, through his video camera, shows us that numbers are a part of our day-to-day lives. • Beakman’s World – Columbia Pictures. Mr Beakman and his assistants use ingenious humour, special effects and fascinating scientific experiments to make learning an adventure. • Sacbe, The Maya Route – Canal Once. Documentary content and fiction are combined to yield a passionate adventure through the Maya World. • Connect with English – WGBH/CPB/Annenberg. Provides all of the pedagogical foundations required to use television to teach a second language. Throughout the video, key phrases are repeated, important events retold and idioms paraphrased. • The Arts – BBC. Artists and artisans show the techniques applied to their artwork, while they explain their perspective on the world and how it provides them with inspiration. Teacher guide Developed by Latin American educational experts to add didactic value and relevance to the channel’s programming, the teacher guides provide detailed information about the channel’s programming, suggested activities in accordance with the students’ grade level, programme summaries and more in depth information about related subjects, and articles regarding teaching trends.

Website The Cl@se website provides a meeting point for the Latin American educational community. Alongside programming information and teacher guides, the site also provides children with the opportunity to interact with the programmes’ content through games, and offers access to additional resources for parents, teachers and students. Distribution Argentina Cl@se is offered as part of the package of channels that is made available to 8000 rural schools through the Ministry of Communications’ Schools without Frontiers initiative. Costa Rica Cl@se reaches 150 schools that have access to DIRECTV programming through a governmentsponsored project. Mexico Cl@se signed a collaboration agreement with the Instituto Latinoamericano para la Comunicación Educativa (ILCE) for distribution of the channel and teacher guide to 30,000 schools throughout Mexico. Pan-regional Cl@se provides educational content to more than 6000 teachers and 150,000 students in schools that have participated in the Fundación Cisneros’ AME project in seven countries (Venezuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia). “At our school we follow Cl@se’s programming with much enthusiasm, which we wish could be seen in all Mexican homes. We await the fourth teacher guide and wish you much more success.” Prof. Martin Alcocer, teacher, Mexico City, Mexico

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FROM WSIS-GENDER CAUCUS TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Promoting ICT for development alongside gender equality issues

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here is a wide consensus that ICT can play an important role in reducing poverty, improving education and healthcare,

These inequalities in access to, and control of, ICT between men and women limit the potential of an information society to make the most valuable contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals MDGs. Without women’s participation in decision-making in all spheres of life and at all levels of society, poverty will not be eradicated nor will fully democratic societies be created. Limited access to ICT for women also has the effect of reducing countries’ competitiveness in the global market. Promoting ICT for development can assist with achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The first goal of the MDGs is to: “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.” The UN General Assembly recognised that the achievement of this goal depends in part on: “Good governance at the international level,” and also resolved to: “Ensure that the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies… are available to all.” (UN Millennium Declaration paras. 13 and 20.5 [A/res/55/2]). Gender implications The challenge of gender inequality can be overcome with urgent and concerted actions at the national, regional and international levels to put ICT firmly in the service of development for all. However, this will not happen if ICT decision makers continue to treat gender issues as being non-existent or unimportant. In recent months, specifically since the first WSIS PrepCom in July 2002, there has been consolidation of evidence on the status of women in the Information Society and development of analysis of strategies for improving this position. WSIS should provide a platform for sharing this information and debating on the best course of action to reduce inequalities and increase opportunities.

enhancing political participation and empowerment, and promoting sustainable development in developing countries as well as countries with economies in transition. The ICT sector is the central core of the emerging global knowledge-based economy in which access and control of ICT facilities and applications are prerequisites for effective integration into the global economy. The role of ICT as a tool for development has recently attracted the sustained attention of the United Nations. In 2000, the Economic and Social Council adopted a Ministerial Communiqué on the role of information technology in the context of a knowledge-based economy. Later that year, the Millennium Declaration underscored the urgency of ensuring that the benefits of new technologies, especially ICT, be available to all. The World Summit on the Information Society, with ITU as lead organising entity, which takes place in 2003 (Geneva) and 2005 (Tunisia), provides a unique opportunity to advance the ICT for development agenda. These positive opportunities are undermined by the prospect that ICT will remain accessible only to the elite and will not contribute to the achievement of fundamental human development. The majority of the world’s population still lives in poverty and remains untouched by the benefits of ICT. There are critical disparities between and within countries and among groups within countries and regions. One of the most overlooked and ignored disparities is the one that exists between men and women. Unequal power relations in our societies contribute to differential access, participation and treatment for men and women in the Information Society.

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• Inadequate provision of relevant content and

applications, particularly in local languages and adapted to needs of non-literate women. • Gender discrimination in labour markets and in the provision of education and training opportunities and allocation of financial resources for entrepreneurship and business development, which also offer negative consequences. • Under-representation of women in all aspects of decision-making in operations, policy and regulation in the ICT. The convening of a World Summit on the Information Society by the United Nations system provides a unique opportunity to focus global attention on these issues. In making preparations for the Summit, the organisers are urged to take the opportunity to ensure that WSIS provides an opportunity for women and men to enjoy the myriad of potentials for social and economic empowerment offered by ICT, and to participate effectively in all aspects of the ICT field. WSIS can assist in building an information society that contributes to promoting gender equality as well as furthering progress in the eradication of poverty, promotion of peace and security and the enjoyment of human rights. All stakeholders must take urgent action to ensure that gender equality and women’s rights are integrated into the WSIS and its follow-up programmes. Unless these actions are taken, there is a grave risk that the Summit will not succeed in its aim of creating a vision of the information society that contributes to human development.
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The majority of the world’s population still lives in poverty and remains untouched by the benefits of ICT

Evidence shows that it is important for decision makers on a national and global level to recognise that, in order to formulate an appropriate plan of

action to proactively target the themes proposed by WSIS, there must be a clear understanding of the issues that impede some sectors of the population to maximise their potential. In doing so, it will be possible to formulate measures to effectively provide access to ICT for all, to understand the value of ICT as a tool for economic and social development and to assure confidence and security in the use of ICT (www.itu.int/osg/spu/wsis-themes/). Therefore, some of the issues that must be seriously taken into account are: • A lack of participation by the majority of the people, particularly women, in the developing countries, because of structural and cultural impediments, which significantly reduce the developmental benefits of ICT. • The uneven and unaffordable access to ICT facilities and services by women, especially, but not exclusively, in developing countries.

For more information, visit: www.wougnet.org/WSIS/wsisgc.html

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FROM THE FEDERAL FOREIGN OFFICE, GOVERNMENT OF GERMANY TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Making ICT work for Development

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n the framework of bilateral development cooperation, Germany supports a number of projects aimed at the application and use of ICT.

Mali. In this way, it makes a contribution to bridging the digital divide. Extension of the digital patent information system in the People’s Republic of China With the first Patent Law of 1985 the People’s Republic of China has created the legal conditions for granting commercial patent rights to applicants from China and abroad. Because of rapid economic development, the Chinese Patent Office (CPO) reached the limits of its technical capacities. The increasing duration of patent procedures (on average four years) was an obstacle to the modernisation of the People’s Republic of China and to economic growth. The project supports the capacities of the CPO and access to patent information by affiliated patent information centres of the most important industrial cities in China. The CPO was equipped with new data-technical equipment. There was also extensive training of CPO employees. The German Patent Office has been involved in the whole process from the beginning. The exchange of information between the two patent offices is to be continued by means of a sponsorship agreement. Development of the electronic payments system in Uganda Uganda has implemented substantial reforms in the financial sector since 1993, with the support of the international donor community. A lack of trust in the system has preventend an interbank market from coming into existence. Clearing of checks by the Ugandan Central Bank can take several months. The deficiencies of the system burden the rural population, because financial transactions often require travelling to the capital. The project aims at improving the efficiency of the Ugandan payments system by creating an electronic clearing house. Both

These, above all, are projects that improve the access of the rural population to ICT services, contribute to the modernisation of the economy and strengthen civil society organisations. Some examples of these initiatives include: Communal multimedia centres in Mali Mali has a very dynamic and wide-ranging media environment. Its 110 private radio stations represent the largest transmitter density in the whole of subSahara Africa. These private radios are of a commercial, communal, religious or cooperative type. Radio is the most important means of communication and information in rural areas. Communal radio not only conveys important information, but it also gives a ‘voice’ to the rural population. In the course of the decentralisation process, communal radio stations have become particularly important because they contribute to creating a local identity. The project, currently in the pre-feasibility stage, aims to create multimedia centres in small towns and rural communities in Mali. These centres are to be attached to existing private radio stations, thus creating an added value of communication services for the population. The one-way communication of radio transmitters is to be extended by means of a modern communication infrastructure (telephone, fax, computer, Internet access). The aim is to give an additional means of income to private communal radio stations while, at the same time, facilitate a more active participation of the population in the political decision processes on the communal and national level. The project promotes the connectivity of remote areas and supports the process of decentralisation in

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companies and private bank customers will profit from reduced transaction costs. In the near future, cross-boundary digitalised payments will also be possible. The project comprises the equipment of this new electronic clearing house with the necessary computer hardware and software, as well as installation, maintenance and training. The commercial banks have been involved in the preparation of the project and the elaboration of standards and regulations. Support of the project of the NGO Kabissa ‘It’s time to get online: simple steps to success on the Internet’ Many NGOs in developing countries are not able to take advantage of the Internet, because they do not realise the benefits or because they do not have the necessary knowledge to use it. The project aims at removing these two barriers. Training material will be developed and capacitybuilding workshops will be organised in order to convey the necessary knowledge for an efficient use of the Internet. The project is aimed at NGOs in West Africa that commit themselves to human rights, freedom of information and democratisation. At first, Germany will support the pilot phase of the project. It is planned to finance the propagation in West Africa together with other donors. Overall, 1000 NGOs are to be reached with the project and more than 3000 sets of training material are to be distributed. Support of the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica in setting up and propagating study programmes in the field of crisis prevention, conflict management and peace education. Beginning in autumn 2003, the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica will – with German support –

offer study programmes for a Master’s Degree in international peace education. These programmes can be made available on a worldwide scale through links with partner universities (above all in developing countries) and the use of new information and communication technologies (distance learning). ICT in development cooperation In 2002, Germany presented a study concerning the state of ICTs in five countries (Peru, Laos, Vietnam, Tanzania and Uganda). This study, which was carried out against the background of the G8 countries’ commitment to promote the application of ICTs in developing countries, analyses the potential for possible cooperation in this field.
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Many NGOs in developing countries are not able to take advantage of the Internet, because they do not realise the benefits or because they do not have the necessary knowledge to use it

For more information, contact: Gerd Benke, Federal Foreign Office, Germany 406-RL@auswaertiges-amt.de


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FROM SIEMENS INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION NETWORKS (ICN) TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Creating a global network of innovation
By Thomas Ganswindt, President, Siemens ICN Recent statistics indicate that IC technology is advancing meaningful connections between a broader range of people and cultures. Human interaction has become easier, more consistent and more refined than ever before, as IC technology also becomes more accessible and more mobile. People are now, more than ever, able to advance their personal goals, and in turn contribute to a new, democratic society of information. Individual power is increasing because of individual access to global resources, and as this access increases, so does the value of intellectual capital regardless of local economics. Conquer the digital divide Information is becoming a very important economic resource, especially for nations that have little or no access to traditional commodities. India is a perfect example. The intellectual capital boom fostered by advancements in IC technology has enabled India to make strides that would have been considerably more difficult in a traditional economy. In established industrial nations, ‘the power of the individual’ is indicated by improved mobility and flexibility. IC technology offers combinations of personal, business and carrier technologies as well as wired and wireless access, tools and applications over an ubiquitous network. Though strides are being made everyday in

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he hallmarks of post-millennial information and communications (IC) technology are subtle but revolutionary. Individuals across the

providing access to the global information society for all, there still exists a disparity between many citizens. It is the task of all global enterprises and organisations to bridge this divide. We can accomplish this by recognising and supporting local strengths. A socalled global network of innovation is only as strong as each region’s contribution. We will only truly bridge the digital divide by enabling local individuals to

world are taking control of their individual lifestyles, business models, and socio-economic relationships. These developments are being driven by a global alliance of individuals converging on a foundation of IC networks.

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communicate according to their own specific needs and under their own control. And by reinforcing the value of the intellectual capital that each region contributes, we enrich the global economy. The power of information and communications is crystallised in this unique dialectic: local talent flourishes by means of global interaction and global business subsequently recognises and responds more accurately to local supply and demand. Meaningful connections Before globalization was a buzzword, Siemens was a forerunner in helping to connect some of the most diverse regions of the world. Indeed global innovation has been the priority throughout our entire business history. We have long recognised that developing nations are as rich in intellectual resources as wealthy nations are in currency. Enabling these nations to access their own intellectual capital is ultimately the aim of the IC infrastructures that we provide. By the same token connecting these nations to the global network of innovation, enables them to derive the prosperity that they deserve. This means creating local infrastructures commensurate to local resources that are also on par with a global standard. Our office in Kabul, Afghanistan, for example functions to coordinate all local activities enabling us to offer local IC solutions to meet the war-torn nation’s many distinctive challenges with locally grown knowledge. Similarly, our support of the UNICEF initiative ‘Back to School’ in Afghanistan is an investment in the future of the global information society – another bridge across the digital divide. The

“It is only by empowering individuals to succeed by themselves that we contribute to a true global network of innovation, cooperation and prosperity”
campaign enables more than three million children to attend school. In Cabo Verde, previously an isolated island chain off Africa’s Atlantic coast, Siemens joined forces with Cabo Verde Telecom, the local carrier. Together we recently completed a fibre-optic network linking all the tiny islands in the archipelago, thus improving their connection to the global network. In Vietnam, over 60% of the country’s communities are linked by ‘communal Cultural points’. These provide information and communications free of charge to even the most rural areas of the country, allowing people to use postal and telecommunications services or simply read books and newspapers online from around the world. These are only a few examples of how IC technology can fulfil the pledges we are making. In the end an information and communications infrastructure is about the people it supports; and it is only by empowering individuals to succeed by themselves that we contribute to a true global network of innovation, cooperation and prosperity.
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Author information In his current role as Group President of Siemens ICN, Thomas Ganswindt is responsible for transforming ICN into a long-term earnings leader at Siemens once again. Previously, Ganswindt served as Executive Vice President and Member of the Group Executive Management of the Siemens Transportation Systems Group. He began his career with Siemens in 1989, when he joined the Numerical Controllers Division within the Automation Group. In 2000, Ganswindt was selected to be one of the Global Leaders for Tomorrow (GLT), a subgroup of the World Economic Forum in Geneva, and has since become a GLT alumnus. Thomas Ganswindt became a member of the Siemens AG Managing Board on December 1st, 2002.

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FROM TELSTRA TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Telecommunications for development
By David Thorn, Regional Director, Telstra Europe

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he digital divide exists between continents, between countries, within countries and between communities. Whether it is Alice

distance as London to St Petersburg and further than Harare to Nairobi, or Sao Paolo to Buenos Aires. During the operation the Brisbane urologist, a world leader in kidney transplantation, became a ‘virtual assistant’ to Christchurch urologists as they performed laparoscopic (keyhole) removal of a live donor kidney. The Brisbane urologist received images from four strategically placed remote cameras in the operating theatre, and also appeared live on a large plasma screen easily viewed by his colleagues in Christchurch. Using a joystick, the Brisbane urologist was able to manipulate the cameras to advise and assist the Christchurch surgeons with a technique they were relatively inexperienced in. The technology provided him with the opportunity to virtually interact with his colleagues in real-time. Historically, to provide such advice and assistance, surgeons have been required to travel to their colleagues for each case, which can be expensive and time consuming. There is every reason to believe that this technology could be applied in other countries. But, of course, to be able to take advantage of some of these innovations, and thereby reduce the digital divide, clearly the infrastructure needs to be in place. Broadband is a ‘hot’ topic worldwide and in some cases it is a controversial topic. Australia is almost the same size as the contiguous states in the USA. We are now seeing healthy broadband growth, through a variety of technologies. Whether cable, DSL or satellite; broadband could have a significant impact on communities that previously

Springs, Atlanta, Amsterdam or Addis Ababa, variations in access to ICT risks creating ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. At the same time, ICT can be a great leveller and can connect the ‘have-nots’ to the developed world in ways considered unimaginable decades before. One only has to look at locations such as Bangalore in India to realise what can be achieved to encourage development. What were once communities at the margins of the developing world now punch way above their weight on the global stage. But the role that telecommunications can play on the digital divide goes way beyond the economic. Our health, skills and environment can all benefit. A good example of this is a world first in telemedicine that Telstra enabled in May this year. Using its advanced digital videoconferencing technology, Telstra enabled urologists in Brisbane (Australia) and Christchurch (New Zealand) to work together during a complex surgical procedure. The gap between these two cities crosses some of the world’s most ferocious ocean stretches and is about the same

June Derschow (left) took part in a joint Telstra-Pilbara Development Commission initiative that provides free, onthe-spot training and support in the use of the internet to people within this vast region of Western Australia.

had difficulty accessing services. Telstra’s broadband satellite services are available nationally – so that the most remote rural and indigenous communities can have access to them. In addition, through a Telstra subsidiary REACH, Telstra

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has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Shin Satellite Company of Thailand (SSC), which has three satellites offering low-cost high capacity broadband to Asia, Europe and Africa. In addition, through our operational centres in London, Hong Kong and New York, Telstra is providing digital connectivity into many developing countries around the world to support the delivery of digital services and applications that will help development in those countries. But reducing the digital divide is as much about the people as the technology. Partnerships are vital if the divide is to be bridged. Examples of this people approach include Telstra’s initiatives with aboriginal communities. These include an indigenous dedicated

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number for remote Australian communities, to enable them to talk to someone in their maternal language and with a similar cultural background when making inquiries about their telephone service. Other indigenous initiatives include: • Telstra installing approximately 450 of the latest technology pay phones for remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. The cabinets are cyclone-rated and offer greater protection from the environment. Often the local Aboriginal community chooses to decorate the payphone cabinet to demonstrate its importance as a community facility; and
Broadband Forecast 2001 – 2007 (Australia)

• Several traineeships and cadetships to indigenous Australians in rural and regional areas. Cadetships are provided with a 13-week work placement while they study, with an opportunity to apply for a permanent position with Telstra at the conclusion of the cadetship program. Beyond Australia, Telstra has also worked with local communicates. In 1999, under the auspices of the United Nations, Telstra was appointed to restore public telecommunications in East Timor. During this period, Telstra worked with the local communities (employing around 50) to restore and expand services. We would like to believe that, partly as a result of our work, services are better in East Timor than they were prior to independence. The digital divide is a contemporary issue, but there are many ways that the ICT industry can look to bridge it. The examples above are but a few. Working in partnership with communities I am sure that many more can be achieved.

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FROM NETSCOUT SYSTEMS TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Capacity, complexity and cost: Lessons learned about infrastructure costs and consumption
An interview with Anil K. Singhal, President and CEO of NetScout Systems

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eveloping nations will encounter complex cost and demand challenges as they begin to bridge the digital divide. In the United States and Western Europe, we have learned that the

about cost. The application market provided a flood of new tools for accelerating business productivity as well as acquiring significant new revenue streams via the internet. Businesses made an urgent rush to acquire and deploy them. With dramatic physical and service expansion occurring simultaneously to networks, enterprises began to experience serious disruptions in the availability and performance of their now-critical business applications. Having little experience to draw from, IT organizations assumed that network bandwidth and device capacity were the chief cause of these problems. They tried increasing network size and capacity but that approach proved expensive and produced inconsistent results. We know now that capacity-based performance statistics do not address the more complex causes behind performance degradation. As data networks become more physically complex and applicationladen, issues such as network architecture, application design, device design and end-user behaviour all become significant factors affecting infrastructure costs and performance. As it turns out, overprovisioning used as a performance mechanism only causes huge amounts of wasted resources. With regard to complexity, we have learned that information infrastructures cannot be managed in the same manner that they evolve. Technologies are constantly introduced into data networks, with each one competing for resources and management attention. Managing networked resources ‘one technology at a time’ becomes not only chaotic as network nodes, applications and end users mount into the thousands, but financially disastrous. Decisions need to be made with an understanding of their impact on the entire system. It is urgent that the keepers of these new information networks understand that the most difficult aspect of bridging the digital divide will come after connectivity is established, when the expectations to show value from new infrastructure investments will be high. The demands for faster, newer services against an everchanging technology environment are expensive. By understanding what traps to avoid and by getting ready with preventative strategies aimed at cost-avoidance, their chances of succeeding will be stronger.

success of investments in information infrastructure cannot be measured in terms of capacity or access. It is ultimately measured by the availability, performance and total costs of delivering information services. Q. What important lessons have been learned about harnessing the power of the internet in technologicallyadvanced countries? Singhal. As the entire world witnessed, the concept of gaining access to the vast amounts of information and opportunity afforded by the internet was so compelling that it set off an unprecedented phase of technology spending. What we learned during this dot.com era of hyper-spending was that information technology (IT) initiatives can easily fail or become cost-prohibitive to even highlyresourced organisations. The only way to avoid these mishaps is to engage in highlyaccountable, tightly-planned infrastructure growth. Most advanced networking strategies used by enterprises in these countries now include specific goals to which all IT investments must be directed. Without a plan that aligns IT spending to business, economic or social goals, it becomes impossible to prioritize the technology and service demands that occur after establishing connectivity. In addition, we have learned that having both tools and practices that enable cost-avoidance are a critical long-term success component. Eliminating legacy-based, wasteful approaches such as over-provisioning and infrastructure complexity are two forms of cost avoidance. Q. What are over-provisioning and infrastructure complexity? Singhal. Over-provisioning was a concept born out of the hyperspending era when not much was known about the influence of applications, devices and end users on network and application performance. For example, in the mid-1990s, US enterprises began aggressively expanding their private networks with few inhibitions

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Q. What is cost-avoidance? Singhal. Cost-avoidance is a practice that most organizations adopt after seeing how easily IT costs can spiral out of control. Technology investments can be either misappropriated or misused, presenting a huge drain on available funds. As I said earlier, eliminating overprovisioning by moving under-utilised network resources to bear where extra capacity is needed before allocating new funds is one form of cost avoidance. Keeping control over how resources actually get consumed, by what services and by what users, is another. In particular, understanding whether or not the network is being used to transport legitimate or appropriate materials is a particularly important capability to establish. We have seen many cases where lack of policies governing usage, as well as end-user ignorance of the impact of their network-based actions, have had severe effects on the responsiveness of critical applications and services. Tools that provide continual and detailed application-level visibility throughout the network, and a comprehensive plan that sets priorities for what services will be invested in over others, are critical to achieving cost-avoidance. Q. When is the right time to engage in planned growth? Singhal. Planned growth assures that all resource costs are 1) mapped to strategic business priorities and 2) contained as much as possible. It is not a concept aimed at limiting the breadth of technology investments rather, it supports the concept of increasing potential reach by eliminating waste. With that in mind, planned growth is a design requirement in as much as it is a post-deployment strategy. The financial constraints of underdeveloped regions make planned growth a serious priority. For every dollar wasted, the opportunity to join the global information society is delayed for a city, town, or village in need. Q. What has your organization experienced in supporting planned growth initiatives? Singhal. NetScout has worked with all types of organisations around the world in helping them to harness the resources they have acquired for information technology. It is amazing to see how often that millions of dollars are spent on capacity, business and ecommerce applications without any visibility into how those investments are consumed. At an industry level, NetScout has led in the development of standards that deepen and improve control over information resources. In particular, we have led development of distributed applications monitoring systems that provide views into networks that reveal how applications perform in a shared infrastructure. We have addressed complexity and cost containment in response to one of the most critical issues we see facing IT organisations today – lack of qualified individuals to run these networks, and not enough money to acquire staffing. Our most advanced initiative to-date, called our CDM™ (common data model) initiative, addresses multiQ. Do you have any final advice for organizations to achieve planned growth? Singhal. Retain control over information technology investments by creating accountability at all levels of the IT organisation, the infrastructure, with all vendors and all telecommunications providers. As the numbers of users, vendors, service providers and technologies increase, it will become more important to enforce quality and performance promises. Even small organisations that NetScout has worked with have prevented bandwidth costs in the range of a million dollars a year by having the right practices and tools to identify poorly performing technologies, network misuse, architectural deficiencies and so forth. Working in their favour, the advanced tools and lessons learned are there; ready to assure success with every initiative.
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vendor technology environments with a performance management architecture that provides cross-vendor integration of management information. Our nGenius® Performance Management System incorporates CDM capabilities throughout its entire architecture. Q. Does NetScout anticipate providing its management technology in developing regions? Singhal. We expect that we will first work with government, academic and telecommunications organisations that drive the implementation of new data networks in under-privileged areas of the world. Financial institutions will also play a leading role in this technology adoption. In North America and Western Europe, we facilitated much of the planned growth, performance and cost containment initiatives that evolved in these types of organisations and we remain closely engaged with them, today.

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From Hewlett-Packard to the World Summit on the Information Society

e-Inclusion: Dikhotole Digital Village, South Africa – rising out of a cycle of poverty

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ikhatole, a community just outside of Johannesburg, suffers from chronic unemployment coupled with primitive living conditions – no running water, electricity or basic housing.

and experience, and encouraging entrepreneurship, particularly among women,” explains Henry Ferreira, Managing Director of HP South Africa. Residents will be taught skills such as computer literacy, CV writing, communications and presentation, and entrepreneurship. More than 1,000 unemployed youth will be trained in employability skills and self-employment, while 540 women will be trained in basic Internet use for networking and support, as well as in starting and running a small business. Addressing community needs

The unemployment rate is more than 30 percent and many of

the community’s 8,000 people still cling to the bottom rungs of the South African economy: most families are led by single mothers who lack the skills needed to get a job. Often, young people leave their unstable home environments to live on the street, and are vulnerable to a life of violence, crime and infectious disease. There is a perpetual cycle of poverty that leaves little hope for the future. A reason for hope A business consortium led by Hewlett-Packard South Africa has launched a project to provide the Dikhatole community with basic computer, Internet and business skills to improve their chances of getting work. The training will be provided through the Dikhatole Digital Village, the largest facility of its kind in the country, with more than 90 Internet-enabled workstations. To stem the tide of chronic unemployment in this South African township, this Digital Village strives to help unemployed youth and women develop sought-after computer and business skills, giving them access to the Internet to open job opportunities. The project is spearheaded by the non-profit Organisation for Rehabilitation and Training (ORT) South Africa and sponsored by HP, Macsteel and Microsoft. HP is donating much of the equipment, while Microsoft is donating the software. Macsteel, a South African industrial-steel producer is providing the training room and related offices. Opening new opportunities The programme’s goal is to improve the standard of living among Dikhatole residents by increasing their earning potential and connecting them to the world. “The project targets unemployment and low income in the area by helping youngsters gain qualifications

The second major thrust of the project is to build up computer resources and skills in the region’s schools. HP and ORT aim to train at least 70 teachers in essential computer skills and will help train more than 2,400 children in basic computer use. In addition, the two companies will upgrade and install computers and Internet facilities at the schools. The third aspect of the project involves training local government employees in basic computer and Internet skills, and installing computers in the workplace to allow them to communicate effectively and share information more readily. The project is expected to last for three years; by then it is expected that the community will be trained enough and experienced enough to become self-sufficient. HP and ORT have worked closely with governmental and private-sector bodies, and members of the community, to ensure the project will sustain itself once ORT and HP have withdrawn. Dikhatole, which literally means ‘lost’, may have represented the feelings of many youths and women in the community up until now. But hopefully this project will be one small step toward selfsufficiency and helping people find their way.
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For more information, visit: http://www.hp.com/e-inclusion/en/project/dikhotole1.html

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FROM THE CULTURAL CENTRE OF THE INTERAMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

DIGITALYART, an exhibition on technology in art

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he Cultural Center of the Inter American Development Bank, in cooperation with the Information and Communication Technology

ROMA II, currently in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Both the monumental scale and the bold statement he makes with the use of marble and video combined, not to mention the sensible use of water imagery, speaks of the balance between the past and present, the reference to history for man to remain alert to recurrent errors, and the awareness of everything else humans share life with. The position of Plessi in the international scene is that of an artist concerned with developing a contemporary language inspired by the newest and most advanced resources available. At the same time, however, he uses that language which is inscribed in the context of man and the existential realm. Architect Celestino Soddu has dedicated his entire career to investigating the possibilities of generative design. He creates software that endows the machine with the capacity to produce multiple alternatives to a given program, producing designs that depart from cultural and physical DNA. Adriano Abbado’s work illustrates an artist interested in expressing himself with new tools. To achieve these goals in a contemporary world, sensibility has to be guided into new dimensions where both aesthetics and intellectual thought coexist with technology; the resultant imagery cannot be rejected under the traditional arguments or modes of perception. For the IDB it has been very rewarding to coalesce such an interesting and different group of efforts and realisations departing from a common premise. This is the first time that the work of these three artists has been exhibited in Washington, DC
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for Development Division, of the Sustainable Development Department and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, of Washington, DC, has organised DIGITALYART, an exhibition honouring Italy and the City of Milan, host of the 44th Annual Meeting of IDB Governors in March of 2003. It has become the Center’s tradition to honour the member country hosting the Annual Meeting with an art exhibition. This allows the IDB to bring to global attention some of the most significant cultural expressions from the LAC region. Most importantly, it helps establish a tangible relationship between culture and development, a notion that is obvious for some, but debatable for others; the debate illustrates how imperfectly the definition of development is sometimes conceived. Technology summarises the dynamic of the world in the 21st century. The ‘revolution’ that started at the end of the past century has brought many unresolved issues into the beginning of the new one. Technology has always been entangled in the socio-cultural evolution of civilisation, but has never before played such an important role affecting almost every second of our lives. Although technology is assumed to be, in itself, an expression of advancement, its goals are unavoidably linked to the improvement of life and elevation of human kind. Technology, however, has not always brought man to better understanding, refined his nature, or made him wiser. If not these, what other purposes should technology have? The artists selected for this exhibition represent a variety of current proposals within the ample framework of artists working with interactive digital technology in Italy. Maestro Fabrizio Plessi is one of the most admired and recognised contemporary Italian artists. For this presentation, the Center was able to secure his piece

For more information, contact: Enrica Murmura, Information and Communication Technology for Development, Division SDS/ICT enricam@iadb.org www.iadb.org/ict4dev Felix Angel, Cultural Centre- Inter american Development Bank felixa@iadb.org www.iadb.org/exr/cultural/center.html

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FROM THE INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

The ICT-4-BUS Program:
An initiative of the Inter-American Development Bank to support ICT applications for small businesses

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he Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Multilateral Investment Fund, a unit of the IDB Group, have

Innovation by tech-firms has been reduced and marketing efforts have been concentrated on providing IT services to large corporations, a market that is already controlled by large consulting and/or IT firms. Investments in new ICT technologies tailored to the need of hereto marginalized medium- and small-sized business users have become much more risky. This represents a potential setback for the access of these users to ICT technologies either for increased efficiency and competitiveness or for market penetration. The ICT-4-BUS program ICT-4-BUS aims to improve the As ICT has become a key element for improving the productivity and efficiency of private firms it also plays a crucial role in strengthening the competitiveness of the national economies. However, access to and use of these technologies remains uneven. This disparity, the so-called ‘digital divide’, is a reflection of deeper social and economic inequalities. In particular, the lack of financial, human and technical resources prevent small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from swiftly adopting new technology to compete in national and international markets. On the supply side, during the years from 1999 to 2000 an incipient industry for ICT has emerged in Latin America and the Caribbean, confirming the potential for a small but vibrant information sector that could count on a reservoir of technology and business talents. The subsequent downturn in the sector’s fortunes lead in 2001 to a swift reduction of resources in the development of ICT applications. competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency of the SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean through the implementation of innovative ICT and e-business solutions. It will make available ICT solutions that were once limited to larger companies and international corporations to SMEs that strive for market penetration and business efficiency. In so doing, this initiative will lend a truly global dimension to the multitude of efforts to bridge the global digital divide, foster digital opportunity and thus firmly put ICT at the service of development for all. In this context, ICT-4-BUS provides non-reimbursable matching funds for the development and implementation of pilot projects, which will test innovative ICT services and solutions for SMEs, primarily in the areas of value chain integration, workplace productivity and efficiency, and market penetration. Overall cost of the projects to be funded is estimated at USD 8 million, out of which USD 4.5 million is

launched the second ‘call for proposals’ for the ICT Innovation Program for e-business and SME Development (in short ICT-4-BUS Program), a USD 5 million fund which supports innovative ICT applications in Latin America and the Caribbean aimed at strengthening the competitive position of SMEs. The second call for proposals is currently under way and has yielded 118 proposals from 18 countries in the region. Between five and seven projects will be selected through the competitive process. Background In the past few decades, knowledgedriven innovation has become a decisive factor in the competitiveness of both nations and firms. This trend is particularly pronounced in developed countries, where, by 1999, knowledge-based industries represented more than 50 percent of GDP. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are the backbone of knowledge-based economies. ICT solutions and services improve efficiency in the value chain, for instance, by providing better and faster communication between trading partners, integrating transactions with logistics functions, reducing intermediation costs, facilitating the search for new markets, and allowing better pricing policies. ICT also serves as an important tool for other corporate functions such as strategic planning, business operations, customer services and decision-making process through the provision of rapid and strategic information.

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provided by the ICT-4-BUS Program. Over 1000 SMEs will participate in the pilot projects. It is expected that a large number of SMEs will benefit from the new services and solutions through the dissemination and replication of the ‘best practices’ and ‘lessons learned’ from the pilot projects. Between 12 and 15 pilot projects will be selected through a thorough evaluation process coordinated by the IDB. The projects that will be selected for funding may receive between USD 75,000 and USD 500,000 in matching grants form the fund. Potential ICT solutions and services that could be used by the projects include: • E-commerce and e-business applications. • E-productivity applications for individuals and organizations. • Infrastructure and access enhancing systems. • Knowledge management and distribution systems. • Mobile (including satellite-based) applications and services for businesses. The projects are presented by non-profit institutions in the region that are involved in promoting SME development and/or have proven experience in the development of ICT solutions or services. Examples of these institutions are trade associations, universities, foundations, NGOs, chambers of commerce, business development centers and research centers. 2002-2003 awarded projects The first Call for Proposals attracted a strong interest in the region: 101 project proposals from 18 countries were submitted to the Bank in October 2002. Of these 6 projects were selected for MIF funding. Most of the projects presented to the program addressed the need to strengthen SME competitiveness, both in local and international markets. As one of the proponents put it, developing ICT services and applications that bear fruits in terms of business efficiency and ability to compete is, at this stage, an indispensable route for small businesses, albeit not one exempt from perils.

The six proposals that were approved in the first call for proposals were the following: • Integrated System for the Quality and eCommerce Management for the Veracruz Coffee, submitted by Laboratorio Nacional de Informática Avanzada (Mexico). • New Technologies for Export Development by Argentine SMEs of High Quality Meat, submitted by Asociación Cultural para el Desarrollo Integral (Argentina). • Web Services for SMEs: Technology Innovation to Improve Business Management, submitted by Cámara de Comercio de Santiago (Chile). • ICT Application to Strengthen the Business Model of SMEs in the Pharmacy Sector, submitted by FUNDES – Venezuela. • E-Commerce in SME ‘Clusters’, submitted by Fundación Andrés Tosello (Brazil). • Implementation and Development of a Logistics and Procurement System, submitted by FUNDECOMERCIO (Colombia). The selected projects cover an ample spectrum of sectors, technologies and business needs: projects in the area of agriculture and commerce made a strong case to introduce ICT either to enhance quality and export or to improve efficiency in the value chain. Many projects will at least partially rely on programs written in Open Source code, a sign that they are viewed as an economically viable alternative to proprietary software. Other initiatives make use of systems like GIS (Geographical Information Systems), radio-frequency transponders and Web Services. Applications will help deliver following crucial services: quality management; online procurement; customer relationship management, business-to-business and business-toconsumer e-commerce, call centers and digital certificates. The Program is managed by the Information Technology for Development Division (SDS/ICT), the IDB technical

division that provides support to the Bank and Latin American and Caribbean countries in ICT related areas. The Division’s specific responsibilities include providing technical and financial backstopping for projects to be funded by the Bank, and offering strategic and technical advice to governments on how to make better use of available information technology.

The IDB is actively participating in the activities carried out by the UN ICT Task Force and has also joined the Working Group on Business Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in order to share and exchange lessons learned and best practices in the development of ICT policies and programs for developing countries.
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For more information, contact: Antonio Ca’ Zorzi, Program Manager Information, Technology for Development Division, Inter-American Development Bank. E-mail: antonioca@iadb.org

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FROM THE INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

The ALDEA Program: Digital strategies for the Latin American and Caribbean governments
different pilot projects (e-government solutions, e-commerce, and access to information and communication technologies [ICTs]) to be realised in each country. The Program’s focus is to create the National Committees for the Information Society (CNSI), connecting a political effort, mainly represented by each country presidency, with representatives of telecommunications, academic world, entrepreneurs and all citizens. This particular partnership has to analyse each single case, and the pilot projects will be identified depending on the priorities of each country. The single strategy can be constructed from top to bottom, starting from the idea that there are no set rules or models in this context. The Program With the assistance of the IADB’s Information and Communication Technology for Development Division (SDS/ICT) and the Refurbishing Divisions of the State of the Operative Regional Departments, we have gathered a technical team dedicated to assist the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, in their formulation of strategies, and development of solutions based on

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nter-American Development Bank offers, through this program, a solution to the Latin America and Caribbean countries, in order to allow them to properly face the Digital Era challenges.

the application of ICTs for development. Our mission consists of identifying and starting up solutions that can suit the realities of development in each country. These are the leading principles:

Introduction The Digital Strategies program for Latin America and the Caribbean – the ALDEA Program – has recently been launched in several countries. The ALDEA Program was first developed in Uruguay, and, at the moment, different operations are carried out also in the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Argentina and Paraguay. The ALDEA Program offers technical assistance and/or loan operations for digital strategies development through the different financial segments managed by the Bank. In particular, the Program is oriented to work with Flexible Loan Institutions for Innovating Operations (almost 10 million fast approvals!). The Program started from a central concept: to partner digital strategies’ development with institutional strength in order to support the implementation of • In the digital era, there are no set rules to development: strategies are specific to each country. • Development is local, but must show deep commitment to a global view. • This is not an exclusive task for governments. All different economic and social agents (companies, governments, universities, civil organisations, financial agents) should participate. • It is necessary to generate new management skills. • All digital strategies must be converted into state policy. • Strict coordination of public policies must be considered. • A cultural environment where knowledge is the new goal of development must be created.

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What does the ALDEA Program do? The ALDEA Program offers technical and financial assistance in order to answer the question: how can we create the right national conditions for development in the digital era? We offer: • Development of a new public institutional ability for knowledge, exchange and management. • The transfer of technical, management and learning skills in the knowledge economy domain. • The integration of country’s technical teams with Latin American professionals and experts of local reality, in order to identify and formulate the pilot projects that will be able to offer a positive factor for change. • An appropriate frame for the definition and management of coordinated policies between several economic and social agents. How does the ALDEA Program work? Governments of the countries benefited by the IADB can request assistance from the ALDEA Program. The request must be directed to the IADB’s representative in the country, and copied to the Information and Communication Technology for Development Division (SDS/ICT), and to the State’s Refurbishing Division of the Regional Department, and referred to and signed by the Governor and the Bank. Once the request is received, it will be appointed to a technical team in the Bank that will follow it throughout the project. Each technical team will assist in identifying the ‘type of operation’. Objectives The general aim of the program is to contribute in creating the institutional conditions able to foster knowledge development in each country, starting from a single national strategy, and to favour the implementation of pilot initiatives for the starting up of the chosen strategy. In each country, the ALDEA Program creates: • A political level able to identify and coordinate a digital policy with different economic and social agents. A technical skill in management (management level) for the public administration of different projects in the following areas: • Connectivity projects (Telecentres). • Online Government projects. • E-commerce projects. • Education and ICT projects.

Our mission consists of identifying and starting up solutions that can adapt to the realities of development in each country

Identification and start up of pilot projects in the following areas: • Connectivity projects (Telecentres). • Online Government projects. • E-commerce projects. • Education and ICT projects. Activities What kind of activities does the ALDEA Program promote? • The design of a digital policy, linked to specific action plans, and built-on in a coordinated way. • Modernisation of the direction and decision-making systems for public administration. • Strengthening or development, according to the case, of the institutional ability responsible for promoting digital strategies. • Development of the necessary human resources. • Improvement in the quality of services. • Design and start up of mechanisms able to promote community participation. What results are expected from the ALDEA Program? Right solutions for knowledge development. Results • Strengthening of the public management ability for a digital strategy. • Strengthening of the policies’ definition ability for a digital

strategy, co-ordinating the public and private sectors, citizens and academic representatives. • A pilot project to improve and increase citizens’ access to ICTs. • A pilot project for the creation of e-government abilities. • A pilot project for the creation of legal and institutional conditions to support the development of e-commerce. • A pilot project for the introduction of ICTs in public education systems.
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For more information, contact: Pablo Valenti, Information and Communication Technology for Development, Division SDS/ICT. pablova@iadb.org www.iadb.org/ict4dev

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FROM THE INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Italian Trust Fund
for Information and Communication Technology for Development

member countries in the Latin American and Caribbean Region, the ICT for Development Division (SDS/ICT) of the Sustainable Development Department (SDS) promotes effective interinstitutional collaboration efforts to leverage the reach and impact of such emerging technologies in the region. In particular, the Bank’s inter-institutional cooperation and cofinancing strategy in ICT seeks avenues of cooperation with international organisations, civil society institutions and private sector enterprises to leverage the technical and financial resources available to promote the use and implementation of ICT in the region. Within this context, a number of cooperation agreements have been reached with, among others, the Information Society Technologies Programme (IST) of the European Commission for the establishment of a ‘Pilot Programme for the Diffusion of Information Technologies in Social Programmes’, and the Government of Italy, which has provided an effective support to the Bank in various activities in the area of ICT for development including ‘E-Strategies’, ‘E-Commerce’ and ‘ICT Financial Leverage’. Of particular importance is the establishment of the ‘Italian Trust Fund for Information and Communication Technology for Development’ for US$3 million. Such an initiative will finance a series of pre-investment studies, project preparation activities, pilot programmes, and small and medium-sized demonstrative ICT projects in priority e-government activities in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Additional bilateral donors will be invited to join the initiative under individual trust fund agreements in 2003 and, thereby, be allowed to cover additional areas in the field of ICT for development (e.g. for social development, sustainable development, business development, and national strategies for the information society).
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mong its mandate and activities, of promoting the introduction, use and application of ICT in the social and economic development process of the Bank’s borrowing

For more information, contact: Andres Garret andresg@iadb.org www.iadb.org/ict4dev

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FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF ITALY TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

The vital role of e-government and e-governance

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he rapid pace of technological development has created increasingly more powerful communication and information technologies that are capable of radically transforming public

The United Nations ICT Task Force has also stated that egovernance is a priority area of action and has instituted an ICT Policy and Governance Working Group and another group with national and regional e-strategies comprising an e-governance component. The Italian government believes that e-government is a strategic instrument that will enable both the developed and the developing countries to make a quantum leap forward in terms of enhancing the efficiency of government services.

institutions and private organisations alike. These technologies have proven to be extraordinarily useful instruments in enabling governments to enhance the quality, speed of delivery and reliability of services to the citizens and to business. International experience and major international programmes that identify ways of ensuring the digital revolution will benefit the population of the whole world, have demonstrated that egovernment and e-governance can make an invaluable contribution to helping to create digital opportunities for all. In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, thanks to the new computerised real estate registry system, the public can now perform operations locally in a matter of hours, which formerly involved several days of travelling to attend the registry offices. Increased efficiency has also helped to reduce corruption and sharply raise the tax revenues associated with conveyancing. In the Brazilian state of Bahia, the introduction of computerised service kiosks to access government services in shopping malls, post offices and railway stations provide easy access to such services as the issuing of passports, registration on unemployment lists and submitting of police reports. In the Philippines, the computerisation of the customs system has cut transaction costs, streamlined procedures and substantially boosted tax revenues. Both the G8 Digital Opportunity Task Force and UN ICT TF have identified the vital role that e-government can play in spreading wider access to information technologies. In the action plan presented at Genoa in 2001, the DOT Force recalled the importance of e-government in so many fields: “For internal efficiency and effectiveness within government, as well as of e-governance for institutional capacity building, transparency, accountability and its ability to enhance democratic governance.” In addition to adopting the DOT Force Action Plan, the G8 leaders in Genoa, acting on a proposal by Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, in the final declaration, encouraged: “The development of an action plan on how e-government can strengthen democracy and the rule of law by empowering citizens and making the provision of essential government services more efficient.”

Italy has, therefore, put forward her candidacy to promote an innovative form of technological cooperation based on the design and implementation of operational projects with measurable results for the developing countries. Italy’s initiative, EGovernment for Development, is intended to make an effective and original contribution to disseminating information about egovernment and its programming and implementation in countries which have not, or have only partially, exploited the full potential of this important tool for narrowing the economic and social divide.
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For more information, contact: Minister for Innovation and Technologies – Italy http://www.palermoconference2002.org/en/egov1.htm

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FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT AND ITS PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS IN THE DIGITAL FREEDOM INITIATIVE TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Digital Freedom Initiative: Fostering ICT-led economic growth

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enior U.S. and Senegalese government and business officials launched the Digital Freedom Initiative (DFI) at a White House event on March 4, 2003. The goal of DFI is to

promote economic growth by bringing the benefits of information and communication technologies to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the developing world. The approach is bold and innovative, leveraging the leadership of the United States and partner governments, and the energy and vision of entrepreneurs in the developing world. The DFI will be piloted in Senegal and, if successful, could be rolled out to over one dozen countries over the next five years. Elements of the program There are three key elements of the program. These include: • Placing volunteers in small businesses to share business and technology knowledge. U.S. and Senegalese private sector and NGO volunteers will assist small business and entrepreneurs in growing their business through the application of technology and the transfer of business expertise. • Promoting a pro-competitive regulatory and policy environment to enhance business competitiveness. The U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Commerce, the Federal Communications Commission, and other public and private sector organizations will assist DFI countries in developing a pro-growth policy and regulatory framework. • Leveraging existing technology and communications infrastructure in new ways to help entrepreneurs and small businesses better compete in both regional and global markets. Rather than creating new infrastructure, the DFI will build on existing infrastructure investments to meet program objectives. The Senegal pilot The DFI Pilot will be launched in Senegal in July 2003. The Government of Senegal already has identified several critical opportunities to advance the overarching DFI objective of ICT-led economic growth. These identified priorities include placing over 100 volunteers to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in growing their businesses through ICT. The DFI will leverage nearly 200 cybercafes and 10,000 telecenters to generate information and services that

The DFI reflects President Bush’s determination to encourage innovative foreign assistance policies that encourage wealth creation, economic and political freedom, the rule of law and human rights.
U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY, DONALD EVANS

provide business opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The DFI also will provide policy and regulatory assistance to the Senegalese telecommunications regulator as it plans for the introduction of competition into the fixed-line telecommunications market in 2004. The DFI also will work with a variety of Senegalese stakeholders to help them identify and shape policies that will promote the development of electronic commerce in Senegal. Building partnerships and measuring results The DFI is designed to be high impact but low cost and is relying on the skills, creativity and expertise of U.S. and Senegalese partners in the private sector and in civil society to achieve its objectives. The budget for the Senegal pilot is estimated at $6.5 million over the next three years. Many of those resources will be in-kind contributions of human capital, services and products from private sectors partners. At regular intervals, DFI projects will be evaluated based on performance benchmarks that measure small business growth, market efficiency gains, business integration with international partners and markets, and job growth.
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Further information on the program can be obtained at the DFI homepage: www.dfi.gov

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FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Digital Opportunities

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n July 2001, G8 leaders endorsed the Genoa Plan of Action, a product of the work of the Digital Opportunity Task

New tools and partnerships for development At the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, world leaders set a series of targets for the reduction of poverty, known as the Millennium Development Goals. They pledged to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; to achieve universal primary education; to promote gender equality and empower women; to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health; to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; to ensure environmental sustainability; and to develop a global partnership for development. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) provide a powerful tool to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Thus, the ‘mainstreaming’ of information technology within project planning and design, and even more importantly, within development strategies, is critically important, both nationally and internationally. The value and legacy of the DOT Force is clear – it has focussed global attention on sustainable, ICT-enabled development, and has encouraged the international development community to mainstream ICTs in their bilateral and multilateral assistance programs. Over the past two years, DOT Force partners have worked with great passion and dedication to broaden the understanding that ICTs are a fundamental tool for reducing poverty and for spurring sustainable development. As stressed in its first report to G8 leaders: “access to knowledge and information is a prerequisite for modern human development.” This

central premise underlies the continuing work of the DOT Force and the commitment of its members to expanding the contribution of ICTs to all forms and levels of development. Examples of the enabling power of these technologies are now emerging. Community radio stations in Africa are providing vital information on weather disaster warnings, health and nutrition, and HIV/AIDS prevention. The quality of life of many poor women in Bangladesh has improved through the innovative use of cellular phones. In Bolivia, Internet centres have been set up to provide farmers with timely information on crops, transformation, production, as well as policies and regulations. The formula for success The success of the DOT Force has relied on the close cooperation among representatives from G8 governments, developing nations, international organizations, and the non-profit and private sectors. Each participated fully and equally in its work. The multi-stakeholder approach of the DOT Force now serves as the model for other global ‘ICT for development’ initiatives that follow in its footsteps. DOT Force achievements and future agenda Under the auspices of the G8, the DOT Force has emerged as the primary instrument for harnessing the potential of information technology for global development. Through its leadership and sense of strategic purpose, it has successfully mobilized the international

Force. The DOT Force, which was formed following the 2000 G8 Summit in Okinawa, represented both a unique model of international cooperation and a new way of responding to the challenges of development. It brought together committed leaders from government, industry and civil society, drawn from G8 member countries and from the developing world, to conceive a forward-looking action plan designed to expand the use of digital technology and to universalize its benefits. Its report, ‘Digital Opportunities for All: Meeting the Challenge’, contained a vision of global development based on the power of information technology to promote sustainable growth, advance social justice and strengthen democratic governance. Participation in the DOT Force reached well beyond its original membership to include almost 100 stakeholder organizations spanning more than 30 countries. Through the work of its implementation teams, the DOT Force generated more than 20 major bilateral and multilateral initiatives, operating across a broad range of areas crucial to balanced development – access, governance, entrepreneurship, health and education. In designing and implementing these initiatives, DOT Force members also gave special attention to the needs of lesser developed countries, and particularly to Africa, responding directly to the requirements articulated in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

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community behind a common goal of broadening the participation of countries and peoples in the information age. As a catalyst for action, its products and partners have demonstrated conclusively the crucial role of ICTs in addressing basic development needs – in promoting good governance and democratic values, improving health care, education, and government services, and supporting industry and small business. The continuing challenge is to sustain the energy and creativity of the DOT Force and ensure the full implementation of its future agenda. The first and most essential task is to maintain the sense of political leadership and accountability that has characterized the mandate and work of the DOT Force to date. The mobilization of political leaders, industry captains and civil society requires a suitably high-level forum to provide strategic direction to, and promote, the cause of ICTs for development. Secondly, given the numerous initiatives under way at the global level, a focal point is required to provide policy coherence and coordination in the design and implementation of ICT-based development initiatives. This focal point should also act as a strong catalyst in the formation of partnerships between countries and organizations of all types, based on an ‘all-inclusive’ approach that involves governments, private sector, civil society and international organizations. As a process conducted under the G8, the DOT Force has formally sunset with its 2002 report card entitled ‘Digital Opportunities for All: Leadership for Change’. Its agenda, however, has now become the business of a number of other bodies that could carry on the leadership role of the DOT Force within the international community. The United Nations ICT Task Force, established by the Secretary-General in November 2001,

The continuing challenge is to sustain the energy and creativity of the DOT Force and ensure the full implementation of its future agenda

shares the DOT Force vision and approach, and provides a focal point for establishing strategic direction, policy coherence, and advocacy in relation to the global, ICTbased development agenda. Through its regional networks, the UN ICT Task Force provides an effective means for broader outreach and effective involvement of developing countries in future implementation work. In the private sector, organizations such as the World Economic Forum, the Global Business Dialogue on Electronic Commerce, and the International Chamber of Commerce have also accepted the challenge of widening digital opportunities within the developing world. Above all, the DOT Force has created a series of initiatives through its implementation teams aimed at forming the key building blocks of the information society for developing nations in areas such as strengthening readiness for edevelopment; increasing access and connectivity; supporting skills development; as well as fostering local content and promoting ICTs for healthcare. They include: The Global ePolicy Resource Network – ePol-NET (formerly the International eDevelopment Resource Network – IeDRN), is designed to marshal global efforts in support of national e-strategies for

development. The Network will establish a focal point for bringing together providers of e-strategy information and expertise with the individuals, organizations and governments that can make effective use of these resources. E-Government for Development is a comprehensive initiative to contribute toward the implementation of e-government in countries that have not – or have only partially – exploited the use of ICTs to transform public administrations into efficient, transparent and enabling instruments for social and economic development. The project has begun its work in five initial countries: Albania, Jordan, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tunisia. The Global Digital Opportunity Initiative (GDOI) is committed to increasing the impact of ICTs in the development and implementation of national strategies that are most likely to generate growth and capacity. In addition to supporting the achievement of each country’s development targets, the GDOI will seek to create demonstration models and analytical tools for the benefit of all developing countries. The project Enablis (formerly the DOT Force Entrepreneurial Network) will focus on supporting enterprises that are helping to drive economic development in their

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local community and maximizing the business use and societal impact of ICT, thereby encouraging the wider take-up of digital opportunities. Connectivity Africa will focus on connectivity projects in Africa and adaptation of expertise and models to the needs of African countries, particularly in education, health and economic development. Connectivity Africa consists of four components which are: innovation in the use of ICTs, African regional ICT futures, research and development in African ICTs, partnership and convergence. The Open Knowledge Network (OKN) Will make local information widely available through local, regional and international access points by creating a new network formed from existing knowledge centres in developing countries. The aim is to promote both the creation of local content and the realization of its value by facilitating its exchange as widely as possible across the South. ADEN Will create a network of Internet community access points in Africa. It will focus on the training and capacity building of managers and practitioners, North-South and South-South experience sharing, and the development of services responding to local community needs.

The CAR Project Will implement Edu-Telecentres across districts in Malawi, to be mirrored in Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. Along with programs on HIV/AIDS, the CAR Project will provide programs to address women’s empowerment, teacher training, distance learning and skills development. CATIA (Catalyzing Access to ICTs in Africa) Will increase affordable access to ICTs across the continent (both Internet and radio); increase Africa’s influence in international decision-making; and promote the exchange of local African content. The Telecentre Infomediary/Help Desk Run by ‘digital pioneers’ in Africa and other developing countries, it will provide practical help and advice to technology professionals and managers of communitybased telecommunications facilities. The Help Desk will link existing expertise in the South with locally-driven innovation and provide a platform for telecentre practitioners to influence the use of ICTs for development. The Health InterNetwork Will strengthen public health services by providing public health workers, researchers and policy makers, access to high quality, relevant and timely information through an Internet portal. Building on success

replicable; they involve partners from developing countries in all phases, from design to delivery; they rely on publicprivate partnerships; and they involve minimal overhead, allowing for speedy implementation. Their autonomy and operational flexibility are key values to nurture in the deployment of projects while they also seek high-level support from global organizations. As part of their ongoing work, DOT Force partners seek other additional partners and are putting in place an informal network to coordinate their work, facilitate the exchange of information and combine forces on ‘ICT for development’ advocacy. They also invite G8 governments individually to continue their involvement in the implementation of the Genoa Plan of Action, including support for specific initiatives. The World Summit on the Information Society will provide a good opportunity to take stock of progress achieved toward fulfilling the Genoa Plan of Action’s vision of an inclusive global information society.
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Twinning Promotion and Facilitation Through ICT Uses ICTs to improve the communication of best practices with respect to AIDS programming and to facilitate partnerships between AIDS service organizations in Africa.

These initiatives are important agents to carry forward the work of the DOT Force and to complete the implementation of the Genoa Plan of Action. These initiatives illustrate the key elements in the DOT Force formula – they include innovative models of development that are scalable and

These initiatives are important agents to carry forward the work of the DOT Force


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Canadian leadership in bridging the digital divide
Created at the G8 Okinawa Summit in July 2000, the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force) brought together stakeholders from government, private sector and civil society organizations, as well as representatives from developing countries, to identify ways of bridging the technological gap between developed and developing nations. A major achievement of the DOT Force, which formally concluded its work with a final report presented to G8 leaders at the 2002 Summit in Kananaskis, is a new global vision on the importance of mainstreaming ICTs in development assistance National e-strategies and policy frameworks One first step in creating digital opportunities for all is the formation of clear national e-strategies to manage the development of appropriate ICT regulatory, legislative and policy frameworks. African leaders have recognized the immense potential offered by ICTs, making them a priority area in their new vision called the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). In the DOT Force Plan of Action endorsed by G8 Leaders at the Genoa Summit (2001), a commitment was made to establish a Global e-Policy Resource Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization (CTO), the ITU and the OECD, as well as private sector (e.g. Accenture) and civil society organizations (e.g. Markle Foundation.) Over time, new partners will be actively recruited to ePol-NET, which will be officially launched in December 2003 at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva. Canada’s own contribution to ePol-NET is the creation of a Canadian e-Policy Resource Centre (CePRC) for Africa. The CePRC will serve as a focal point for providing Canadian expertise in support of national policy-makers in Africa across a wide range of ICT policies and strategies. Expertise will be provided in such areas as e-commerce legal and policy frameworks, telecommunications policy and regulation, Internet governance, e-government strategies, e-health, distance learning and community access. The government of Canada is also providing financial assistance to the ECA toward the establishment of an African regional ePol-NET node to funnel demand from individuals (policy experts, program managers, legislation drafters) and institutions seeking expertise. Connectivity and the use and development of local content programs. This vision is being translated into specific initiatives within the international community. For example, the United Nations ICT Task Force, established by the Secretary-General in November 2001, provides a focal point for establishing strategic direction, policy coherence, and advocacy in advancing the global, ICT-based development agenda. The work of the DOT Force also carries on through a series of initiatives aimed at forming the key building blocks of the information society for developing nations. Canada continues to play a leadership role in the DOT Force agenda by supporting three specific initiatives to help African countries to: develop national e-strategies and policy frameworks; improve connectivity as well as access to local content and applications; and foster ICT-related enterprise and entrepreneurship. These initiatives are described below. Network – ePol-NET (formerly known as the International e-Development Resource Network – IeDRN), to provide developing countries with a consolidated source of regulatory, policy and estrategy expertise. Championed by the government of Canada, ePol-NET, is being established in partnership with governments worldwide, international organizations, the private sector, and the not-forprofit community. The planning of ePol-NET involved the full membership of the DOT Force and, through collaboration with the UN ICT Task Force, has involved a broader constituency from several developing countries and non-G8 countries. The government of Ireland will host an ePol-NET Secretariat and website that will serve as a central hub for global knowledge and expertise on estrategies. Other key partners include the governments of Italy and Japan, the UNDP, the UN Information and communication technologies can be effective tools to empower people so they can grasp economic opportunities, benefit from social programs and participate in the democratic process. However, most people in Africa are denied those opportunities; for instance, only one in every 100 people even has access to a telephone. In support of the work of the DOT Force, the government of Canada is providing funding to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) for Connectivity Africa, a new initiative that was launched at the Networking Africa’s Future Conference held in South Africa in April 2003. Connectivity Africa will build on Canada’s experience in connectivity projects in Africa and adapt Canadian expertise to the needs of African countries, especially in education, health, economic and community development through increased connectivity and local content. Connectivity Africa will

“Now Mozambique wants to be known in the near and distant future for its commitment to the mastery and utilization of information and communications technologies for sustainable national development. Toward that end, my country has recently developed its national ICT policy, because we clearly see that ICTs have become an indispensable lever for a country’s development.”
HIS EXCELLENCY DR PASCOAL MOCUMBI, PRIME MINISTER OF MOZAMBIQUE

“Ten years ago – before ‘digital divide’ had become a commonplace expression, when the Internet was still a remote frontier to most people – the prospect of applying the most advanced ICTs to development could be dismissed by many as a fantasy. What we know now is that ICT for development is not a fantasy but an imperative.”
MAUREEN O’NEIL, PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH CENTRE (CANADA)
operate as a network developed from the ground up – based on local demand from African partners – to support research, development and innovative uses of ICTs. Connectivity Africa staff will engage African institutions to develop and fund projects under the following four program areas: • Innovation in the Use of ICTs will focus on emerging information and communication technologies that may have application in the African context, in particular, innovations for lowcost, robust ICT access in rural and urban areas; • African Regional ICT Futures will consist of projects designed to help connect national strategies with regional infrastructure priorities and seek to support the development of intra-regional connectivity throughout the African continent; • R&D in African ICTs will focus on projects that build capacity in African institutions for innovation and research in the area of ICTs. In particular, it will support the development of an African observatory on the diffusion and use of ICTs in Africa; • Partnership and Convergence will promote electronic networking and information sharing among existing and new programs, practitioners, researchers and participants involved with ICTs for development in Africa. It will also develop coordination mechanisms with all donors involved with African ICT for development The generation of local content and applications allows developing countries to adapt information technologies to their own social and economic situations. Linked to Connectivity Africa is another DOT Force initiative, the Open Knowledge Network (OKN), which is being developed under the chairmanship of OneWorld International, with initial support from the UK government and the government Enterprise and entrepreneurship Enablis (formerly the DOT Force Entrepreneurial Network) consists of a coalition of public, private and civil society organizations co-led by Telesystem Ltd. (Canada), Accenture (UK) and Hewlett-Packard (US) aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs in developing countries to leverage the power of ICTs for social and economic development. Enablis will encourage governments and Entrepreneur Support Organisations (ESOs), to take up the advantages of ICT-related entrepreneurship in pursuing sustainable social and economic development. It will also serve as a point of reference and expertise in the ICT/entrepreneurship area. Enablis will focus primarily on entrepreneurial users of ICT with a high potential transformational of Canada. The OKN will make local information widely available through local, regional and international access points by creating a new network formed from existing knowledge centres in developing countries. The aim is to promote both the creation of local content and the realization of its value by facilitating its exchange as widely as possible across the South. Canada’s contribution to the OKN project will be applied to the development of local content and applications in African countries.

impact in African and other developing countries. Examples include those that promote better functioning of a local market, better access to local and global markets, set an example of how best to use ICTs to improve their internal efficiency and effectiveness, reduce costs of ownership of ICTs or the development of fulfilment infrastructure for ICTenabled businesses. Enablis will aim to support projects through a combination of funding assistance and in-kind support through business support products and services. Its range of services will include: • Advice to governments and policy makers on effective policies for ICTs, small businesses, trade, etc; • Loan financing for start-ups and SMEs; • Guidance, mentoring, and networking to facilitate strategic partnerships with global corporations and other SMEs; and, • A variety of hardware and software products donated by large corporations. Enablis was officially launched at the World Economic Forum in January 2003 and will begin operating in Africa through funding by the government of Canada. Conclusion These initiatives are part of Canada’s overall commitment to support Africa’s development and respond to priorities formulated in the NEPAD. Canada strongly believes that ICTs enable social and economic development and that the international community needs to streamline ICTs in the development assistance process. This belief has guided our actions in the G8 DOT Force, the UN ICT Task Force and in other international fora. The World Summit on the Information Society now offers us collectively an ideal platform to promote the ‘ICT for Development’ agenda.

“The creation of Enablis represents a call to action to all those who can contribute towards creating digital opportunities. This is our chance to achieve a collective impact far beyond our individual capabilities.”
CHARLES SIROIS, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, ENABLIS/CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF TELESYSTEM LTD. (CANADA)

FROM THE INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY.

Challenges and partnerships

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he International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations’ specialised agency within which

Development Sector (ITU-D). The mission of the latter is to achieve its objectives, based on the right to communicate of all the inhabitants of the world, through access to infrastructure and information and communications services. The major programmes of ITU-D are the six strands of the Istanbul Action Plan (see side bar), which charts a course for developing countries to transform the digital divide into digital opportunities. In addition, there are a number of other ITU activities that are directly relevant to the work of the UN ICT Task Force. These include: • The ITU New Initiatives Programme, launched in 1999, which provides highquality research and strategic workshops on issues of high current policy and regulatory relevance for ITU members. Recent topics covered include competition policy, creating trust in critical network infrastructures, Internet diffusion, multilingual domain names, 3G licensing, broadband, etc. • A programme of information-sharing, notably through the publication of the World Telecommunication Development Report, Trends in Telecom Reform, and other publications and databases. • A proposal, taken up by Working Group 5 of the UN ICT Task Force, on enhancing IP connectivity in the least developed countries using low-cost VSATs (very small aperture terminals), which provide access to remote and rural areas by satellite.
For more information, visit: www.itu.int

The Istanbul Action Plan Bridging the digital divide means providing access to telecommunications and ICT and promoting their use so that all segments of society can harness the opportunities of the information society. Digital opportunities not only serve as an engine for economic growth, they enable social, educational and medical progress. These goals hinge upon the rollout of ICT networks and services. The Istanbul Action Plan is a comprehensive package that will enable developing countries to promote the equitable and sustainable deployment of affordable ICT networks and services. The core of the plan is a series of six programmes: • Regulatory reform • Technologies and telecommunication network development • E-strategies and e-services/applications • Economics and finance • Human capacity building • Special programme for the least developed countries The unique structure of ITU, as a public/private partnership, provides valuable experience in bringing together the different stakeholders to work together towards common goals. ITU is not just talking about creating the information society, it is doing it.
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governments and the private sector work together to coordinate the operation of telecommunication networks and services and to advance the development of communications technology. Founded in 1865, ITU is based on a unique public/private partnership, with 189 member states and over 660 sector members. Every time someone, somewhere, picks up a telephone and dials a number, answers a call on a mobile phone, sends a fax or receives an e-mail, takes a plane or a ship, listens to the radio, watches a favourite television programme or helps a small child to master the latest radio-controlled toy, they are benefiting from the work of ITU. The role of ITU is thus central to the creation of the information society and the goals of the UN ICT Task Force, of which ITU was a founder member. One of the major current undertakings is the organisation of a World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), to be held in two phases, in Geneva (December 2003) and in Tunis (2005). In line with UN General Assembly Resolution 56/183, ITU has assumed the leading managerial role in the executive secretariat of the Summit and its preparatory process. The work of the Union is implemented through three Sectors: The Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), Telecommunication Standardisation Sector (ITU-T) and Telecommunication

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The rationale for shared access Since 1998, the International Telecommunication Union has been developing multipurpose community telecentre (MCT) projects to bring telephone, fax, Internet, e-mail and, in some cases, distance learning and telemedicine to remote villages around the world. Timbuktu (Mali), with its legendary past, is home to the first major multipurpose community telecentre in Africa. Located East of Lake Faguibine and near the Niger River, Timbuktu remains an important trade centre on the Saharan camel caravan routes. But like most isolated areas, the once prosperous commercial and cultural town needs a helping hand to join the digital economy and participate in an increasingly knowledge-based society. Multipurpose community telecentres make it possible for people of a village to learn how to use computers and the Internet. Students and teachers can run educational software on personal computers in telecentres or obtain access to world leading online libraries and distance instructors through the Internet. Local administrators and society leaders can access information on basic social services such as water supply or infrastructure. Farmers can form joint buying and selling groups and monitor market prices. Small entrepreneurs can find larger markets, secure business and use the telecentre for basic office services such as fax, e-mail or document production. Facilities providing access to ICTs, and the applications they support, vary considerably. In their simplest form, they may be limited to providing public telephone and fax services and be run, for example, by a local shopkeeper. Telecentres of this type, sometimes referred to as ‘telekiosks’, tend to be located in more densely populated areas and have an important social and economic role. At the other end of the scale are telecentres with (shared) offices open to small local businesses and ‘teleworkers’, which are equipped with computers, printers and photocopiers. Centres of this type generally provide access to data networks (e.g. Internet) for email and file transfer, to electronic libraries and databases, government and community information systems, market and price information databases, environmental monitoring systems and so on. They may also offer facilities and equipment for distance learning and telemedicine, and some may provide the facilities, equipment and training needed to produce (and receive) local radio and television programmes.

Typically, MCTs are a collaborative effort of multilateral agencies and national partners, including non-governmental organisations, who pool expertise in different areas to serve communities. The expertise could range from basic health to small-scale industry. The focus is on the development and adaptation to the local context of applications and ‘content’ relevant to their field of activity, and in the training of support staff and end-users. In Latin America, telecentre pilot projects at Valle de Angeles and Santa Lucía in Honduras offer a good example of appropriate technologies and institutional arrangements at work. The Valle de Angeles MCT recently became a rural Internet service provider. Both the Santa Lucía and Valle de Angeles telecentres link five other ‘mini’ telecentres each with narrow-band packet radio and spread spectrum technologies. These low cost, low maintenance telecentres are located in the neighbouring villages. In Asia, Bhutan Telecom established a telecentre at Jakar in central Bhutan with ITU assistance in 1998. The telecentre has been particularly successful in providing basic information technology training to over 450 people. As part of the next phase of operations, UNESCO is assisting Bhutan to convert the Jakar telecentre into a community multimedia centre in which access to the Internet and the broadcasting programme production are integrated to maximise the information services accessible to the local community. The media production centre will take advantage of telecommunication facilities available at the MCT to deliver locally produced content for daily radio and television broadcast offered by the Bhutan Broadcasting Service (BBS). Combining the media production centre and the MCT would enable BBS to offer more participatory programmes, besides using content based on the regular field visits conducted in central Bhutan. The media production centre is expected to eventually introduce local broadcasts through its own transmitter. Such broadcasts would include regular ‘Radio Browsing’ programmes to promote rural access to the Internet through the Jakar multipurpose community telecentre. Another pilot project in Tanzania addresses the needs of the refugee community, relief workers and the local community. The project is implemented in collaboration with the Tanzanian government, UNESCO, UNHCR, WorldSpace Corporation and VITASAT.

According to the business plan, telecentres are to be sustainable enterprises. The project responds to an ITU resolution titled ‘Training of Refugees’ which calls on The ITU to continue its efforts towards the application of the United Nations’ resolutions relevant to assistance to refugees. ITU is also to collaborate fully with the organisations concerned with the training of refugees, both within and outside the United Nations system. Furthermore, the resolution invites ITU Members ‘to do even more to receive certain selected refugees and to arrange for their training in telecommunications in professional centres and schools’. The project comprises a network of three telecentres: • The first telecentre is located in the district headquarters town of Ngara, which houses the local administration as well as UNHCR and UNICEF offices; • The second is at ‘K9’, about 17 kilometres from Ngara, where seven relief organisations and a secondary school for girls are based; • The third is some 8 km from K9 where two refugee camps are located: Lukole A and B, which currently have no telecommunication facilities. VITA will provide satellite support and information services through its VITA-Connect network, including the contribution of a ground station, antenna and software for basic electronic mail-based connectivity. WorldSpace Corporation has committed to providing, at each site, a container incorporating radio equipment, satellite receiver and data terminal to download web-based multimedia educational and entertainment content in Kiswahili (the local language). The centre, planned as an educational centre for refugee children and for teacher training, will also provide medical information and will be run by refugees. Projects currently in an advanced stage of planning include: in Niger, establishment of four telecentres around the capital Niamey, to be run by women’s cooperatives and in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, establishing a telecentre in Hyangsan County. All MCT pilot projects are subject to continuous assessment by the partners involved in their implementation. Current assessments point to the fact that the projects have considerable social impact.

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FROM MIT TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Media Lab Asia:
Innovating for the next Five Billion

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or the first time in human history your location no longer limits your ability to communicate. From anywhere in the

through novel sensors, effectors and fabrication tools. Translating the vision of fine-grain, pervasive computing to rural communities. World Computer – a computer for the illiterate, for communities, for everyone. We are creating computers that transcend these barriers to bring digital services to everyone. The design goal of the world computer is a localised, grassroots interface. These three technical themes come together in a fourth initiative that seeks to find a synergetic combination of technology with societal need: Digital Village – realising Gandhi’s vision of a sustainable village through culturally appropriate use of new technologies. Our goal is to create a sustainable digital ecology that maintains traditional values and community while opening economic and expressive opportunities. innovation to villages throughout the world, combining the creativity of entrepreneurs with the technical know-how of universities. Particular challenges in cultivating these solutions will include the need to operate in many different languages and to support local culture and tradition. Media Lab Asia’s research programme Our research projects may be divided into three technical initiatives: Bits for All – focusing on viral, terrestrial wireless systems for rural connectivity. We are exploring new, costeffective methods of connecting every person on earth. Tomorrow’s Tools – connecting the disembodied world of bits to the real world Example research projects Sustainable access in rural India (SARI) Working with some 50 villages in the Madurai district in south-eastern India, Media Lab Asia is collaborating with the Harvard Centre for International Development, IIT-Madras and the I-Gyan Foundation to help villagers obtain economic self-sustainability throughout the region. They are doing this by providing villages with Internet-ready telekiosks that provide muchThese ideas are developed in two ways: through research laboratories that generate and prototype new concepts, and through field projects that develop, test and evaluate these laboratory prototypes.

world – mountain, jungle or city – you can now telephone, e-mail and browse the Internet using a pocket-sized, batterypowered wireless communicator. The UN ICT Task Force has been established to better understand and utilise these revolutionary new possibilities. However, current information and communication products are engineered for developed nations and are often too expensive or inappropriate for developing nations. Only by focusing research and development efforts on making the technology affordable, useful and universally accessible, will we be able to provide every family on earth with access to first-class educational material, medical advice, business communications and entertainment. Media Lab Asia’s role within the UN ICT Task Force is to coordinate Asian industry and academia to achieve this goal. With core participation from MIT’s renowned Media Laboratory, seed-funding from the government of India, and industrial funding from corporations such as Tata Consulting Services and Microsoft, Media Lab Asia is inventing technologies that respond to the needs of the vast number of individuals living in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Media Lab Asia’s research and development efforts facilitate the invention, refinement and dissemination of innovations that benefit the greatest number of people. Working though our industrial partners, NGOs and governments, we are bringing

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needed communication and information services. Each kiosk is equipped with a PC (whose interfaces are in the local language, Tamil), battery-backup power supply, telephone and wireless Internet connection. After just four months of operation, the kiosks have already been used for telemedicine and have helped villagers process hundreds of e-government applications. But perhaps the most dramatic result was the rescue of a key crop for the village of Ulagapichanpatti, when a picture of the diseased crop, sent to the agricultural centre, immediately identified the problem and provided the formula for a remedy. DakNet DakNet provides a creative, low-cost ‘drive-by’ solution for distributing the bandwidth necessary to make connectivity possible even in the poorest countries. A hand-held PDA, equipped with a wireless card, is attached to the back of any vehicle that travels through rural villages. Villagers queue their Internet messages at local kiosks and when the vehicle gets within range (approximately 500 meters) it automatically senses a wireless radio link – picking up the queued messages and dropping off files addressed to users of that kiosk. DakNet is a hybrid of physical and digital wireless transport. Using longdistance wireless links would be more expensive to maintain and using physical transportation alone would be too labour intensive. The short-distance wireless link also has the advantage of being able to run on batteries. DakNet is scalable and, most importantly, sustainable. Kaash Focused on improving health care in rural India, Kaash is a pilot project conducted in collaboration with the AllIndia Institute of Medical Sciences. It introduces the use of handheld PDAs into the public health system, providing them to some of the approximately 350,000 auxiliary nurses and midwives (ANMs) now working throughout India. Kaash’s goal is to make the ANMs more efficient and to allow them to provide better
For more information, contact: Prof. Alex (Sandy) Pentland, Founding Director, Media Lab Asia E-mail: pentland@media.mit.edu

Although the data transport provided by DakNet is not real-time, a large amount of data can be moved at once and, as a result, it provides a higher data throughput than other low-bandwidth technologies. DakNet also provides a seamless method of upgrading to universal broadband connectivity.

care. To ensure that the handhelds would be used, we worked with the ANMs to design a system that incorporates the local terminology. Each PDA has a pull-down menu, so you just have to recognise terms rather than write them. The system can also provide feedback on diagnoses and treatment to the ANMs in the field, and reminders that particular patients are due for inoculation. In the long term, the PDA will not only be a useful tool for collecting and storing health data, but also for helping public health officials see trends, leading to improved health care for the Indian population as a whole.
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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

UNCTAD and e-commerce strategies for development

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he main initiative undertaken by UNCTAD in 2002 with regard to the activities of the Task Force

national e-commerce national strategies. Particular attention was paid to the issue of developing a participatory approach to national e-commerce strategy making, as well as to regional and global initiatives in support of developing countries interested in putting in place their own national ecommerce strategies. The participation of representatives of both the G-8’s DOT Force and of the UN ICT Task Force was particularly relevant in this regard. The work of the experts and policymakers participating in the events organised by UNCTAD was supported by an analysis undertaken by the UNCTAD secretariat of the experience available so far of national ecommerce strategies. The issues paper that summarises the findings of this work, as well as a number of presentations by the participating experts, is available online at UNCTAD’s e-commerce website. Two regional level events have been held in 2002 and another two are scheduled for 2003. The 2002 events were the Highlevel Regional Workshop on E-commerce and ICT for Central America and the Caribbean (Curaçao, 25-27 June) and the High-level Regional Meeting on Ecommerce Strategies for Development, in cooperation with UN/ESCAP (Bangkok, 2022 November). Both events also provided the opportunity for informal meetings among members of the respective regional networks of the UN ICT Task Force. The conclusions of both meetings concerning the priority objectives for the promotion of e-commerce in these countries and the instruments to be used to attain them are available online. Also available The Trade Point Programme The Trade Point Programme was created by UNCTAD in 1992, as part of its Trade Efficiency Initiative. Its objectives are to increase the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular those located in developing countries, in international trade; reduce transaction costs; and provide them with access to the latest information technologies. In 2000, UNCTAD launched the establishment of the World Trade Point Federation (WTPF), which has taken over the management of the programme. Through a network of 122 trade information and facilitation centres, known as Trade Points, the WTPF assists SMEs in 80 countries worldwide to trade internationally through the use of electronic commerce technologies. The Federation’s website (www.wtpfed.org) offers well-known services, for example the Electronic Trading Opportunities system, including its Electronic Investment Opportunities and a world company directory. These services are offered by the Federation and its Trade Points, or through strategic partnerships with international organisations and the civil society. WTPF is an ideal physical and virtual platform that is complementary to the work undertaken by intergovernmental organisations dealing with e-commerce, trade and development. It has a direct access to the local business communities and works closely with, among others UNCTAD, ITC, UN/ECE, the World Bank and WTO, as well as leading ICT firms in the international market through partnerships.

concerns the organisation of a series of meetings, held at both the expert and the policy-making levels, on the issue of ecommerce strategies for development. The purpose of these events was, firstly, to raise awareness about the key role of ecommerce in ICT-enabled strategies to fight poverty and social exclusion. Secondly, the events aimed to identify policy areas and specific measures (national and international) that can be conducive to the creation of an enabling environment for ecommerce in developing countries. The third purpose of the events was to support national capacity building in e-strategy making, and lastly, the events aimed to exchange information about national and regional experiences and to provide opportunities for networking among ecommerce experts of developing countries. The Expert Meeting on E-commerce Strategies for Development (Geneva, 10-12 July) brought together experts from 59 countries and 19 international organisations and NGOs, including representatives of the UN ICT Task Force. The experts discussed the links and interactions between ecommerce strategies and other aspects of national development strategies. Specific policy areas that were addressed included human resources development, gender aspects of ecommerce, access and infrastructure and the legal and regulatory aspects of ecommerce strategies. Experts from all of the developing regions presented a number of

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Experts from all of the developing regions presented a number of national ecommerce national strategies


online is the Bangkok Declaration on Ecommerce for Development, which was adopted as an expression of the political will of the participating governments to promote e-commerce as an instrument for development in the Asia Pacific region. In a separate effort, UNCTAD’s other major undertaking in this area was the preparation of the annual E-commerce and Development Report, which was released on 18 November. The report provides factual information and analysis about the implications of e-commerce for developing countries, identifies policy and business options available to developing countries in several sectors, and makes some practical proposals for maximising the contribution of e-commerce to economic and social development. Both the 2002 and the 2001 reports are available online.
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For more information, visit: www.unctad.org

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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

The Information Society
in Europe and North America

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003 is the year of the Geneva session of the WSIS. Work at the UNECE has focused, therefore, on the follow-up to the Bucharest Pan-European Regional Conference, held in

ensure greater affordability, policy action should aim at setting up an appropriate open and competitive environment Principle 3. Promoting linguistic diversity and cultural identity The information society is founded on respect for, and enjoyment of, cultural expression. New ICTs should stimulate cultural diversity and plurilinguism and enhance the capacity of governments to develop active policies to that end. Access and contribution to knowledge and information broaden the contents of the public domain and foster mutual understanding and respect for diversity

November 2002, and on preparations for the December Summit. The Bucharest Conference has provided substantive inputs to the WSIS preparatory process. The UNECE played a key role in the preparation for Bucharest and will continue supporting the preparation for the WSIS in Geneva and Tunis, both in terms of intergovernmental processes and substantive contributions. The Bucharest declaration The Member States of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe met in Bucharest at the Pan-European Conference on the Information Society (7-9 November 2002) and agreed on the following set of principles and priorities: Principle 1. Securing access to information and knowledge Individuals and organisations should benefit from access to information, knowledge and ideas. Notably, information in the public domain should be easily accessible. Information is the basis of a wellfunctioning and transparent decision-making process and a prerequisite for any democracy. Knowledge is the key agent for transforming both our global society and local communities. Public policy should broaden opportunities in providing information for all, including disabled, inter alia by creating content, and thereby redressing inequalities. ICTs have the potential not only to strengthen the effectiveness of public service delivery, but also to involve individuals in shaping government policies. Moreover, communications technology is not an end in itself, but a means of supplying quality content in the information society. In this regard, mass media – in their various forms – are recognised as important means of fostering public information, societal development and social cohesion. Principle 2. Promoting universal access at affordable cost An adequately developed infrastructure is the precondition for secure, reliable and affordable access to information by all stakeholders, and for the upgrading of relevant services. Improving connectivity is of special importance in this respect, and should be undertaken by the public and private sectors, acting in partnership. Community-led development is a critical element in the strategy for achieving universal access to information and knowledge. Community access centres and public services (such as post offices, libraries, schools) can provide an effective means for promoting universal access, in particular in remote areas, as an important factor of their development. Moreover, in order to

Principle 4. Developing human capacity through education, training and skills It is important for governments to develop comprehensive and forward-looking education strategies. People should be enabled to acquire the necessary skills in order to actively participate in and understand the information society and fully benefit from the possibilities it offers. Individuals should be engaged in defining their own needs and in the development of programmes to meet those needs. These skills integrate ICT-related specific notions with broader knowledge, and are generally obtained through primary, secondary and higher education, on-the-job training, but also increasingly through distance learning. Technological change will progressively require life-long learning and continuous training by all. Public policy should take into account inequalities in access to quality education and training, particularly in the case of vulnerable groups and underserved or remote areas. Specific attention has to be paid to the training of trainers. ICTs open completely new opportunities for elearning. New forms of partnership between public and private sectors are needed in this field. Principle 5. Setting up an enabling environment, including legal, regulatory and policy frameworks To maximise the economic and social benefits of the information society, governments need to create a trustworthy, transparent, and non-discriminatory legal, regulatory and policy environment, capable of promoting technological innovation and competition, thus favouring the necessary investments, mainly from the private sector, in the deployment of infrastructures and development of new services. The information society is, by nature, a global phenomenon and issues such as privacy protection, consumer trust, management of domain names, facilitation of e-commerce, protection of intellectual property rights, open source solutions, etc. should be addressed with the active participation of all stakeholders.

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Principle 6. Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs To realise fully the benefits of ICTs, networks and information systems should be sufficiently robust to prevent, detect and respond appropriately to security incidents. However, effective security of information systems is not merely a matter of government and law enforcement practices, nor of technology. A global culture of cybersecurity needs to be developed – security must be addressed through prevention and supported throughout society, and be consistent with the need to preserve free flow of information. ICTs can potentially be used for purposes that are inconsistent with the objectives of maintaining international stability and security and may adversely affect the integrity of the infrastructure within States, to the detriment of their security in both civil and military fields, as well as in relation to the functioning of their economies. It is also necessary to prevent the use of information resources or technologies for criminal or terrorist purposes. In order to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs, governments should promote awareness in their societies of cyber security risks and seek to strengthen international cooperation, including the private sector. Principle 7. Addressing global issues International policy dialogue on the Information Society at global, regional and sub-regional levels should promote the exchange of experience, the identification and application of compatible norms and standards, the transfer of know-how and the provision of technical assistance with a view to bridging capacity gaps and setting up international cooperation programmes, in particular in the field of creation of content. Sharing success stories and best practice experiences will also pave the way for new forms of international cooperation. Priority Theme. E-government: More efficient and accountable ICT tools will make policies more accountable and transparent and will enable better monitoring, evaluation and control of public services and allow for greater efficiency in their delivery. Public administration can make use of ICT tools to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency in the delivery of public services to citizens (education, health, transportation, etc.) and to enterprises. s Did you know that…? Estonia’s internet host penetration is the highest amongst Baltic, Central and Eastern European Countries. 90 percent of children between the ages of 5-17 now use computers in the United States, and the rate of growth of internet use is currently two million new internet users per month. Information technology is a formidable tool to achieve sustainable development as it produces huge environmental benefits through use of video conferencing and e-mail. However, experts estimate that in Canada alone, 351 million computers will become obsolete by 2044. Intelligent transport systems promise safer roads and lower emissions Only a third of the EU countries’ workforce has ever had computer training for professional use. Half of this workforce uses computers at their workplace. The Hungarian Government has created a consortium of public and private actors to help provide PCs and internet at a discounted rate to 1400 underprivileged families. The programme began in September 2000 and is funded by Compaq, Matav and Postabank. Only 37 percent of small companies in September 2002 declared plans to buy either an office computer or a laptop within the next 12 months. Spain plans to increase the present 5 percent rate of hotels using the internet, to 75 percent by 2058. Global standards for the global information society UNECE, IEC, ISO, ITU-T side event at the Pan-European Preparatory Ministerial Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society How can international standards foster the global policy dialogue on the Information Society and the development of a harmonised and stable framework of technologies, best practices and agreements, recognised worldwide? This was the crux of the question tackled by Mr Ollie Smoot, ISO President elect, and Mr U. Hartmann, Director, Information/Communications, Siemens, at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Pan-European Regional Conference in Bucharest on 8 November 2002. The World Summit on the Information Society has set out, as its objective, to address the broad range of questions concerning the information society and to draw up an action plan to layout a roadmap to bridge the digital divide. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Telecommunication Union – Standardization Department (ITU-T), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), will work together to ensure that WSIS will raise awareness on the contribution that international standards can make in addressing global issues in the information society. The four organisations have committed themselves through a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to avoiding divergent and competitive approaches, to eliminating duplication of efforts, to providing a clear roadmap for users and to ensuring coherence. By highlighting the role that international standards can play to foster this international policy dialogue on the Information Society, the four organisations hope to promote the development of an inclusive information society that provides access and participation for all, bypassing all borders, gender considerations and social distinctions. International standards have an ever-greater place in helping to maximise the benefits of information and communication technologies for developing countries. Standards simplify the use of existing and new technologies; focus on interfaces and interoperability; reduce costs and complexity; open markets and foster broader access to products and services; and favour the emergence of rules and agreements on best practices.

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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICE TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

UNITeS:
In partnership with universities

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he United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS) is working to build a Global Network of Universities in support of UNITeS

professors and researchers to undertake assignments in developing countries through UNITeS related to thematic applications of ICT. • The generation and identification of volunteering opportunities by UN Volunteers Programme Officers (in more than 70 countries and more than 140 UNDP Country Offices), as well as other partners in the field, that could involve students, professors, researchers and faculty from partnering Universities, to be coordinated by UNITeS. • The creation of an online environment for delivery of the online training/learning packages for ICT volunteers offered by the universities, in coordination with UNITeS. The delivery of these packages can take place within the Spanish network of universities within Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), one of the leading online universities and a collaborating institute with UNITeS. • The development and contribution of course material in ICT4D (Information Communication Technologies for Development). Students, faculty and staff at partnering universities are also encouraged to engage in online volunteering activities to support organisations working in and for developing countries, as part of the NetAid Online Volunteering service managed by UN Volunteers. University volunteers through UNITeS should: • Be engaged in the last year of undergraduate degree, or engaged in post graduate and/or PhD in any field of study, or have completed such. • Have strong ICT-related skills, particularly in applying these skills to project management, capacity building, health, education, agriculture, community support, HIV/AIDS, or another area of human development.

and ICT4D (Information Communication Technologies for Development). The creation of this network provides expanded volunteer human resources and knowledge resources for developing countries. In December 2002, UNITeS received a Global Junior Challenge 2002 award for its University Volunteer Network. In addition, item 10 of the UN ICT Task Force action plan focuses on the need for partnerships between leading training institutions and universities and community-level ICT4D programmes, and cites UNITeS as a key avenue for involvement of university volunteers by such organisations. The common thread among all UNITeS collaborating universities is that they are interested in taking action to narrow the digital divide. Collectively, and using the UNITeS mechanism, they endeavour to allow the maximum possible number of qualified volunteers – students, faculty and staff – to be productive in serving ICT capacity-building needs expressed in developing countries, under a wellmanaged initiative. University ICT volunteers, through UNITeS, have already served in Botswana, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ecuador, Honduras, India, Jordan and Kosovo on a variety of capacity-building ICT projects. Read more about their activities on the UNITeS web site (http://www.unites.org/html/projects/completed.htm). The partnership with universities through UNITeS involves: • The partnering universities launching or having already created credit-bearing service learning courses for students involved in UNITeS ICT4D initiatives. • The partnering universities creating or having already created a sabbatical programme for

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• Have a strong commitment to see tasks completed and documented, and to report regularly on progress and activities. • Have an excellent written and spoken command of English, as well as Spanish and/or French. • Have experience working in a multi-cultural environment, and have excellent interpersonal communication and presentation skills, with cultural sensitivity and tact. • Have volunteer experience at any level, particularly with high-poverty or low-literacy populations, and a strong belief in volunteer ideals and volunteerism as a fundamental element of community projects. • Possess maturity to face sometimes difficult situations during field assignments in developing countries. No university volunteer should apply directly to UNITeS. To be a volunteer within the University framework, UNITeS must already partner with the University where the candidate is based. We encourage students, faculty and staff at universities, particularly those in developing countries, to let their offices of international studies or career development know about the UNITeS initiative, and to view the UNITeS partnerships and collaboration guidelines (visit http://www.unites.org/html/unites/partner.htm). Universities partnering (or in the process of): • George Mason University (Pioneer university in this innovative initiative) • Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain (with 19 Spanish universities, members of the Spanish network of universities in support of UNITeS) • Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain (advanced process) • Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina (advanced process) • Universitat Bonn (advanced process) • Kwansei Gakuin University of Japan (advanced process) • University of Benin, Nigeria (first contact)
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In December 2002, UNITeS received a Global Junior Challenge 2002 award for its University Volunteer Network

For more information, visit: http://www.unites.org/html/projects/Universities.htm

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91

FROM UNESCO TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

UNESCO’s international initiative
for community multimedia centres

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NESCO’s international initiative for community multimedia centres (CMCs) promotes community empowerment and addresses the

digital divide by combining community broadcasting with the Internet and related technologies. The CMC programme offers a global strategy for addressing the digital divide in the poorest communities of the developing world and also among countries in transition. The CMC opens a gateway to active membership of the global knowledge society by making information and communication the basic tools of the poor in improving their own lives. In order to avoid the trap of seeking a technological fix that overlooks the need for welladapted implementation, community radio can be an invaluable relay for ongoing efforts to ensure that ICT provision is responsive to local needs, such as education and health. The current development paradigm, which has a framework of reference that is built on the concepts of sustainable, endogenous and human development, has been emphasising the importance of community-driven development programmes. The community multimedia centre can be used as a vehicle for taking this process one step further, by enabling the members of a community to become recognised actors in the process of developing knowledge. The metaphor of ‘giving the poor a voice’ becomes a concrete reality when the poor have a public voice quite literally, on-air and online. This participation in both medium and message, pivotal to both individual and community empowerment, fills a link often missing in the development process. The combination of a grassroots public platform with access to information highways promotes the public debate and public accountability that are essential for strengthening democracy and good governance. Radio browsing of the Internet A programme in which the radio presenters gather information in response to listeners’ needs and queries from reliable sites on the Internet, and put it on CD-ROMs or other digital resources. During the programme, the presenter visits these pages of information on the Internet with a local expert (for example, a doctor for a health question). Together, they describe, explain and discuss the information At its most basic, the CMC offers the simplest portable radio station, a single computer for Internet browsing wherever possible, e-mail and basic office, library and learning applications. At its most developed, the CMC is a major infrastructure, offering a full range of multimedia facilities, functioning as a distance learning, training and informal education centre, linking up to the local hospital for telemedicine applications, downloading and printing national newspapers for local circulation, and so forth. A CMC gives radio listeners access to online information by the use of:

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directly in the languages used by the community. Radio browsing is already used in Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal. It has demonstrated radio’s potential for overcoming language barriers to access, discuss, select and assimilate information available in a limited number of languages on the Internet. Moreover, being a participatory radio programme, ‘Radio browsing of the Internet’ has taken into account the desires of rural communities to assimilate knowledge collectively, as opposed to the prevailing modality of individual access to Internet. Community databases for development These utilise the capacity of the community collectively to produce knowledge and to package and disseminate it in an appropriate manner to meet the immediate needs and priorities of the community. The first CMC project was the pioneering Kothmale Internet Project in Sri Lanka. Its pilot radio browsing programmes have been replicated in Nepal and Bhutan. CMC projects are now also being developed in the Caribbean and Africa (for example, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Senegal). A network of CMCs is now being developed in Sri Lanka and two more CMCs are planned in Bhutan. UNESCO is the designated champion agency for the worldwide global knowledge partnership (GKP) component in this area, which involves UN agencies such as ECA, FAO, the ITU, UNDP, UNFPA and the World Bank as well as bilateral development agencies and international NGOs.
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The CMC programme offers a global strategy for addressing the digital divide in the poorest communities of the developing world and also among countries in transition

For more information, contact: Stella Hughes, UNESCO The Communication Development Division, Communication and Information Sector E-mail: s.hughes@unesco.org

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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS FUND FOR INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP (UNFIP) TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

UNFIP:
Facilitating the Millennium Development Goals
in the development of innovative programmes and projects to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, with special attention to Target 18, which states: “In cooperation with the private sector, to make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication technologies.” UNFIP has played a facilitating role in bringing Cisco Systems Inc. into a strategic partnership with the United Nations. Since the announcement of the partnership, Cisco Systems, UNDP, the United Nations Volunteer programme (UNV), the United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS) and the United States Agency for International Development have been working together to train students for the Internet economy. This has been achieved by establishing the Cisco Networking Academy Programme in countries that suffer from poverty as well as from weak human resources and economic institutions. The Cisco Networking Academies Programme has expanded to 33 of the 49 least developed countries and has established 100 academies. In 2002, 5500 students – 25 percent of which were female – had access to the cutting-edge IT curriculum. UNFIP also facilitated the Digital Bridge to Africa meeting that was organised with the UN ICT Task Force, Digital Partners, Gruppo Cerfe and UNIFEM on 12 July 2002 at the United Nations. Over 100 participants attended including leading members of the
Part of a government-supported project to teach women non-traditional skills, a woman learns to operate a computer in a secretarial training programme in Nouakchott. Rapid desertification and continuing drought has exacerbated the rural exodus of nomads and peasants in Mauritania. The result, ‘kebbas’ or shanty towns with inadequate health, school and water-supply infrastructures and infant mortality rates as high as 257/1000 live births, twice the national average. UNICEF cooperation includes programmes to reduce infant, child and maternal mortality, improve health and nutrition, and promote family food production, education and the advancement of women.

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cting as a facilitator between the UN system and corporate and foundation partners, UNFIP assists

UNFIP has also served as a close partner to UNIFEM for the development of the Global Advisory Committee, which is comprised mainly of African IT entrepreneurs who advise on strategic partnerships to bridge the gender digital divide

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African diaspora and representatives from technology corporations, foundations and non-profit organisations. The meeting explored ways in which the combined knowledge, experiences and resources of the public and private sectors could be harnessed to effect positive and sustainable change in Africa. Results included the official launch of the Digital Diaspora Network – Africa (DDN-A), a non-profit organisation that seeks to promote development in Africa. In addition, AfricShare was established as a resource and knowledge-sharing facility to match innovative projects with mentors from the DDN-A network, and the Social Fund for Africa was inaugurated to provide financial support for ICT entrepreneurial activities in the region. UNFIP is currently facilitating a similar meeting for the Caribbean diaspora in order to contribute to the promotion of digital opportunities in the region. Led by the ICT Task Force and UNDP, the meeting on ‘Bridging the Digital Divide for the Caribbean’ will be held at the United Nations on 24 January 2003. The meeting has been organised with the support of the CARICOM Permanent Missions to the United Nations and the CARICOM Secretariat, and facilitated by the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce. UNFIP has also served as a close partner to UNIFEM for the development of the Global Advisory Committee, which is comprised mainly of African IT entrepreneurs who advise on strategic partnerships to bridge the gender digital divide. The programme seeks to empower

UNFIP has been instrumental in raising awareness about the role of Wi-Fi as an avenue for bridging the digital divide

African women through innovative uses of information and communications technologies. The partnerships build on existing experiences and successful IT ventures undertaken in Africa by African women from the diaspora. The next meeting of the UNIFEM Global Advisory Committee will include the ICT Task Force, UNFIP and UNDP representatives. It will convene in Kampala, Uganda in March 2003 with the representation of Ugandan government officials and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In addition, UNFIP has been instrumental in raising awareness about the role of Wi-Fi as an avenue for bridging the digital divide. UNFIP’s contribution has included articles and speeches, developed in cooperation with the Office of the Secretary-General, to provide a better understanding and appreciation of how WiFi could be used to provide fast, and maybe free, access to the Internet.
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For more information, visit: www.un.org/unfip

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FROM THE UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION & COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY TASK FORCE WORKING GROUPS 3 AND 5 TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY

Capturing the promise of a Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative

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he Working Groups of the United Nations ICT Task Force on Human Capacity Building and on Low Cost Access and Connectivity have decided to address one of the major

flows. This will significantly strengthen their capacity to benefit from e-health, e-commerce, e-government, e-democracy and all other empowerment tools that ICTs bring about. We believe that GeSCI as a new global, independent mechanism is needed to catalyze and support national and regional e-schools initiatives that bring together the relevant players to create such end-to-end systems. GeSCI will play five major roles: • Convene all the required players, especially global players who can’t find a good way to play a useful role on their own, to address the barriers that they face in contributing to national and regional eSchools efforts; • Facilitate the national/regional planning process, by serving as a neutral facilitator and by contributing needed expertise and knowledge of best practices; • Help to raise required resources, including garnering commitments of funding from national/regional government sources (e.g., education budget, telecom universal service funds), devising appropriate approaches to facilitating contributions by the local communities, and connecting the national/regional eschools efforts with development agencies, global foundations and private companies interested in assisting; • Provide specific global services, e.g., a global education portal or coordinated bulk purchasing of equipment or software among multiple countries, usually through outsourcing and; • Arrange for independent monitoring and evaluation, which can help attract donors and private companies concerned about their resources being well spent or used. GeSCI will bring together existing fragmented efforts, and help implement national and regional initiatives. It will work closely with other groups (e.g., NEPAD’s e-schools initiative) that have complementary objectives. GeSCI will be launched at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in December 2003. The first wave of countries using the GeSCI model and organization to achieve its education goals will be the state of Andhra Pradesh (India), Bolivia, Ghana and Namibia. The GeSCI secretariat will be located in Dublin, Ireland. s

global challenges existing today: education. Literally hundreds of millions of children are missing basic educational opportunities – and doing so in a world that becomes more complicated, competitive and demanding almost by the hour. Fortunately, the smart use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in support of education can make this global problem significantly less intractable. Deploying ICTs in schools can also have significant benefits for the communities in which the schools are located. Successful efforts in this direction in developing countries will, however, require hard work and cooperation from many players. In order to have real impact, it is essential to move beyond the pilot programs that are typical of most activity today and create coordinated initiatives that address all aspects of deploying and using ICTs successfully in schools. In order to capture this potential, the United Nations ICT Task Force has created the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI) that will work in partnership with local governments, private sector companies and civil society organizations to create effective end-to-end systems that have all the functions needed to deliver, operate and support the solution identified by the partners. The system is designed around end-user demand; each function is a properly sized and capable unit and the functions are coordinated and aligned via a number of mechanisms. Leveraging tested technologies, new operating models, national/regional partnerships and global coordination, such end-to-end systems could deliver ICT solutions at costs that are potentially 5 to 10 times less expensive than current approaches. The essence of the challenge is to transform today’s fragmented, supply-driven, largely uncoordinated pilot efforts for ICT in education into efficient, demand driven, coordinated end-toend systems implemented by strong partnerships involving all key players. The distinctive feature of GeSCI is that it does not limit its intended impact to improving education through the use of ICT. It goes further and aims to use the strengthened education infrastructure for empowering local communities by facilitating their access to global and local and global information and knowledge

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Closing comments

Capturing digital opportunities Mr Sarbuland Khan
Acting Executive Coordinator, Information & Communication Technologies Task Force

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here is an emerging sense that the international community is at a crossroads in the development process. Despite real progress on

The value of access to information and communications technologies in addressing global development disparities is at the heart of the first World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva. WSIS provides a significant forum for the global community to establish a mutually agreed upon set of coherent policies and standards for ICT, and to mobilize the utilization of ICT in the context of development. The United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (UN ICT) Task Force was created in November 2001 to deal with the issue of the ever-widening ‘Digital Divide’, and reports directly to the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The Task Force is a public/private partnership providing a forum for partners with multiple levels of expertise and influence. The Task Force organizes both regional and functional working groups to examine the issues that underlie and perpetuate the Digital Divide, and it provides results-oriented, quantifiable strategies. A multi-stakeholder platform has been created that includes government representatives, private sector, as well as non-governmental and international organizations. These stakeholders work together to develop an integrated, unified and innovative strategy for tackling the development divide and accelerating efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. ICT can be a powerful tool for development, both because of its inherent characteristics and the mounting empirical evidence that suggests it can, in fact, contribute a great deal to development goals. It can do so at both the micro and national level by increasing the effectiveness and reach of

some fronts, there remain dramatic disparities in levels of human development worldwide. The current debate on the importance of access to ICT and its value in addressing global development disparities is part of the wider discussion on the potential benefits and risks of globalization. This is because ICT is itself a key enabler of globalization: the level and pace of global flows in physical and intangible assets have been dramatically boosted by the ability to connect vast networks of individuals across geographic boundaries, at negligible marginal cost. The unprecedented pace and scale of global flows in information, products, capital, and ideas, if properly harnessed, offers the potential to create new opportunities for those who have thus far been excluded from gains in human development. But the same forces could also actually widen the gap and trap developing countries, especially leastdeveloped countries, in a perpetual spiral of poverty and exclusion. There is growing international awareness of the urgent need to employ ICT toward the achievement of development goals. Efforts to harness the potential of ICT in the development context are significant, not only because they seek to develop strategies and initiate innovative and effective action on the ground, but also because they represent and encourage new forms of collaborative interaction among government, private sector, multilateral, and non-profit organizations.

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Given the scale and complexity of the challenge and the need for a multi-pronged response that can fill gaps and address market failures, few developing countries can be expected to succeed on their own in bridging the digital divide


development interventions, enhancing good governance and lowering the costs of service delivery. Moreover, the right complement of targeted ICT interventions has the potential to play an even more substantial role in accelerating a sustainable dynamic of social and economic development in developing countries. While ICT is not a panacea for the developing world’s problems, the integration of ICT into overall national development strategies can help facilitate implementation, expand the scope and coverage, and increase the results for factors such as political stability, macroeconomic governance, transparence and accountability of national and local administrations, the rule of law, physical infrastructure and basic literacy. Given the scale and complexity of the challenge and the need for a multi-pronged response that can fill gaps and address market failures, few developing countries can be expected to succeed on their own in bridging the digital divide. There is a need for strategic partnerships at the local, regional and global levels that can bring together all stakeholders around well coordinated actions to stimulate a new development dynamic using ICT as an enabling tool to empower the poor so that they can participate productively in the new global economy. Strategic partnerships are required to aggregate the capabilities and resources to address the pervasive market failures in developing countries and to create win-win situations for the various sectors and stakeholders involved. The government and the private sector are complementary to achieve this objective – each is dependent on the cooperation of others to accomplish its goals. A new form of collaboration and coordinated action between public, private, civil society and international organizations is needed. There is an urgent need to build upon, and go beyond, existing partnerships to redefine roles and responsibilities at the global, national and local level. A multistakeholder taskforce can work to align the goals, incentives, roles and responsibilities of diverse stakeholders and provide win-win opportunities. Without this sort of alignment, partnerships will not be sustainable and results will fall short of expectations for all involved. Through sharing best practices, promoting dialogue, highlighting success stories and building consensus on the new agenda, national and international strategic collaborations are crucial ingredients to help countries harness the benefits of ICT as a development enabler. ICT interventions focusing on development goals must address a variety of interrelated dimensions to secure an enduring impact. Firstly, ICT solutions must be built to last. Initiatives that are planned and managed using a business model are likely to be more sustainable and have a more substantial impact. Initiatives need to include mechanisms for growth and

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replication into their operating models from the outset so as to offer scalable and sustainable solutions. Initiatives must also be driven by user demands, identified and realized through direct participation and ownership. Technology imposed on a community of users who have not independently identified a need for it is unlikely to flourish. Initiatives must also be sensitive to local conditions and limitations. Initiatives demonstrating a capacity to embrace adaptive and flexible solutions are more likely to be sustainable. Finally, ICT initiatives should be explicit about their development goals and how they will directly impact the target population. While grassroots entrepreneurial activity is to be universally encouraged, the potential impact of ICT interventions would be far greater if conceived in conjunction with private sector companies. Indeed, there are many examples where private sector has partnered with multilateral institutions to launch ICT initiatives in developing countries. Among them are initiatives by Task Force member companies such as Nokia, HP, Cisco, Cisneros, Siemens, TAGI and ST Microelectronics. These are just a few of the many examples demonstrating that pursuing ICT interventions in conjunction with private sector companies enables the creation of synergies that stand-alone initiatives cannot achieve by themselves. More recently, Mckinsey has partnered with the ICT Task Force Global e-School and Community project to catalyze a broad-based initiative to improve education systems in all secondary schools in developing countries. The UN ICT Task Force facilitates the objectives of the World Summit on the Information Society on a number of levels. To meet the needs of local empowerment, the Task Force will work to develop a shared global vision of an inclusive global information society, endorsing the rights of all people to create, share and utilize information toward promotion of social and economic development, cultural diversity and freedom of expression. The Task Force will work as an innovative instrument with balanced representation to forge new alliances and solidify existing partnerships and funding mechanisms. The Task Force will maintain the regional and functional nodes that serve as the mechanisms for implementation of strategy. The Task Force works to create and continually improve and upgrade conceptual and policy

frameworks for harnessing the power of information and communication technologies to advance the Millennium Development Goals. It provides a platform for building innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships such as the Global e-School and Community initiative. The Task Force understands that the most effective way of attaining its goals is by empowering developing nations to establish their own national e-strategies, improving existing national capacities and exploring new ways of addressing development issues. The Task Force is working to integrate ICT into development programs and to facilitate the effective participation of all stakeholders to advance development goals with ICT applications. The World Summit on the Information Society will also serve as a strategic occasion to come to international consensus on some clear and tangible goals relating to the information society, with operational standards and timeframes by which to measure progress towards them. The summit process can help to promote broad agreement on the shape of the future of the Information Society, and the role of ICT in the service of development. The Summit should serve as a unique platform to galvanize the international community, working effectively together with national governments, the private sector and civil society in order to prevent relegating already marginalized societies to a more isolated position in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world, and lay the foundations of a truly inclusive global Information Society. The principal focus of the Summit is on the use of ICT in promoting development and on the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals. In order to ensure a sustainable and tangible development impact of the Summit, an effective follow up and implementation of its decisions will require concerted and focused actions of all stakeholders. This makes it necessary to agree on modalities for coordination and monitoring during the inter-phase period. With this in view, the UN ICT Task Force may provide its already existing multi-stakeholder platform for immediate action in specific areas (such as, for example, benchmarking the process of implementation during the inter-phase period, forging multi-stakeholder partnerships, and launching of informal discussions on Internet governance including on-line forums through the WSIS website) to help in the Summit follow-up.
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“Information technology... is a powerful force that can and must be harnessed to our global mission of peace and development. This is a matter of both ethics and economics; over the long term, the new economy can only be productive and sustainable if it spreads worldwide and responds to the needs and demands of all people. I urge everyone in a position to make a difference to add his or her energies to this effort.”
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations

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