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International Telecommunication Union
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Experts to push information society agenda
Cluster of events in Geneva 14-25 May 2007 organized around World Information Society Day

Geneva, 3 May 2007 — World Information Society Day 17 May 2007 marks the inception of ITU more than 140 years ago and looks ahead to a fully connected world that provides the benefits of information and communication technologies (ICT) to all its inhabitants.

On this occasion, a number of steps will be taken to take forward the objectives of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and the commitment of world leaders who gathered in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005. A cluster of events related to implementing the WSIS goals will be held in Geneva 14-25 May 2007.

The highlight of the celebration will be the global event and ITU World Information Society Award ceremony that will be held at ITU Headquarters in Geneva on 16 May. The Award honours those who have made a significant personal contribution towards building the information society. Personal achievement may take the form of social accomplishment, mobilization of public opinion, or a key technical innovation. Last year’s laureates were H.E. President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Professor Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director of Grameen bank, who subsequently won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Building the information society

A facilitation meeting on the WSIS action line related to cybersecurity (C5) will be held 14-16 May. WSIS outcome documents emphasize that building confidence and security in the use of ICT is a critical component of the global information society. Tough ICT-based countermeasures at the national and international levels are needed to ensure online security and enhance the protection of personal information, privacy and data. ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré has stressed the need for greater cooperation between regulators, governments, e-security firms, communication service providers, and end-users in dealing with the challenges of building a safe and secure information society.

On 16 May, ITU and UNDP will meet to facilitate work on building information and communication infrastructure (WSIS Action Line C2), capacity building (C4), and creating an enabling environment (C6). This joint meeting will focus on key approaches and issues needed for implementation. Some large-scale projects in the pipeline include harmonization of ICT policies in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, constructing a fibre-optic submarine communications broadband network in West Africa, and the development of ICT infrastructure along with migration to new technologies and services in the Pacific. For further details, please see here.

The second meeting of WSIS Action Line Facilitators, organized by lead UN agencies ITU, UNDP and UNESCO, will take place on 25 May to follow-up on the first such meeting in February 2006. The objective is to promote coherence and exchange of information among facilitators responsible for the implementation of individual WSIS Action Lines. The goal of each multi-stakeholder team is to implement the WSIS Plan of Action at the international level while sharing information and promoting the WSIS goals.

Informal consultations between ITU and civil society will take place on 18 May. Open to all stakeholders, the meeting will address the concerns of civil society and will be addresses by the ITU Secretary-General and the President of CONGO, the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.

For further information, please contact

Sanjay Acharya
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information
Tel: +41 22 730 6135

About World Information Society Day

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Updated : 2007-08-01