In this edition: ICT
Preparatory Activity for WSIS
In preparation for the 2003 World
Summit on the Information Society, the ITU is highlighting
some of the ongoing and successful ICT development projects taking place
around the world. Listed below are links to specific overviews about how
ICTs, and the Internet in particular, are being used to help bridge the
global digital divide:
of the highlighted initiatives provides a glimpse into the creative
ways that ICTs are being deployed and used in educational contexts.
While simply providing a snapshot of how ICTs are helping developing
countries create new generations of indigenous knowledge producers and
consumers, these cases offer a framework for using ICTs for social and
cultural advancement for other marginalized communities throughout the
shawls in India to goats in Ethiopia and e-shopping malls in Bolivia,
the deployment and diffusion of ICTs throughout the developing world
has opened up many new economic development opportunities for
historically marginalized groups. As these cases clearly
demonstrate, access to ICTs and the global electronic marketplace not
only offers social and economic development opportunities to citizens
in the developing world, but such access also helps to cultivate the
entrepreneurial spirit of disadvantaged peoples the world over.
Although they can take many forms, public access points (e.g.
telecottages and multipurpose community telecenters) have proven to be
a crucial ingredient in helping the "have nots" overcome
poverty, illiteracy, inequality, and perhaps most importantly
isolation. As many communication development theorists and
practitioners have pointed out, ICT-based development initiatives must
be based on a participatory model to be effective and sustainable.
to the education sector, the lack of access to basic healthcare
continues to stifle social and economic advancement in many parts of
the world, specifically in Africa and East Asia. The fact that
much of the working population in many developing countries is
negatively impacted by AIDS, malaria and a variety of other deadly
diseases makes it extremely difficult for underdeveloped societies to
actively participate and contribute to the global economy.
Insights: From Brazil to Singapore, governments around the
world have embraced ICTs as a means of making their operations more
efficient and transparent. Moreover, the digitization of public
service information has also made government agencies and officials
more accountable. While many governments in the developing world
have only just begun to modernize dated institutional structures,
successful implementation of ICTs have proved to be an effective
instrument for connecting disparate government communication networks
at every level.
the late 1990s, the micro-loan provided by Grameen Bank to a woman in
Bangladesh who used it to purchase a cell phone has been touted as the
universal example of how new technologies can be used to facilitate
rural socio-economic development. However, other examples
illustrate that there are a wide array of unique and creative ways
that ICTs are being deployed in rural contexts. Although there
are a multitude of variables that determine the success of ICT
deployments in underprivileged societies, some important lessons can
be gleaned from the above examples: ICTs must be tailored to cultural
and social contexts (e.g. radios in Mozambique); modernizing
initiatives must be participatory; ICT-based development programmes
must begin at the grassroots level; and localized content is essential
for successful deployment and diffusion of ICTs.
are playing an increasingly important role in helping societies the
world over learn how to protect the earth's fragile environment.
From protecting against desertification to providing farmers in rural
Africa with the day's crop prices and ensuring the preservation of
biodiversity, ICTs (specifically the Internet) have become a crucial
resource for information sharing among scientists and concerned
ICTs have proven to be an effective tool for empowering
marginalized societies the world over, and for women ICTs have become
an increasingly important means of ending oppression and exclusion.
Not only does access to modern technologies, specifically the global
information network, help level the playing field between the genders,
but such access also significantly enhances their freedoms.
Success Factor Case Studies
Selected case studies that highlight some of the innovative ways
that ICTs are being used to address a variety of development issues
Preparatory Activity for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
Council Res. 1207, instructs
the Secretary General and the Directors of the Bureaux to perform
exercise" and prepare an analysis paper, to show how ITU's
current work programme contributes to the fulfillment of the objectives
outlined in the WSIS draft action plan.
has prepared a table structure
based on the WSIS
draft Action Plan (5 June 2003, refined version) detailing the
activities/plans/initiatives being undertaken by the different sectors and
offices of the Union for each item on the Action Plan and the
corresponding website addresses.
order to review the results of the recent WSIS
inter-sessional meeting (Paris, 15-18
July 2003), and to prepare for the forthcoming WSIS PrepCom-3, a fourth
meeting of the ITU
Council Working Group on WSIS (WG-WSIS) will
be held in Madeira, Portugal, on 10 and 11 September 2003.
further information on Policy and Strategy Trends, please
contact: ITU Strategy and Policy Unit, International
Telecommunication Union, Place des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 20
(Switzerland). Fax: +41 22 730 6453. E-mail: email@example.com
. Website: www.itu.int/spu/