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(Geneva, 1 – 5 July 2002)


Government contributions

Comments from United Nations Organisations




Comments on possible themes

Requests consideration of the following four key aspects of the information society

  • Cross border Electronic Commerce

The Summit should lend impetus to work currently being undertaken in various international for a to encourage the application of information technology and to support sustainable investment in electronic commerce

  • The application of intellectual property rules

Copyright legislation governs the way in which content can be commercially exploited and accessed over the Internet

  • Standardization of electronic security

The Summit can encourage broader global engagement in international collaboration on improving e-security, based upon work already underway in international for a

  • Importance of the free flow of information

Developing local content is essential to take full advantage of the Internet as a way for all languages and cultures to communicate



General comments

  • Proposed structure complicated and not very clear
  • Need for a clear and simple concept with a view to mobilising stakeholders and other international organisations
  • Thematic structure could be organised in the form of a grid that would allow for regional input as well as for specific stakeholder input. This could take the form of a subdivision of the overall themes according to the interests of different regional and institutional stakeholders

Detailed comments (relating to an older version of the draft document)

  • Summit should be broad and comprehensive in its scope (as suggested in Paragraph 5).
  • The relationship between "themes" (Paragraph 3) and "key issues" (Paragraph 7) seems neither clear nor convincing. The subdivision into the proposed six sub-themes is somewhat confusing and would like to suggest limiting it, for the time being, to a structure with three main themes. A sub-division may well impose itself once there is a more conceptual clarity with regard to the content.
  • The terms  "Access" and "Applications" (Paragraph 7 - Vision / Access / Applications) fail to reflect the official title of the summit, i.e. "Information Society". They are more technological in nature and relate to ICT rather than to the concept of an Information Society

Switzerland prefers to articulate the structure according to the following dimensions of the theme Information Society:

  • First dimension: “Objectives“ - Declaration of Principles to fall under this heading

What kind of information society do we want?

What are the more specific objectives that are necessary to help bridge the digital divide?

o        Access for all

o        Cultural diversity

o        Sustainable development

o        Freedom of information

o        Regulatory framework and enabling environment

o        Rule of law and security

  • Second dimension: “Instruments“: applications best suited to overcome the problems,  how to make best use of the opportunities and to reach the objectives, what is the value-added of ICT compared to other instruments? Issues to be covered include:

o        Education

o        Health

o        Telecommunications

o        Media

o        Knowledge management

o        E-commerce and e-government

  • Third dimension: "Stakeholders": Implementation of the Plan of Action to fall under this heading. Questions to be addressed:

Who needs what and who does what?

What is the future role of Governments and what is the right distribution of tasks between Governments, the private sector, civil society, international organisations and other stakeholders?

The structural link between the WSIS and the Millenium Declaration, as contained in Section C and Annex 2, seems somewhat artificial and not necessarily conducive to achieving concrete results. Should not determine the structure of debate and outcome. 



Comments on early draft of Document 4:

Paragraph 3: Suggest two additional themes: “Freedom of the Media” and “The Role of ICTs in Good Governance”.

Paragraph 6: Delete last sentence of paragraph “PrepCom needs to determine what is the problem that the Summit is trying to solve”

Paragraph 7A: Prefer “common ground” or a “shared vision”

Paragraph 7C: Remove first sentence “The development of ICTs is primarily driven by commercial concerns

Paragraph 11: Clarification on the identity of the “participants”

Paragraph 19: More emphasis on success stories, private sector participation, market liberalization, and creation of independent regulatory agencies

Paragraph 25: US is supportive of the concept of “local content” as critical to Internet development world.

Paragraph 30: There should be a reference in the second sentence to the activities of the ITU, especially the World Telecom Development Summit and the Plenipotentiary conference

Annex 1: Fourth bullet “Vision – Opening Gates”: Add “with due consideration to intellectual property rights”

“Developing a Framework”: Delete “and legal exceptions” from second bullet point

 “The Needs of Users”: Eliminate bullet point “Ethics of the Information Society” and remove bullet point “Content Regulation”

Annex 2: US does not support linking the WSIS to the Millennium Declaration Goals as Annex suggests.

Annex should be more flexible in order to include categories that may be refined at the national level

Fourth bullet – replace bullet with “increase access to basic social services, including reproductive health care”. US cannot accept the term “reproductive health services”


EUROPEAN UNION (received 25 June 2002)


WSIS debate should include:

  • Content: respect of languages etc.; development of local content
  • Knowledge: training of human resources required by the Information Society
  • Participation: implication of civil society in economic, technical, local and international choices

Summit should progress towards Global Deal on key topics

  • ICT policies aiming at poverty alleviation and economic wealth
  • Access to knowledge
  • Participation and new mechanisms for governance

Main priorities of the European Union:

  • adoption of policies which support the growth of a European Information Society - e-Europe initiative
  • eEurope 2002: aims to make the EU the world's most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy
  • e-Europe initiative
  • bring the Information Society closer to all citizens of Europe

  • develop economic wealth

  • address growing social needs

  • focus on cultural identity and diversity

  • Implementation of e-Europe initiative
  • Develop faster, safer and cheaper Internet access

  • Invest in people and knowledge

  • Stimulate use of the Internet



  • Format and positioning: (key factor) traditional UN Summit, limited to Heads of State and Government not appropriate. Representation from all interested groups to be sought
  • Public resentment of recent summits: based on perception that policy making processes are not sufficiently transparent. WSIS should show that inclusive processes possible
  • Preparatory process could take twofold approach:

o       Regional preparatory consultation mechanism led by governments but open to other participants

o       Thematic preparatory mechanism able to bring new vision and proposals

o       Key concepts for Regional preparatory mechanism

o       Design a process aiming at establishing national and regional e-Strategies

  •  Set up enabling regulatory and legal frameworks for the development of infrastructures

  •  Adopt and implement indicators in order to benchmark the progress made

o       WSIS not to be an exclusive event for Heads of State/Government – to be complemented and opened up to include all spheres of interest

  • Proposal: Networked Series of Events

o       “Political Summit”: Heads of state/government, civil societies and private sector – convergence point of networked summit with Political Declaration and Action Plan reflecting preparatory process - focused on “Global Deal for the Knowledge Economy”

o       “An Investment marketplace”: bilateral and multilateral donors meet with actors from developing countries to promote access to investment and infrastructure.

Key concept: brokerage on financing the projects with a grass roots approach

Constituencies involved: NGOs, civil society, local development actors, financial community

Interaction within the Networking Summit: identification of difficulties to found specific phases of the projects; challenges represented by the scaling up of local success stories; relation with the other actors (government and private sector) for the development of a project

o       “Connectivity”: opportunity to address infrastructure and networks access

Key concept : Ways and means of  new partnership between private and public sector for developing large infrastructure etc.

Constituencies involved : multilateral/regional organisations, private sector, governments , financial community.

Interaction within the Networking Summit : identification of obstacles to found infrastructures  better synergies between private and public, national and regional, identification of best practices.

o       “Thoughts for the future”: meeting place for academics and visionaries to discuss social, cultural, economic and political elements for future Information Society. Output: agreement on areas of future study and research

o       Issues for society”: standard conference to discuss e.g. cultural issues, local content, education etc.

Key concept : open debate without predetermined agenda, focused on technological issues and social transformation

Constituencies involved : academic, research, network communities

Interaction within the Networking Summit : Will make reports available for Summit and will provide key elements for trends and needs

o       “Governance in the Information Society”: conference for all stakeholder on shared vision. Will deal with various levels of governance: National level e.g. strategies, eGovernment etc., Global level: governance of ICT sector etc.

Key concept : the responsibility and the role of governments and multilateral organisations  in the era of the knowledge economy

Constituencies : policy makers and decision makers from the private sector and the civil society

o       “World-wide media event”: Media sector – discussion of role of media in the Information Society, coverage of all events and outreach to the population all over the world.

Key concept : transformation occurring in the role of the media and directly related to the knowledge economy era, didactic role of the media in the changing environment

Constituency :  media from all over the world

Interaction with the Networking Summit: media will play its role between the public and the Summit, insuring communication until the last couple of miles and reaching citizens everywhere

o       Specific events: Youth and Women. Gender equality to be mainstreamed in each opportunity

Advantages of networked Summit

  • Broad participation by all stake holders

  • Bottom-up participation

  • Discussions of many aspects of Information Society in considerable depth and from a variety of perspectives

  • Heads of State will have possibility to participate in debates in other elements of the Summit


1.       Political Declaration:

  • shared vision of future Knowledge Society,

  • list of agreed objectives

  • set of common principles offering sound bases for policies and rules

  • clear solidarity mechanisms

2.       Results based Plan of Action

3.       Trigger movement to take political and social lead of ongoing transformations towards Knowledge Economy

4.       For effective impact:

  • Associate all key national, regional and international stakeholders

  • Provoke a large scale appropriation of ICTs and their applications

  • Close association of media and educational sphere

5.       Participation of various stakeholders

  • ensure effective follow up of commitments by stakeholders

6.       Challenges

  • Convey to all participants as well as to the average citizen and small and medium enterprises that Information Society also about their daily way of life and working process

7.       Summit and preparatory process should take into account general trend towards growing interdependence and increased globalisation


1.       shared vision of future Knowledge Society

2.       Indicate set of common principles underlying future actions and initiatives:

  • ICT policies aiming at poverty alleviation

  •  Access to information

  • Participation and new mechanisms for governance

Priorities in agreed key objectives

  • Setting the rules: by promoting appropriate e-Policies and strategies

  • Building blocks:

                   i.    Address Access issues

                   ii.    Enhance human capacity development

                   iii.    Benefit from digital opportunities

                   iv.    Foster Entrepreneurship for sustainable economic development

  • Solidarity mechanism

                   i.    Establish and support dedicated initiatives for ICT inclusion of LDCs

                   ii.    Promote ICT for health care

                   iii.    Prioritise ICT in development assistance policies

                   iv.    Translate commitments by governments and non government participants into a Plan of Action


2. Comments from United Nations Organizations

United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)


  • Protecting refugees
  • Seeking asylum for persons who are persecuted or in fear of persecution

Proposed themes for the Summit

  • Government responsibilities (governments to take into account the situation of the refugees in national technological programs especially in education)
  • Developing Infrastructure (enable affordable access to the Internet)
  • Encouraging economies to use electronic information (national policies that reflect this trend and encourage businesses to move with the information age are necessary)
  • Education (education of national economies on the use of electronic information and access to electronic information by NGOs involved in refugee education)


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)

List of thematic conferences on the WSIS website, should include: OECD Global Forum: “Policy Frameworks for Digital Economy”, in co-operation with APEC, January 2003.

The objectives of this Forum include:

  • Gain understanding of the policy implications of the challenges and opportunities of the next decade of development of information society
  • Promote consensus on broad principles of policy strategies to encourage development of digital economy and global information society, to ensure greatest participation in global information society and to maximize and widely share the benefits of the global digital economy
  • Clarify the roles of the various stakeholders

Outcome or deliverables of this Forum will be transmitted to WSIS.


World Health Organization (WHO)

Proposal: A session on health

Title of session: “The vital role of the information society in health development”


  • Demonstrate the range of needs, models and impact of using information and communication technology (ICT) in support of health care, research and policy.
  • Outline the issues, problems and progress in efforts to provide equitable access to health information
  • Ensure that health institutions are given high attention when building and financing connectivity and infrastructure
  • Stimulate interest in private sector and governments to support WHO’s work (health systems development, Health InterNetwork)


  • Examine ideological, economic, professional and political issues – the use of ICTs in health development.
  • Show how effective use of ICTs can contribute to the delivery of health services, the conduct and sharing of health research and the formation of sound health policy.
  • Present research, experience and policy studies from the health sector and related sectors, to highlight the many issues in the use of ICTs for health in a networked world.

Examples of topics:

  • International level: the role of international agencies: multi-government policies, standards, infrastructure investment and agreements (e.g. intellectual property):
  • National level: government policies and practices that affect private sector investment and infrastructure and uptake of ICTs in the health sector:
  • Local level: use and impact of ICTs on health services, research and policy

WHO is prepared to design the WSIS Health session in cooperation with other partners. However, no direct resources are available from WHO.


United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)


  • E-business for development
  • E-business opportunities for economic diversification in the least developed countries;
  • E-business as a means to increase the share of developing countries in value-creation chains: tourism, commodities, etc.
  • The role of e-finance in promoting entrepreneurship in developing countries
  • E-logistics: quicker, cheaper access to foreign markets
  • E-government and business: improving efficiency, promoting good governance
  • Transfer and diffusion of ICTs
  • Examination of the extent to which ICTs are being used and diffused in developing countries
  • Identifying strategic policy options aimed at helping countries at the bottom of the scale in technology development catch up and those keeping pace to become more competitive

Main activities of UNCTAD in the field of ICTs and the information society

Electronic Commerce and Development (

The ASYCUDA Programme - Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA). Reform and modernize the management of the customs administrations of developing countries and countries with economies in transition (

ACIS (Advanced Cargo Information System) A logistics information system that used ICT to improve transport efficiency in developing countries by tracking equipment and cargo on transport modes (rail, road, lake/river) and at interfaces (ports, Internal Clearance Depots) and providing information in advance of cargo arrival. ( /

Trade Point Programme – Aims at facilitating the use of ICT by developing and in particular the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) – The CSTD was created by the General Assembly in 1992 to give high-quality advice on Science and Technology to the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and to sever as a forum to discuss and advance understanding on emerging science and technology issues. (


Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Established the World Agricultural Information Centre (WAICENT) for agricultural information management and dissemination, in an effort to fight hunger with information.

Established the Consultation of Agricultural Information Management (COAIM)

  • First consultation: 5-7 June 2000
  • Second Consultation: Rome, 23-25 September 2002


  • The management of agricultural information issues as a contribution to reduce digital divide and ensure food security.


United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (UNECLAC)

A Proposal for a Conceptual Framework on the Information Society

Structuring of the themes and issues of the Information Society in a three–dimensional conceptual framework

  • Horizontal interest
  • Vertical interest
  • Diagonal interest

General architecture of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

Characteristic of ICT: made up of three different technological paths referred to as ICT-convergence.

  • Information technologies (systems which support the flow of information, e.g. printing press)
  • Communication technologies (transmit small messages fast, over a large distance, e.g tele-communications)
  • Informatic applications (technological solutions that help to process information and to codify formerly tacit knowledge and skills, e.g microprocessor).

ICT enables the storage and diffusion of information and its exchange in “real time” (communication) e.g. television.

Example of convergence – A person can:

  • read a book (information)
  • have it translated in a foreign language (informatics – translation software)
  • comment on it “real time” (communication)

Layers of ICT architecture

Infrastructure: “the Net” (physical infrastructure e.g. modems, transmission cables connected to fixed, wireline, wireless or mobile networks.)

Language: enables communication(transformation and retransformation of information into data in order to enable transmission e.g. binary digits over Internet Protocol, digital applications and software)

Structure: “The Web” (structures communication and coordination mechanisms, e.g the World Wide Web is structuring “cyberspace” through hyperlinks)

Content: storage, diffusion and real-time exchange of information part of every sector of society, e.g. commerce health, government and public administration etc.

Concept of “digital conduct” and the process of digitalization

Layers derived from the architecture of modern ICT, which help to structure the concepts of an “Information Society”

Four layers of digital conduct:

  • First layer: Infrastructure Layer – Physical creation of “the Net”, build-out of a computer network, telephone lines, fiber-optic networks, wireless networks. Companies in this layer include telecom operators, electronics companies, equipment producers
  • Second layer: Applications Layer – Products and services in this layer build on the First layer infrastructure to make it technologically feasible in order to create value. Software production e.g Microsoft, web hosting, browser and multimedia applications fall into this category
  • Third layer: Intermediary Layer – increases the efficiency of electronic markets by structuring communication in a certain way i.e. facilitation of meetings and interactions of online activities. Examples include portals like Yahoo, electronic market places like Mercado Electronico, governmental of civil society sites and international organizations.
  • Fourth layer: Fulfillment Layer – digitalizing part of the final performance. Fulfillment could take place in e.g health sector, education, entertainment, public administration etc. In business sector, participants differentiated by different segments: B2B, B2C, B2G etc. (digitalization most advanced in this sector).

HORIZONTAL AREAS : Where “Infrastructure Layer” and “Applications Layer” set the ground on which the process of digitalization takes place. Necessary, but not sufficient for the creation of an Information society

VERTICAL AREAS of the Information Society: different sectors of society, which are subject to the process of digitalization, build up vertically onto the horizontal groundwork. The stage of development of an Information Society can be shown through them.

DIAGONAL AREAS – process of digitalization needs to supported by a number of interrelated fields. These issues penetrate diagonally different subjects that belong to both horizontal areas and vertical areas. The inclusion of different diagonal areas enables to identify issues that require adjustment in the existing environment and to find policies to support the creation of an Information Society. Examples of diagonal areas:

Regulatory framework:

Horizontal areas:

  • “Infrastructure”:. telecommunications regulation, liberalization and competition in telecom sector, technical standards etc.
  • “Applications layer”: standards for software agents, open vs. proprietary software etc.

Vertical areas

  • Legislation relating to secure data transmission and privacy, special legislation for specific vertical areas e.g. special privacy laws in the e-health sector etc.

Human capital: “life-long-learning”, “on-the-job-training”, required professional profiles etc

Horizontal areas:

  • telecommunication engineers, software programmers etc.

Vertical areas:

  • entrepreneurship, training of the workforce in the health/public sector, training teachers etc.

Financing mechanisms: foreign investment in telecommunications market etc. (Infrastructure/Applications layer)

Vertical Areas

  • Ways need to be found to finance adequate application required by specific and local vertical areas

Financing in the e-business sector – creation of Venture Capital markets etc.

Horizontal and Vertical Areas

  • General trade issues and economic support

Establishment and implementation of development Strategies: can be employed for every single one of the different horizontal and vertical areas or can aim for an integrated approach.

Local ICT initiatives, national development strategies, public-private sector partnerships, regional efforts and global initiatives etc for achieving a large variety of socioeconomic development goals through the help of ICT


Originates in the Infrastructure Layer.

Extends to Application Layer – ICT-access costs are a combination of hardware and software pricing.

Vertical area: connectivity of companies, municipalities, connectivity in schools, hospitals etc.


International Labour Organization (ILO)

Suggested Themes

1. Rapid evolution of ICTs contributing to the widening income and social gaps both within and across countries.

  • Economies with poor infrastructure, scarce human resources, limited entrepreneurial skills, volatile financial markets and weak judicial system will find it increasingly difficult to integrate themselves into global supply chain.
  • ICTs changing the operations of markets for goods, services and production factors.
  • Economies where enterprises profit from low-cost intermediary goods and which can integrate effectively to supply chains will become increasingly competitive, edging out firms in less well-endowed countries.
  • Low labour costs will cease to be, on their own, competitive advantages.

2. Development of ICTs has enhanced the growth of global supply chains.

  • Important consequences over the structure and survival of firms in developed and developing countries alike.
  • Structures of sectors being transformed into “virtual” corporations with highly adaptable subcontractors around the world.
  • International division of labour can be affected by these transformations.

3. Affordable, sustainable and accessible communication necessary, but not sufficient for economic growth and social progress.

4. Active participation of workers and their organization essential to harness the benefits of new technologies.

  • Governments and employers’ organizations must play active role in the preparation and implementation of integrated policies to harness benefits of ICTs.

5. Introduction of specific computer based applications can radically change labour demand and might increasingly shift labour from developing to developed countries.

  • International efforts to bolster the use of, and training in, open sources operating systems and software indispensable.
  • Will ensure that developing countries jumpstart their own efforts in this field.

6. Unequal access to telecommunications leads to unequal access to employment.

  • Public authorities and employers’ and workers’ organizations could join forces to strengthen labour market information systems and develop strategies to improve access to these systems.

7. Widely available information facilitates social participation.

  • Workers’ and employers’ organizations must be empowered to develop own information systems to enhance communications with respective memberships.

8. WSIS should explore digital divide as contributing factor to global social deficit. Should expand policy scope to include factors that limit the effective use of new technologies, and emphasize the role of social actors as agents of change. Summit could suggest:

a)      Stimulate demand for information services and products by:

                                 i.    Strengthening managerial skills to permit effective use of richer, more pertinent and reliable data.

                               ii.    Ensuring conditions to permit local enterprises to participate competitively in supply chains.

                              iii.    Enhancing public statistical and economic data sets to improve policy formulation and improve marketing exercises.

                             iv.    Improve accessibility, quality, reliability and scope of labour market information systems.

                               v.    Developing business development services that place emphasis on the appropriate use of information and provide services to harness it.

                             vi.    Promoting associative or cooperative use of infrastructure and services to permit small enterprises, workers and organizations affordable access to information services.

                            vii.    Adopt e-government strategies contracted locally and based on publicly available open source code.

b)      Enhance human resource development by:

                             i.      Enforcing high quality education for all.

                            ii.      Introducing life-long training practices and strengthening retraining for unemployed workers.

                          iii.      Promoting the use of open source code throughout the educational system.

c)              Facilitate introduction of new information and communication technologies by:

                           i.      Ensuring active tripartite dialogue on the economic transformations required.

                         ii.      Hosting Internet sites and virtual fora for social partners and providing technical support for development and use of such facilities.

                        iii.      Generating wide public debate on importance of training and information as a means to enhance the competitiveness and democracy in societies.

d)  Adopt macroeconomic policies that minimize the cost of operating telecommunications and data processing equipment and of accessing the corresponding services.


World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

1. Theme: “Opening the gates”

WMO sub-theme: The information society for mitigating natural disasters and dangerous weather related phenomena: universal and equitable access to meteorological, hydrological and related information and warnings

·         Severe weather impacts almost the entire world

·         Universal and equitable access to meteorological, hydrological and related information. To be effective, information must reach people in a timely fashion and in suitable forms and formats

·         Information Society will help pave way for sustainable development for developing and less-developed countries

·         Equitable access to information and warnings on release of hazardous materials into the atmosphere and water bodies

·         WMO Programmes of direct relevance to sub-theme:

Ø      World Weather Watch Programme (WWW)

Ø      Tropical Cyclone Programme

Ø      Public Weather Services Programme

Ø      Emergency Response Activities Programme

Ø      Marine Meteorology and Related Oceanographic Activities Programme

Ø      Hydrology and Water Resources Programme (HWRP)


2. Theme: “Services and Applications

WMO sub-theme: The information society – Access to meteorological, hydrological and climatological information for economic and social development

·         Provision of and access to weather information, forecasts and warnings along with climatological and hydrological data and analyses

·         Access to meteorological, hydrological and climatological information of crucial importance for the sustainable development of developing and less-developed countries

·         WMO Programmes of direct relevance to sub-theme:

Ø      World Weather Watch Programme (WWW)

Ø      Public Weather Services Programme

Ø      Marine Meteorology and Related Oceanographic Activities Programme

Ø      Agricultural Meteorology Programme

Ø      Aeronautical Meteorology Programme

Ø      Hydrology and Water Resources Programme (HWRP)

Ø      World Climate Programme (WCP)

Ø      Atmospheric Research and Environment Programme (AREP)


3. Theme: “Developing a framework”

WMO sub-theme: The information society for the universal exchange of meteorological and related information

·   WMO commits itself to broadening and enhancing free and unrestricted international exchange of meteorological and related data and products


World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Proposal: Intellectual Property and the Creation of Value in the Information Society

Elements to be considered:

1.       General introduction to the intellectual property system in the digital age.

2.       Intellectual property as a central intangible asset in the digital economy, knowledge and information as new factors of production and growth, the concept of “intellectual capital”.

3.       Intellectual property system as an indispensable element of the institutional, social, cultural and economic infrastructure.

4.       Intellectual property as an indispensable instrument for balancing creativity and reward in the digital age.

5.       Digital developments and global phenomena reinforcing the role of the individual in the knowledge-based economy.

6.       The public awareness of the intellectual property advantages as a prerequisite for economic, social and cultural development.

7.       New instruments and approaches, the consequences of “going digital” on classical perceptions of intellectual property.

8.       Public and private partnerships in managing the digital world.

9.       The intellectual property system facing the challenges of technologies – adequate responses, working together in fighting piracy.

10.   The Internet’s influence on leveling the differences between the different players.

11.   The future of the intellectual property system - ongoing and future projects undertaken by WIPO; WIPO’s response to the challenges – expanding the intellectual property universe to new policy areas such as trade, the Internet, allowing the system to adapt through the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), contributing to the efficiency of the domain names system, etc.  



United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (received June 21 2002)

Main challenges that WSIS has to address:

  1. Digital divide
  2. Work towards ensuring the free flow of, and equitable access to, data, information, best practices and knowledge across all sectors and disciplines
  3. Build international consensus on newly required norms and principles to respond to emerging ethical challenges and dilemmas of the information society

A. UNESCO’s Input to WSIS

Core mission of UNESCO: Promote “the free exchange of ideas and knowledge” and to “maintain, increase and diffuse knowledge”

Strategic thrusts of the Organization:

·         Developing universal principles and norms, based on shared values, in order to meet emerging challenges in education, science, culture and communication and to protect and strengthen the “common good”;

·         Promoting pluralism, through recognition and enhancement of diversity together with the observance of human rights;

·         Promoting empowerment and participation in the Information Society through equitable access, capacity-building and sharing of knowledge.

Growth of networks and ICT applications will not in itself provide the foundations for knowledge societies – constructing and disseminating knowledge with its intrinsically complex and cognitive elements, is a far more intricate and costly process.

Information is not enough – the information society to be shaped in a way that it evolves into knowledge societies that fully respect the huge diversity of cultures and identities and the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.

UNESCO puts emphasis on content aspect of the Information Society, including sociocultural and ethical dimensions

UNESCO’s contribution to the Summit focuses on four main objectives:

1.       WSIS proposed themes: Opening the Gates/Developing a framework

UNESCO: Agreeing on common principles for the construction of knowledge societies

Principles and actions for consideration by the Summit 


·          The Information Society should be strongly based on a commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms and should in particular ensure the full realization of the right to education and all cultural rights as well as freedom of expression as fundamental human rights.

·          In the Information Society, access to the public domain of information and knowledge for educational and cultural  purposes must be as broad as possible.

·          Information must be of high quality, diversified and reliable.

·          The Information Society must ensure the diversity of languages, scripts and cultures.


·          Consensus-building among States, intergovernmental and non-governmental  organizations, civil society and the private sector on a number of basic principles, concepts, objectives, policies and practices for progressing towards equitable knowledge societies.

·          Awareness-raising and design of patterns of cooperation that are most conducive to diversity of supply and effective participation of all countries as producers and consumers of information, knowledge, as well as cultural works.

·          Encourage linguistic diversity as well as the production, safeguard and dissemination of diversified contents in the media and global information networks, promote the role of public radio and television services in the development of audiovisual productions of good quality, in particular by fostering the establishment of cooperative mechanisms to facilitate their distribution.

·          Ensure protection of copyright and related rights and fair remuneration of creative work, while at the same time upholding a public right to access to information.

·          Recognize and encourage private sector’s contribution to enhance cultural diversity in the Information Society.

·          Produce studies and research on the impact of the information society, in particular on education, science and culture, and foster the exchange of knowledge and best practices in this respect.


2. WSIS proposed theme: The needs of the users

    UNESCO: Promoting the use of ICTs for empowerment, governance and social participation

Principles and actions for consideration by the Summit


·         The Information Society is only equitable if all people, including disadvantaged and marginalized groups, as well as  women and youth benefit equally from ICTs for network strengthening, information sharing, creating knowledge resources and developing skills necessary for life/work in the new digital environment.

·          The enhancement of dialogue between citizens and public authorities must be one of the major objectives of the Information Society.

·          The Information Society must be based on the sharing of information and the genuine participation of social groups at various levels; and on the use of ICT as a means of empowering local communities and help them combat marginalization, poverty and exclusion.


·          Consensus building on common shared values and ethical principles that should underlie the Information Society.

·          Promoting the creation and sharing of local content and ICT applications and studying their impact.

·          Fostering increased participation of citizens in civic life and in decision making by means of ICTs.

·          Strengthening capacity building for ICT use by citizens including through networked MCTs and CMCs.

·          Promoting the development of appropriate information and communication tools to support decision making and to encourage dialogue.

·          Encouraging the formulation of policies for enhancing the role of women and youth in the Information Society, and the diffusion of information on gender and ICT policy issues.

·          Promoting the access to information and knowledge sources of youth as a prerequisite for their competent social choice, behaviour and participation.

·          Improving training of women and youth in ICT literacy and technical skills in order to enable them to enter empowered into the information society.

3. WSIS proposed themes: Services and applications

UNESCO: Strengthening capacities for scientific research, information sharing, cultural creation, performances and exchanges

Principles and actions for consideration by the Summit


·         For the Information Society to be equitable for all, access to and participation in all forms of intellectual activity for educational, scientific, cultural and communication purposes must be ensured.

·         The production and dissemination of educational, scientific and cultural materials and the preservation of the digital heritage should be regarded as crucial elements of the Information Society.

·          Networks of specialists and of virtual interest groups should be developed as they are key to efficient and effective exchanges and cooperation in the Information Society.


·          Enhancing the capabilities of national institutions in developing countries to adapt to the demands of the information society.

·          Improving access by developing countries to ICTs for scientific data and information dissemination.

·          Increasing effective use of ICTs for better transmission and sharing of scientific knowledge at all levels, including establishment of virtual universities, also taking into account local and indigenous knowledge.

·          Fostering use of ICTs by cultural industries in developing countries.

·          Contributing to broadening international exchange of cultural goods and services through development of endogenous cultural industries; fostering use of ICTs for exhibition, promotion and marketing of cultural works.

·          Developing an international framework for the preservation of digital heritage

4. WSIS proposed theme: ICTs and Education

UNESCO: Enhancing teaching and learning opportunities through access to diversified contents and delivery systems

Principles and actions for consideration by the Summit  


·          ICTs must contribute to enhancing the quality of teaching and learning, the sharing of knowledge and information.

·          ICTs have the potential to introduce in the educational process a higher degree of flexibility in response to societal needs.

·          The potential of ICTs to lower the cost of education and to improve internal and external efficiencies of the education system must be grasped.

·          The Information Society must seize the opportunities of ICTs as innovative and experimental tools to renew education.

·          ICTs should be seen both as educational discipline and as pedagogical tools capable of enhancing the effectiveness of educational services.

·          Broad-based dialogue among all stakeholders and consensus building at national and international levels can yield strategies and policies for expanding access to education and learning, progressing towards EFA targets at country level and renewing formal and non formal education systems.


·          Disseminating knowledge and best practices related to the use of ICTs in education and learning processes and to their impact on education systems (e.g. through online clearing houses and multimedia resource centres).

·          Demonstratring the impact of ICT-based alternative delivery systems through pilot projects, notably for achieving EFA targets.

·          Furthering teacher training in the use of ICTs in education and learning as well as new forms of  networking of teacher institutions and teachers.

·          Promoting the use by governments of ICT-based delivery systems in formal and non-formal education, utilizing different mixes of new and traditional media and appropriate methodologies.

·          Disseminating research results on ICT facilitated dynamics of the teaching/learning process and its impact on content and teacher-learner interaction, in particular as regards distance education and teacher training and development.

·          Fostering international debate and reflection in favour of developing internationally compatible descriptors and standards for distance and e-learning courseware, and for e-learning institutions.

B. UNESCO’s Preparatory Work for the Summit

UNESCO acting on two levels:

1.       governmental level involving Member States through National Commissions for UNESCO

2.       non-governmental level through professional communities and civil society

UNESCO member states involvement

o        Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme

o        Organization of regional UNESCO pre-conferences and symposia in cooperation with the National Commissions for UNESCO

Professional communities and civil society involvement

o        Thematic consultations and regional conferences

Providing background material for discussions and decisions

a)      UNESCO will prepare and widely distribute material on:

·         ICTs and education

·         Cultural diversity and multilingualism

·         Libraries and archives in the Information Society

·         Media in the Information Society etc.

b)      UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) preparing a statistical report giving a global picture of the present status of ICT usage in education, sciences, culture and communication


Consultations with non-governmental organizations - Input of Civil Society and non-governmental organizations for PrepCom1 (see UNESCO contribution at Strategy June 2002.doc)


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