A Call for Collaboration
As a kick-off to the Subcommittee 2
meeting, speakers from the observers group, which consists of civil society,
business community and international organizations, reported briefly on their
discussions of Monday afternoon. They emphasized the need for strong
collaboration between the observer contingent and government representatives.
A civil society representative drew
delegates’ attention to the civil society contribution to PrepCom-1, which
represents a consensus from the wide range of civil society participants. The
group is also preparing a short document on what it considers to be essential
elements of the declaration. The points raised in that document include the
concern that the shaping of the future not be left to market forces alone, as
well as the need to ensure freedom and diversity of the media.
Speaking on behalf of the business
community, others from the observers group highlighted the involvement of the
business world, particularly when it comes to the funding and support for
concrete projects foreseen under the action plan.
Several government delegations echoed the
call for constructive interaction between the two groups, voicing their wish to
work closely alongside civil society representatives to ensure the most
inclusive and comprehensive approach possible to reflect real cultural
A Human Centre for ICT Development
‘We recognize the efforts made by
governments to move the key themes away from pure technology, and towards
broader issues’ as one civil society representative had said in his report to
Subcommittee 2. Indeed, as it began its second session, the working group on the
draft declaration focused on the needs of humans at the epicentre of the
changing world of technology. In what one delegation termed as ‘the new world
order’ of the knowledge society, many voices from the government sector called
for a declaration that reflects human concerns, human rights and local and
community needs – in terms of access, content and affordability. They must, to
quote another speaker, strike a balance between infrastructure and
The working group continued to flesh out
the content of what will become a new version of the working document to form
the basis of the draft declaration. As delegates made their contributions,
elements of the Beirut and Tokyo declarations were often cited, as were the UN
Millennium Declaration and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all of
which were felt to provide valuable additional material for the draft document.
While the human rights elements were seen
as forming good material for the preamble to the declaration, the regional
inputs on security, an enabling environment, and the management of domain names
were considered valuable content for the vision and principles sections. There
was strong feeling that the concept of security should be widened to include
global ICT governance, including Internet governance.
Another key issue raised by delegates is
the need to ensure multilingualism as a priority for both technology and
content; this is seen as a key to ensuring broader ICT access. As one delegate
pointed out, in an international conference such as a PrepCom, communication
through ICTs and simultaneous translation into several world languages is the
norm. Similarly, he said, in global communication, multilingualism and
technology should come together to reinforce mutual understanding – with equal
participation by all. Coupled with this priority is the issue of access to
open-source software – one of the ways to promote affordability and the
generation of local content in less developed communities.
These issues went hand-in-hand with
another priority that was frequently stressed by delegates: the need for
internationally harmonized standardization, without which the technologies,
software and content can never become truly global.
None of these elements, it was emphasized
by many, will be viable without an adequate and harmonized policy and regulatory
framework, which forms an important catalyst for investment and creativity in
the information society. Recalling some of the points made during the roundtable
sessions, speakers called for a constructive balance between regulation and
freedom of expression in regulatory and intellectual property.
Turning Words into Action
The working group turned its attention to
the draft action plan in the afternoon. As delegations put forward proposals and
comments, discussions on the content of the action plan ranged from the general
to the specific. In the words of one delegate, the action plan should be where
heads of State ‘put their money where their mouths are’. While the
declaration of principles will set out the general statements, the action plan
is where commitments to action will be made, he thought. This speaker made one
suggestion of a concrete action which States might consider: namely their
adhesion to the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime – for which
countries outside the European Union are eligible. This would engage them in a
concrete way and would increase participation in international exchange and
harmonization of cybercrime – and security - policies.
Another specific project suggested was to
gauge levels of implementation of actions and levels of ICT penetration against
tangible and measurable targets. This proposal foresees the development of a set
of international indicators to measure the level and success of implementation
of ICTs. The aim would be to make the prioritization of actions more objective,
and to ensure that they address realities on the ground.
In addition, there were various
suggestions for funding initiatives - including the proposal that a certain
percentage of national budgets be earmarked for ICT development in order to help
bridge the digital divide. If the information society is to be in the service of
the human individual, one delegate stated, then the balance between the
information ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ needs to be restored by a long way:
well over half of the world’s population lives in developing countries, he
reminded the group.
Global Media Governance – A Beginner's Guide
Nations Research Institute for Social Development took the opportunity of
PrepCom-2 to launch its latest report entitled. ‘Global Media Governance
– A Beginner’s Guide’.
identifies the key influencing forces and elements in media governance at the
global level. As governance encompasses regulation, questions addressed include:
Why do we regulate the various media at all? What currently are the major forms
of global regulation, and how do they work? Who participates in, and who
benefits from, media regulatory and governance structures? And what are the
trends? The rising influence of the media underscores the importance of finding
answers to such questions. The "Guide" fills an important void and is
designed primarily for policy makers, scholars, activists, media and
communication professionals. Sean O Siochru, Director of Nexus Research, Dublin,
Ireland and Bruce Girard, researcher at Delft University of Technology in the
Netherlands, author the book. For more information on UNRISD and this book
A Final Vision
last in a series of lunchtime presentations focusing on a number of key
considerations for the information age was held. ICTs for education and
building human capital was presented by Frances Cairncross, Management
Editor, The Economist .
Ms Cairncross noted that ICT in education holds out much
promises - of lower costs, wider access and more precise delivery of the right
course at the right level and the right time. But experience so far has been
mixed. She reviewed what has been achieved so far, examined the possibilities
for the future and the scope of overcoming some of the challenges that have
emerged. For all six of the excellent presentations in the ‘Visions of the
Information Society’ series consult www.itu.int/osg/spu/visions.
The final report on the
eight WSIS roundtables is now available on the web at www.itu.int/wsis/preparatory/prepcom/pc2/roundtables/index.html.
This includes links to the report, as well as the video and audio
archives of the panelist presentations.
For media information concerning the second phase of the Summit, click
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