WSIS and policies
The policy environment for the digital age is at an embryonic stage of development. Issues relating to national e-strategies, universal access, global governance and trade facilitation, privacy protection, freedom of information, intellectual property rights, and network security are of vital social and economic interest to all nations, yet need to be fully defined.
To take the first critical steps in developing an overarching framework for the digital age, the World Summit on the Information Society has acted as an invaluable platform for agreement on certain basic principles, framing the debate on national and international policy issues related to:
- Developing national e-strategies based on an enabling policy and regulatory environment, linked to national economic plans, and recognizing the importance of e-government and e-governance;
- Designing a comprehensive, inclusive and realistic roadmap for global governance of the Information Society;
- Addressing gaps in global frameworks and arrangements that impede the deployment and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs);
- Ensuring universal and affordable access to ICTs;
- Promoting broad participation in ICT-related decision-making and governance arrangements;
- Ensuring that national and international frameworks adequately balance incentives for innovation and creativity, particularly with respect to the empowerment of local private sectors;
- Ensuring privacy in and security of ICT networks while protecting the free flow of information and communication;
- Establishing a framework for privacy protection and network security that builds confidence and trust;
- Promoting open and informative media to ensure freedom of expression and healthy debate;
- Supporting diversity of content and culture and facilitating sharing of knowledge;
- Supporting new models for creation and distribution of local content and its applications, with the principle of freedom of expression as a cornerstone of the Information Society;
- Setting concrete and realizable targets for rural, national, international, school, university and hospital access and connectivity;
- Building human capital via literacy, education, training, and research and development with innovative partnerships and solutions;
- Prioritizing ICT and the media in development assistance policies.
The Summit reached broad agreement on bridging the digital divide, ensuring that no country should be bypassed or left behind by the ICT revolution. For countries, the question is no longer whether to invest in ICT, but how to respond to the profound challenges it poses and take maximum advantage of it.