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Agenda for the Information Society – Tunis 2005

D.    Implementation and Follow-up

83.    Building an inclusive development-oriented Information Society will require unremitting multi-stakeholder effort. We thus commit ourselves to remain fully engaged — nationally, regionally and internationally — to ensure sustainable implementation and follow-up of the outcomes and commitments reached during the WSIS process and its Geneva and Tunis phases of the Summit. Taking into account the multifaceted nature of building the Information Society, effective cooperation among governments, private sector, civil society and the United Nations and other international organizations, according to their different roles and responsibilities and leveraging on their expertise, is essential.

84.    Governments and other stakeholders should identify those areas where further effort and resources are required, and jointly identify, and where appropriate develop, implementation strategies, mechanisms and processes for WSIS outcomes at international, regional, national and local levels, paying particular attention to people and groups that are still marginalized in their access to and utilization of ICTs.

85.    Taking into consideration the leading role of governments in partnership with other stakeholders in implementing the WSIS outcomes, including the Geneva Plan of Action, at the national level, we encourage those governments that have not yet done so to elaborate, as appropriate, comprehensive, forward-looking and sustainable national e-strategies, including ICT strategies and sectoral e-strategies as appropriate*, as an integral part of national development plans and poverty reduction strategies, as soon as possible and before 2010.

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*   Throughout this text, further references to “e-strategies” are interpreted as including also ICT strategies and sectoral e-strategies, as appropriate.

86.    We support regional and international integration efforts aimed at building a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, and we reiterate that strong cooperation within and among regions is indispensable to support knowledge-sharing. Regional cooperation should contribute to national capacity building and to the development of regional implementation strategies.

87.    We affirm that the exchange of views and sharing of effective practices and resources is essential to implementing the outcomes of WSIS at the regional and international levels. To this end, efforts should be made to provide and share, among all stakeholders, knowledge and know-how, related to the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of e-strategies and policies, as appropriate. We recognize as fundamental elements to bridging the digital divide in developing countries, in a sustainable way, poverty reduction, enhanced national capacity building and the promotion of national technological development.

88.    We reaffirm that through the international cooperation of governments and the partnership of all stakeholders, it will be possible to succeed in our challenge of harnessing the potential of ICTs as a tool, at the service of development, to promote the use of information and knowledge to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, as well as to address the national and local development priorities, thereby further improving the socio-economic development of all human beings.

89.    We are determined to improve international, regional and national connectivity and affordable access to ICTs and information through an enhanced international cooperation of all stakeholders that promotes technology exchange and technology transfer, human resource development and training, thus increasing the capacity of developing countries to innovate and to participate fully in, and contribute to, the Information Society.

90.    We reaffirm our commitment to providing equitable access to information and knowledge for all, recognizing the role of ICTs for economic growth and development. We are committed to working towards achieving the indicative targets, set out in the Geneva Plan of Action, that serve as global references for improving connectivity and universal, ubiquitous, equitable, non-discriminatory and affordable access to, and use of ICTs, considering different national circumstances, to be achieved by 2015, and to using ICTs, as a tool to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, by:

a)    Mainstreaming and aligning national e-strategies, across local, national, and regional action plans, as appropriate and in accordance with local and national development priorities, with in-built time-bound measures.

b)    Developing and implementing enabling policies that reflect national realities and that promote a supportive international environment, foreign direct investment as well as the mobilization of domestic resources, in order to promote and foster entrepreneurship, particularly Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs), taking into account the relevant market and cultural contexts. These policies should be reflected in a transparent, equitable regulatory framework to create a competitive environment to support these goals and strengthen economic growth.

c)    Building ICT capacity for all and confidence in the use of ICTs by all —including youth, older persons, women, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and remote and rural communities — through the improvement and delivery of relevant education and training programmes and systems including lifelong and distance learning. 

d)    Implementing effective training and education, particularly in ICT science and technology, that motivates and promotes participation and active involvement of girls and women in the decision-making process of building the Information Society.

e)    Paying special attention to the formulation of universal design concepts and the use of assistive technologies that promote access for all persons including those with disabilities.

f)    Promoting public policies aimed at providing affordable access at all levels, including community-level, to hardware as well as software and connectivity through an increasingly converging technological environment, capacity building and local content. 

g)    Improving access to the world’s health knowledge and telemedicine services, in particular in areas such as global cooperation in emergency response, access to and networking among health professionals to help improve quality of life and environmental conditions. 

h)    Building ICT capacities to improve access and use of postal networks and services. 

i)    Using ICTs to improve access to agricultural knowledge, combat poverty, and support production of and access to locally relevant agriculture-related content.

j)    Developing and implementing e-government applications based on open standards in order to enhance the growth and interoperability of e-government systems, at all levels, thereby furthering access to government information and services, and contributing to building ICT networks and developing services that are available anywhere and anytime, to anyone and on any device.

k)    Supporting educational, scientific, and cultural institutions, including libraries, archives and museums, in their role of developing, providing equitable, open and affordable access to, and preserving diverse and varied content, including in digital form, to support informal and formal education, research and innovation; and in particular supporting libraries in their public-service role of providing free and equitable access to information and of improving ICT literacy and community connectivity, particularly in underserved communities.

l)    Enhancing the capacity of communities in all regions to develop content in local and/or indigenous languages.

m)    Strengthening the creation of quality e-content, at national, regional and international levels. 

n)    Promoting the use of traditional and new media in order to foster universal access to information, culture and knowledge for all people, especially vulnerable populations and populations in developing countries and using, inter alia, radio and television as educational and learning tools.

o)    Reaffirming the independence, pluralism and diversity of media, and freedom of information including through, as appropriate, the development of domestic legislation, we reiterate our call for the responsible use and treatment of information by the media in accordance with the highest ethical and professional standards. We reaffirm the necessity of reducing international imbalances affecting the media, particularly as regards infrastructure, technical resources and the development of human skills. These reaffirmations are made with reference to Geneva Declaration of Principles paragraphs 55 to 59.

p)    Strongly encouraging ICT enterprises and entrepreneurs to develop and use environment-friendly production processes in order to minimize the negative impacts of the use and manufacture of ICTs and disposal of ICT waste on people and the environment. In this context, it is important to give particular attention to the specific needs of the developing countries.

q)    Incorporating regulatory, self-regulatory, and other effective policies and frameworks to protect children and young people from abuse and exploitation through ICTs into national plans of action and e-strategies.

r)    Promoting the development of advanced research networks, at national, regional and international levels, in order to improve collaboration in science, technology and higher education.

s)    Promoting voluntary service, at the community level, to help maximize the developmental impact of ICTs.

t)    Promoting the use of ICTs to enhance flexible ways of working, including teleworking, leading to greater productivity and job creation.

91.    We recognize the intrinsic relationship between disaster reduction, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and that disasters seriously undermine investment in a very short time and remain a major impediment to sustainable development and poverty eradication. We are clear as to the important enabling role of ICTs at the national, regional and international levels, including:

a)    Promoting technical cooperation and enhancing the capacity of countries, particularly developing countries, in utilizing ICT tools for disaster early-warning, management and emergency communications, including dissemination of understandable warnings to those at risk.

b)    Promoting regional and international cooperation for easy access to and sharing of information for disaster management, and exploring modalities for the easier participation of developing countries.

c)    Working expeditiously towards the establishment of standards-based monitoring and worldwide early-warning systems linked to national and regional networks and facilitating emergency disaster response all over the world, particularly in high-risk regions.

92.    We encourage countries, including all other interested parties, to make available child helplines, taking into account the need for mobilization of appropriate resources. For this purpose, easy-to-remember numbers, accessible from all phones and free of charge, should be made available.

93.    We seek to digitize our historical data and cultural heritage for the benefit of future generations. We encourage effective information management policies in the public and private sectors, including the use of standards-based digital archiving and innovative solutions to overcome technological obsolescence, as a means to ensure long-term preservation of, and continued access to, information.

94.    We acknowledge that everyone should benefit from the potential that the Information Society offers. Therefore, we invite governments to assist, on a voluntary basis, those countries affected by any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations that impedes the full achievement of economic and social development by the population of the affected countries, and that hinders the well-being of their population.

95.    We call upon international and intergovernmental organizations to develop, within approved resources, their policy analysis and capacity-building programmes, based on practical and replicable experiences of ICT matters, policies and actions that have led to economic growth and poverty alleviation, including through the improved competitiveness of enterprises.

96.    We recall the importance of creating a trustworthy, transparent and non-discriminatory legal, regulatory and policy environment. To that end, we reiterate that ITU and other regional organizations should take steps to ensure rational, efficient and economic use of, and equitable access to, the radio-frequency spectrum by all countries, based on relevant international agreements. 

97.    We acknowledge that multi-stakeholder participation is essential to the successful building of a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society and that governments could play an important role in this process. We underline that the participation of all stakeholders in implementing WSIS outcomes, and following them up on national, regional and international levels with the overarching goal of helping countries to achieve internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, is key to that success.

98.    We encourage strengthened and continuing cooperation between and among stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of the Geneva and Tunis outcomes: for instance, through the promotion of national, regional and international multi-stakeholder partnerships including Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), and the promotion of national and regional multi-stakeholder thematic platforms, in a joint effort and dialogue with developing and less developed countries, development partners and actors in the ICT sector. In that respect, we welcome partnerships such as the ITU-led Connect the World initiative.

99.    We agree to ensure the sustainability of progress towards the goals of WSIS after the completion of its Tunis phase and we decide, therefore, to establish a mechanism for implementation and follow-up at national, regional and international levels.

100.    At the national level, based on the WSIS outcomes, we encourage governments, with the participation of all stakeholders and bearing in mind the importance of an enabling environment, to set up a national implementation mechanism, in which:

a)    National e-strategies, where appropriate, should be an integral part of national development plans, including Poverty Reduction Strategies, aiming to contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.

b)    ICTs should be fully mainstreamed into strategies for Official Development Assistance (ODA) through more effective information-sharing and coordination among development partners, and through analysis and sharing of best practices and lessons learned from experience with ICT for development programmes.

c)    Existing bilateral and multilateral technical assistance programmes, including those under the UN Development Assistance Framework, should be used whenever appropriate to assist governments in their implementation efforts at the national level. 

d)    Common Country Assessment Reports should contain a component on ICT for development.

101.    At the regional level:

a)    Upon request from governments, regional intergovernmental organizations in collaboration with other stakeholders should carry out WSIS implementation activities, exchanging information and best practices at the regional level, as well as facilitating policy debate on the use of ICT for development, with a focus on attaining the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.

b)    UN Regional Commissions, based on request of Member States and within approved budgetary resources, may organize regional WSIS follow-up activities in collaboration with regional and sub-regional organizations, with appropriate frequency, as well as assisting members states with technical and relevant information for the development of regional strategies and the implementation of the outcomes of regional conferences.

c)    We consider a multi-stakeholder approach and the participation in regional WSIS implementation activities by the private sector, civil society, and the United Nations and other international organizations to be essential.

102.    At the international level, bearing in mind the importance of the enabling environment:

a)    Implementation and follow-up of the outcomes of the Geneva and Tunis phases of the Summit should take into account the main themes and action lines in the Summit documents.

b)    Each UN agency should act according to its mandate and competencies, and pursuant to decisions of their respective governing bodies, and within existing approved resources.

c)    Implementation and follow-up should include intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder components.

103.    We invite UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations, in line with UNGA Resolution 57/270 B, to facilitate activities among different stakeholders, including civil society and the business sector, to help national governments in their implementation efforts. We request the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with members of the UN system Chief Executives Board for coordination (CEB), to establish within the CEB, a UN group on the Information Society consisting of the relevant UN bodies and organizations with the mandate to facilitate the implementation of WSIS outcomes and to suggest to CEB that, in considering lead agency(ies) of this group, it takes into consideration the experience of and activities in the WSIS process undertaken by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP.

104.    We further request the UN Secretary-General to report to the UNGA through ECOSOC by June 2006, on the modalities of the interagency coordination of the implementation of WSIS outcomes including recommendations on the follow-up process.

105.    We request that ECOSOC oversees the system-wide follow-up of the Geneva and Tunis outcomes of WSIS. To this end, we request that ECOSOC, at its substantive session of 2006, reviews the mandate, agenda and composition of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), including considering the strengthening of the Commission, taking into account the multi-stakeholder approach.

106.    WSIS implementation and follow-up should be an integral part of the UN integrated follow-up to major UN conferences and should contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals. It should not require the creation of any new operational bodies.

107.    International and regional organizations, should assess and report regularly on universal accessibility of nations to ICTs, with the aim of creating equitable opportunities for the growth of ICT sectors of developing countries.

108.    We attach great importance to multi-stakeholder implementation at the international level, which should be organized taking into account the themes and action lines in the Geneva Plan of Action, and moderated or facilitated by UN agencies when appropriate. An Annex to this document offers an indicative and non-exhaustive list of facilitators/ moderators for the action lines of the Geneva Plan of Action

109.    The experience of, and the activities undertaken by, UN agencies in the WSIS process — notably ITU, UNESCO and UNDP — should continue to be used to their fullest extent. These three agencies should play leading facilitating roles in the implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action and organize a meeting of moderators/facilitators of action lines, as mentioned in the Annex

110.    The coordination of multi-stakeholder implementation activities would help to avoid duplication of activities. This should include, inter alia, information exchange, creation of knowledge, sharing of best practices, and assistance in developing multi-stakeholder and public/private partnerships.

111.    We request the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to make an overall review of the implementation of WSIS outcomes in 2015.

112.    We call for periodic evaluation, using an agreed methodology, such as described in paragraphs 113-120.

113.    Appropriate indicators and benchmarking, including community connectivity indicators, should clarify the magnitude of the digital divide, in both its domestic and international dimensions, and keep it under regular assessment, and track global progress in the use of ICTs to achieve internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals.

114.    The development of ICT indicators is important for measuring the digital divide. We note the launch, in June 2004, of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, and its efforts:

a)    to develop a common set of core ICT indicators; to increase the availability of internationally comparable ICT statistics as well as to establish a mutually agreed framework for their elaboration, for further consideration and decision by the UN Statistical Commission;

b)    to promote capacity building in developing countries for monitoring the Information Society;

c)    to assess the current and potential impact of ICTs on development, poverty reduction;

d)    to develop specific gender-disaggregated indicators to measure the digital divide in its various dimensions. 

115.    We also note the launch of the ICT Opportunity Index and the Digital Opportunity Index, which will build upon the common set of core ICT indicators as they were defined within the Partnership on Measuring the ICT for Development

116.    We stress that all indices and indicators must take into account different levels of development and national circumstances.

117.    The further development of these indicators should be undertaken in a collaborative, cost-effective and non-duplicative fashion.

118.    We invite the international community to strengthen the statistical capacity of developing countries by giving appropriate support at national and regional levels.

119.    We commit ourselves to review and follow up progress in bridging the digital divide, taking into account the different levels of development among nations, so as to achieve the internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, assessing the effectiveness of investment and international cooperation efforts in building the Information Society, identifying gaps as well as deficits in investment and devising strategies to address them.

120.    The sharing of information related to the implementation of WSIS outcomes is an important element of evaluation. We note with appreciation the Report on the Stocktaking of WSIS-related activities, which will serve as one of the valuable tools for assisting with the follow-up, beyond the conclusion of the Tunis phase of the Summit, as well as the Golden Book of initiatives launched during the Tunis phase. We encourage all WSIS stakeholders to continue to contribute information on their activities to the public WSIS stocktaking database, maintained by ITU. In this regard, we invite all countries to gather information at the national level with the involvement of all stakeholders, to contribute to the stocktaking.

121.    There is a need to build more awareness of the Internet in order to make it a global facility which is truly available to the public. We call upon the UNGA to declare 17 May as World Information Society Day to help to raise awareness, on an annual basis, of the importance of this global facility, on the issues dealt with in the Summit, especially the possibilities that the use of ICTs can bring for societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.

122.    We request the Secretary-General of the Summit to report to the General Assembly of the United Nations on its outcome, as requested in UNGA Resolution 59/220

Tunis, 18 November 2005

 

 

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