At the beginning of the session we reaffirmed the basic principles for human rights, ethics and dignity as laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter for Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the Unesco Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
The vast problematic of ICT multilinguism and cultural diversity was then addressed specifically. How it deeply impacts our patterns of thinking and creating, the fostering of innovation and transmission of knowledge, of inclusive development. It was also stressed that multilinguism and the respect of cultural diversity has an ethical dimension of dignity and equity. It implies a level of public policy, notably in education and training schemes, administration, libraries, city planning, culture, e-heath, etc. ICT language facilities are key for basic education, training and lifelong learning, as well as for creativity and content creation. The use of native languages on the Internet stimulates local innovation, new educational schemes, new forms of solidarity, including for tackling migration issues worldwide. With the increased pervasiveness of ICT, ordinary citizens are now faced in the cyberspace with issues such as big data, data protection, renewable energy, smart cities, e-health, migrations, crisis management. Moreover the dynamics of new ICT usages in the “Global South” offer strong potential for growth and development. For all these issues localisation of ICT content and services, notably in native languages will be a key factor for development.
More generally, participants agreed on the following principles:
The WSIS process with Action Lines should pave the way for a world of peace, security, dignity and mutual understanding. ICT multilingual tools and services are crucial to address these societal challenges.
Civil society should cooperate on concrete steps leading to more open and participative actions for non-discriminatory access to knowledge and for effective multilinguism and cultural diversity on the Internet. Besides participating actively in the WSIS process, civil society should be invited to be part of the follow-up of the Unesco Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
There is need to improve communication and coordination between technical and non-technical communities. WSIS should intensify its involvement in this by managing the process and developing research and labelization, notably on language issues, the semantic web, DNS, data classification and archiving in multilingual forms. A universal digital classification of human activities should be undertaken