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More than 60 Heads of State and Government to Participate in WSIS Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by A K Zaman, Italy Nov 27, 2003
Technology   Interviews
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Ambassador Asko Numminen of Finland, Chairman of the PrepCom's Subcommittee 2, conducted the negotiations aimed at narrowing the difference of views on the Declaration of Principles and on the Action Plan. Subcommittee 2 decided to agree to use the "non-paper" of Mr Adama Samassékou, President of Prepcom, as a basis for the negotiations. The non-paper was elaborated after Prepcom 3 following consultations with participants to find consensus on the existing text of the draft Declaration to facilitate the discussions of the resumed session. PrepCom worked on the premise that "nothing is agreed unless everything is agreed" so that some text could find resolution without prejudging the negotiations on other issues yet to be discussed. It was also considered useful to agree on the main thrust of the Declaration to pave the way for a speedier adoption of the Action Plan where similar issues are also found. To hammer out divergence of views on the Declaration, several working groups met along with bilateral and multilateral ad hoc groups. Each of these small groups focused on some particular issues of contention namely, security, Internet governance, intellectual property rights (IPRs); the financing of an inclusive global Information Society, open-source software, freedom of expression and opinion and the role of media.

Progress on substance with agreement was reached on a number of issues that lead to a better-balanced Declaration of Principles. The rate of progress accelerated considerably in the second part of the week but time was then too short and the positions of delegations on some of the outstanding issues were still too far apart to reach agreement on all the text.

Negotiations went into higher gear towards the middle of the week which finally led to the adoption of nearly 90% of the text of the Action Plan and 75% of the Declaration. The outstanding paragraphs of the Action Plan are those linked to the issues in the Declaration that are still proving challenging. However, a main objective of the Summit has already been achieved, according to Yoshio Utsumi, Secretary-General of ITU. “We have succeeded in raising awareness at the highest political level of the implications of the Information Society. Commitment has been expressed to tackle the injustice of the digital divide and to develop new frameworks for cyberspace to ensure that the benefits of the information society are extended to all, not just to a privileged few.”


 ICTs as a powerful development tool. ICTs are potentially important in government operations and services, health care and health information, education and training, employment, job creation, business agriculture, transport, protection of environment and management of natural resources, disaster prevention and culture, and to promote eradication of poverty and other agreed development goals.

 Information and Communication Infrastructure. The development of an ICT infrastructure is an essential foundation for an inclusive information society. Universal, ubiquitous, equitable and affordable access to ICT infrastructure and services should be an objective of all stakeholders involved in building the information society.

 Capacity building. This refers to investment in human resources and universal access to information and knowledge, the recognition of the need to empower marginalized and vulnerable groups to support their efforts to get out of poverty. Acknowledged is the need to promote and protect their human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as to the preserve and protect their heritage and cultural legacy.

 Enabling environment. Particularly important is the need for rule of law accompanied by supportive, transparent, pro-competitive and predictable policies. Another important point concerns standardization. International standards will create an environment where consumers can access services worldwide regardless of the underlying technology.

 Cultural identity and diversity. Related paragraphs recognize the need for the creation, dissemination and preservation of content in various languages and formats as well as the need to reward rights of author but also to promote the production of and accessibility to all content including local content.

 Stakeholder roles. Building a people-centred information Society is a joint effort which requires cooperation and partnership among all stakeholders.

 Open source and free software, in order to increase competition, freedom of choice and affordability, since “proprietary” software solutions, which are copyright protected, often incur higher costs and may restrict options.
61 Heads of State or Government have so far committed to participate in the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva (10-12 December 2003) with more than 6000 delegates from government, intergovernmental organizations, civil society, the private sector and the media. The Summit will endorse a Declaration of Principles for the Information Society and a plan of action to bring the benefits of information and communications technologies for social and economic development to people in all parts of the world.

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Writer Profile
A K Zaman

Hello, This is Md. Akteruzzaman, you can simply call me "zaman". I involve in Bangladesh as Multimedia Professional and also work with youth community of Bangladesh. Currently I am running a TIG projects "Bangladesh Youth Forum" as Founder President.I also selected grand jury of world wide UN World Summit Award (on e-content & Creativity) www.wsis-award.org Besides I am the president of Bangladesh Multimedia Association (BMA) www.bmabd.org and also involved with ICT media (Tutorial & Feature writer) in Bangladesh. On 2001, I first introduced multimedia digital magazine in Bangladesh. Now I am working for ICT4D and as a multimedia consultant I am working with several national and international projects. And will happy...if I can contribute any project required multimedia consultancy specially related to TIG or youth. After attending WSIS Geneva event, I start Bangladesh Youth Forum to represent Bangladeshi Youth Globally.We alreay enlisted 2000 youth member and hosting many youth activities locally. I attend and speak several international eventsincluding UN WSIS Phase I, Global ICT Summit, International Youth Summit etc.
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