International and regional cooperation: The role of public authorities and global/regional cooperation in ensuring that no one is left behind in the Information society

5 May 2016 09:00h

Event report

[Read more session reports and live updates from the WSIS Forum 2016.]

The facilitation meeting provided a platform for participants to exchange information and experiences, to identify priority areas for implementation within the Action Lines C1 and C11, and to explore synergies among different stakeholders for more effective knowledge sharing and collaboration in the implementation process. It was chaired by Ms Marion Barthelemy (Acting Director, Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM), UNDESA), with Ms Marita Bardavelidze (ITU) hosting remote participants.

Mr Haidar Fraihat (UN ESCWA) spoke about the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledge that no one will be left behind in the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The agenda is clear in its ambition to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential with dignity, equality, and in a healthy environment. The Agenda further states that if we realise our ambitions across the full spectrum of the SDGs, the lives of all will be profoundly improved and our world will be transformed for the better. In particular, one important tool to achieve these goals is the realisation of a training programme on Internet governance for governors, enabling them to be more conscious of the Internet related issues worldwide.

Mr Kasirim Nwuke (UNECA) underlined the necessity to revisit and enforce the action lines in order to achieve the SDGs. In particular, he stressed the importance of technology transfer and technology building, whose relevance is enormous if we consider the scarce resources of poor countries. Moreover, the creation of annual review mechanisms and ICT hubs is essential.

Ms Clarisa Estol (Ministry of Communications, Argentina) explained the role of this new ministry in Argentina, which is particularly keen on creating a good regulatory environment, without however placing too many market impositions. Working together with other public entities and with the private sector, the ministry is aiming to create incentives for the deployment of infrastructures, to improve ICT technologies, to liberalise the spectrum, and to facilitate affordable access to 3G and 4G networks.

Ms Lobna Smida (UN ECA, Tunisia) discussed the role of public authorities and all other stakeholders in the promotion of ICTs for development (C1) and international and regional cooperation (C11).

Ms Marilyn Cade (Advisor, ICT Associations from Developing Countries, USA) discussed the use of ICT to create social change. Access to digital information should be one of the most important tools to ameliorate people’s lives. She mentioned associations such as the Africa ICT Alliance (AFICTA) and the World IT Services Alliance (WITSA), which support small entreprises and other businesses by assisting them in finding digital opportunities, including outside their countries. Working with governmental agencies, they have the aim to ensure that no one is left behind in the information society, particularly in developing countries.

Mr Andy Richardson (Information Specialist, Inter-Parliamentary Union) addressed the issue of using technologies for improving the efficiency, accountability, and transparency of parliamentary work.  He underlined the importance of making data related to parliamentary work easy to access and understand, and, preferably, available in automatically readable formats. In this way, it will be possible to avoid digital exclusion.

Mr Chengetai Masango (Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)) stressed the multistakeholder nature of Internet governance processes. In order to lower barriers to participation, we need to improve the bottom-up decision-making processes. It is not enough to create cyber-café where people can meet each other. We need real mechanisms of participation, allowing an equal access to cyber-activities and discussions. He also spoke about the role of the global IGF, as well as of national and regional IGF initiatives, in building the capacities of people to take part in policy development process within their countries, or at the regional and global level.

Ms Tatiana Ershova (General Director, Institute of the Information Society, Russian Federation) spoke on international and regional cooperation. International cooperation among all stakeholders is vital in implementing WSIS action lines and the SDGs. As stated by the General Assembly in the WSIS+10 outcome document, the value and principles of multistakeholder cooperation and engagement that have characterised the WSIS processes since its inception have been and are vital to developing the information society.

Mr Mikael Snaprud (Coordinator of the European Internet Inclusion Initiative (EIII)) spoke on the importance of creating open source tools and improving web accessibility and transparency. People have to be enabled to take part in the information society in an easy manner. Web accessibility is a goal that needs to be reached in the future years. He also stressed the importance of tools like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, provided by W3C.

Mr Juan Raúl Heredía Acosta (Deputy Permanent Representative at the Permanent Mission of Mexico) spoke on the role of public authorities in the promotion of ICT as a tool for development. The provision of an appropriate legal framework is essential in order to achieve the SDGs. In particular, in Mexico, a new Federal Law on Broadcasting and Telecommunications has been recently adopted. It provides some important measures on competition, legal cooperation, effectiveness, transparency, and accountability. Acosta also stressed the importance of access to information, and the role of ICT in exercising human rights.

Finally, Ms Diana Parra Silva (Office of the President of Uruguay) spoke on national ICT strategyies in Latin America, and on regional cooperation. In particular, she explained Uruguay’s National Digital Agenda, which is not provided by the government only, but by the multistakeholder community. She underlined that Uruguay is trying to encourage a greater participation of different stakeholders, by supporting mechanisms such as the Uruguayan Internet Governance Forum. Moreover, she gave examples of initiatives aimed to contribute to achieving the SDGs, such as providing free laptops for children and offering a free universal access plan (1GB) to each home. Finally, she explained the importance of the Regional Platform for the Caribbean, and its role in promoting cooperation and political dialogue in the region.

by James Adzamli and Emanuele Sacchetto