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[Read more session reports from the WSIS Forum 2018]

The session, moderated by Ms Moira de Roche, chairman of International Professional Practice Partnership (IFIP IP3) and director of the Global Industry Council, featured Mr Kemal Huseinovic, chief, Department of Infrastructure, Enabling Environment and E-Applications at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), who stressed the importance of resilient and strong infrastructure for good market competition, and ecosystems in the area of information and communications technologies (ICT) applications.

Huseinovic added that the ITU is cooperating with UN sister agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) on healthy mobile use, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on e-learning and e-education, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) on a toolkit for digital skills. The panellist also stressed the importance of local content in different languages, cybersecurity, and partnerships with other sectors to create a favourable enabling environment for ICT applications.

Mr Nasrollah Jahangard, vice minister for technology and innovation at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Iran, shared Iran’s national ICT policy in providing facilities and infrastructure for users across the country, in a balanced and fair manner. Jahangard highlighted that many projects within WSIS action lines have been implemented in Iran over the past 15 years, and that mobile penetration is around one hundred percent, while broadband access penetration is more than fifty percent. The speaker explained that a suitable ICT infrastructure and access platform has been set up to accelerate and provide different e-services such as e-health, e-banking, e-payment, and e-learning, which has created more than 100 000 Persian language applications in the local market.

Mr Karol Okonski, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Digital Affairs of Poland, spoke about the importance of open data, and open public resources in creating new services with new business value. Okonski stated that a dedicated programme has been developed to open public data through a two-level implementation plan: a ‘policy task force’ undertaken by deputy ministers, and ‘open data officers at ministries’ who are responsible for providing valuable data to the public. Okonski added that they are working on an open data portal to make it more user-friendly and accessible, while respecting technical, legal, and security measures. The speaker also called for solutions to facilitate trans-border transactions and acceptance of digital identities within the European Union.

Mr Prabhash Singh, member (technology and services) of the Telecom Commission, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications of India, shared the Indian green initiative which is built on a common portal for all the stakeholders involved in the management of disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fires etc. Singh highlighted that the role of ICTs is to act as a bridge between the people sending information to the right agencies in fractions of seconds. He also added that India has a database of around 1.7 billion customers, which is helpful for government associations.

Mr Jean-Philippe Mohamed Sangare, founder and CEO at the Swiss Society of Virtual and Augmented Reality (SSVAR), emphasised that SSVAR was created to fill the need for a common platform for professionals and amateurs, in order to exchange views and work together in the area of virtual, and augmented reality. Sangare also said that in terms of the market the sector of augmented reality is worth USD$ 5 billion, and in terms of teaching, the applications are numerous and the potential is enormous.

By Ines Hfaiedh