WSIS follow up at UNESCO

By EDRi · October 25, 2006

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

On 16-19 October 2006 UNESCO conducted the first multi-stakeholder
consultations on the implementation of the World Summit on the Information
Society (WSIS) Action Lines C3 (access to information), C7 (e-learning), C9
(media) and C10 (ethics) at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.

UNESCO is one of the lead facilitating agencies for the implementation of
the WSIS Action Lines. In accordance with the Tunis Agenda for the
Information Society and the consultation of possible Action Line
Moderators/Facilitators of 24 February 2006 in Geneva, UNESCO has for the
last months served as an interim focal point for several Action Lines. At
the Paris consultations UNESCO was approved as the formal facilitator for
action line C3, C7, C9 and C10. At the same time, it was stressed that
additional facilitators might step in at a later stage. The following report
does not include the consultations regarding media, since no one from EDRI
were able to participate on the 19th.

The meetings had approximately 60-70 participants, with the majority from
civil society and the private sector, and relatively little representation
from governments. The meetings were all structured around two main agenda
items. Firstly to discuss the clustering of substantive issues contained in
the Action Line, and secondly to discuss the terms of reference (TOR) of the
multi-stakeholder team (MST). The TOR was similar across the action lines,
and the proposal from UNESCO was widely approved with some minor
modifications to ensure that the process would remain open to additional
facilitators, e.g. from civil society. It was stressed that the Association
of Progressive Communications (APC) is proposed as co-facilitator of Action
line C2 (information and communication infrastructure) together with the
International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and that this is seen as a good
model. Also, it should be noted that the MST is an open ended platform which
is open for everyone.

Regarding the action line on Access to Information and Knowledge (C3),
UNESCO proposed to structure the action line around the issues of: Enabling
environment for access to public information, Community access, Libraries
and archives, Software models, Research and Development, Open Access, and
E-Government. Several civil society interventions argued that the
development of the public domain should be emphasized more clearly, and that
access to public information had to represent one specific area within a
broader “public domain” cluster. The industry representatives stressed that
one important aim of the action line was to create a space for outreach,
sharing and networking amongst the many initiatives at local level.

The Action Line on The Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society (C10)
was proposed by UNESCO to be structured around the following issues: Promote
respect for fundamental values and principles, Increase awareness of
information ethics, and Contribute to formulation of strategies and policies
promoting a) the protection of privacy, personal data etc. and b) preventive
measures against illegal use of ICTs. Many interventions argued that this
action line was rather different from the others (more vague and
cross-cutting), and as a result it was decided to skip the proposed
clustering. Instead there will initially be a mapping of existing
initiatives related to ethics in the information society, e.g. within the
realm of Council of Europe, and on this background further discussion on how
to promote the action line, including a possible “clearinghouse” for
initiatives related to C10.

For the action line on E-learning (C7) UNESCO proposed the following issue
clustering: Enhancing capacities for e-learning in education, Communication
and learning infrastructure, E-learning policies and strategies, Digital
Educational Content, Quality assurance, assessment, evaluation and
accreditation, Private-Public Partnerships, Research and Development in
e-learning. In addition, it was stressed that C7 had a close link to Action
line C4 on capacity building, as this had a special merit in relation to
e-learning and education. A number of interventions argued that the cluster
of Private-Public partnership should be titled multistakeholder
partnerships, as both funds and human resources were vital in relation to
e-learning and not only related to state-donor-private company partnerships.
Moreover the issue of financing was suggested as an overarching issue that
would possibly include discussion of both specific ICT education funding and
mainstreaming of ICT in national development strategies (in this case the
educational strategies), and the possible inclusion in the World Bank
Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers.

Meeting documents are available at:

Survey on the use of an online collaboration platform for the WSIS Action
Line facilitation

(Contribution by Rikke Frank Jørgensen, EDRI-member Digital Rights –