Vision or hallucination?


Briefing papers towards the World Summit on the Information Society

November 2005

The papers included in this volume -as well as in-depth research papers on which they are based- were produced in the context of the “WSIS Papers” project, developed by ITeM and supported by the IDRC.

Southern stakeholders need timely and appropriate information to have an active and effective role in global negotiations -such as the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). “WSIS Papers” was aimed at contributing to the materialization of an Information Society for the South by supporting well informed decision-making during the second phase of the WSIS process. All texts are in pdf format. Se puede acceder a versiones de estos documentos en español, francés y árabe.





Table of contents
Table of contents and credits

Preface
Vision or Hallucination?
ROBERTO BISSIO

1. Financing a sustainable information society

2. The information society global governance processes3. Regional perspectives© Copyright 2005
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We, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10- 12 December 2003 for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information So-ciety, declare our common desire and commitment to build a people-centred, in-clusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can cre-ate, access, utilize and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals, com-munities and peoples to achieve their full potential in promoting their sustainable development and improving their quality of life, premised on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES - WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY 2003

This Summit is unique. Where most global conferences focus on global threats, this one will consider how best to use a new global asset. […] The challenge before this Summit is what to do with it. The so-called digital divide is actually several gaps in one. There is a technological divide - great gaps in infrastructure. There is a content divide. A lot of web-based information is simply not relevant to the real needs of people. And nearly 70 percent of the world’s web sites are in English, at times crowding out local voices and views. There is a gender divide, with women and girls enjoying less access to information technology than men and boys. This can be true of rich and poor countries alike: some developing countries are among those offering the most digital opportunities for women, while some developed countries have done considerably less well. There is a commercial divide. E-com-merce is linking some countries and companies ever more closely together. But others run the risk of further marginalization. Some experts describe the digital divide as one of the biggest non-tariff barriers to world trade. And there are obvious social, economic and other disparities and obstacles that affect a country’s ability to take advantage of digital opportunities. We cannot assume that such gaps will disappear on their own, over time, as the diffusion of technology naturally spreads its wealth. An open, inclusive information society that benefits all people will not emerge without sustained commitment and investment. We look to you, the lead-ers assembled here, to produce those acts of political will. ADDRESS BY UN SECRETARY-GENERAL, KOFI ANNAN, TO THE WORLD SUMMIT ON THE INFORMATION SOCIETY 2003

Papers are available online at wsispapers.choike.org



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