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 TUNIS 2005

 GENEVA 2003



  GENEVA 2003
What delegates think about WSIS 2003 in Geneva.

"We believe that WSIS as a platform will help us share our experiences and allow us to showcase what we have been doing in Africa, which is to provide training and raise awareness in the area of ICT, particularly targeting African policy makers that travel to Addis Abbeba for UN meetings. WSIS allows us to gather different perspectives and see other best practice models in the field in which we are active.

We think that WSIS can help bridge the digital divide, because all countries are represented here voicing their concerns and communicating to each other with the aim to find solutions to this pressing issue. Yet although there is now a global understanding of the digital divide we are only at the starting point of a process. Up to now some questions have been resolved, but others still need further discussion. So we hope that at WSIS 2005 in Tunis we shall be able to develop more concrete and practical solutions."

Girma Dessalegn
Information Technology Center for Africa

"We are here to work on a charter for communications rights that shall define a basic right of communication and outline a plan of the implementation of that right. Generally I think that here at WSIS a lot of issues are overlooked and a lot of priorities are bumped down when people start talking. Like we are speaking of a right of communication for developing countries, but no one is willing to fund such activities. Moreover there are much more pressing issues such as AIDS, poverty and starvation which obviously have to come first. Yet one has to consider that those matters are intertwined, because the more possibilities people have to communicate the more information can be spread and the better are the chances of dealing with those important questions."

Sean Raboy
World Forum on Communication Rights

"We are working on a program – at the moment in Bosnia Herzigovina - that integrates an intensive study, exploration and reflection on the principles of peace and dynamics of building a culture of peace in schools, which also includes the use of ICT. Here at WSIS we expect to learn from other institutions that are using ICT in their work or organization and to showcase what we have been doing so far. An important point for us is also to build networks and make contacts, especially with representatives from African countries as we soon want to start a pilot project in Africa. Therefore WSIS with its international audience that includes many participants from developing countries offers a good possibility to find potential partners for our future work. Concerning WSIS importance on a global scale I am optimistic and hope that actions will follow the debates and discussions, because otherwise there would be no need for such a summit."

Sanna Heikkinen
Education for Peace Institute of the Balcans

"From WSIS we first of all expect that governments and stakeholders in the ICT area will develop a clear understanding of what ICT means for development. For us it is very important that a communication between all three sectors namely civil society, business and government takes place. In Ukraine we have a program which is called Innovation Streamboard that is some kind of a small WSIS in the sense that all players in the ICT field are involved. Yet the problem is that they are not really cooperating and thus WSIS might be a starting point for making the information society true also in Ukraine."

Olga Bunyatyan
United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine

"I am here to see how ICT and development are connected, because my feeling is that development is a big and old issue yet ICT a rather new one. In my opinion it would have been more logical to discuss ICT in the “old” development context rather than discussing ICT as an independent matter. At WSIS it seems that ICT is put first and that ICT should give a solution to the development problems that we have known for a long time.

The digital divide, the big issue of this summit, and its reduction is surely very important, yet one can also see this gap as a result of previous already existing inequalities. I think that taking measures to decrease this disparity is definitely a good plan, but if you forget about the other political actions which have to be carried out at the same time than it might be a policy that in the end will solve nothing. I doubt that WSIS will help developing countries advance their cause as the most important questions are certainly not address during this summit which are for example the international division of labour but also trade and import tax issues."

Christian Schiess
Université de Geneve

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