WSIS creates a new form of digital divide

Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Source: APC ICT Policy Handbook and APC Annual Report 2005.">WSIS

, Tunis could not attract many Source: APC">ICT

celebraties. I am sure, it would not have attracted, many common men and women, who are doing silent, but exemplary work in ICT, as they just cannot afford to travel at their own cost.

So WSIS creates a new digital divide, those who could afford to participate either on public money or private money and those who cannot afford to participate.
Shahzad (Bytesforall, Pakistan) wrote "This crazy summit, which will be remembered as WSIS, is finally over... but the official summit frankly, ended with agreements on further meetings and conferences... and watch out folks... don't rise your expectations anymore, as nothing will happen".

He stated: "I infact, saw two official delegates, at the closing ceremony with good bye handshakes, saying "see you in Greece"...... and WSIS, Tunis not attracting many celebraties.

My comments are as follows:

I am sure, WSIS, Tunis would not have also attracted, many common men and women who are doing silent, but exemplary work in ICT, as they just cannot afford to travel at their own cost. So WSIS creates a new digital divide, those who could afford to participate either on public money or private money and those who cannot afford to participate.

In these days of great advancement in DGroups and virtual meetings in ICT, it would have been in the interest of the majority of the citizens of the world, if the WSIS was a Virtual Conference.

The conference can be held in many languages and many communities could have been encouraged to participate to tell the world, what they expect ICT to do and these could have been posted in open forums for all the citizens of the world, particularly, from the developing world to see.

Someone from Sierra Leone wrote, when we have no water, food, clothing and shelter, where do we have the time to think of ICT and what it can do to help us!!

International conferences are good; but at what cost and ultimately to whom is the question. The tax payer is the answer. Every common man subsidises such national and international conferences.

WSIS should carry out a transparent audit of the cost-benefit analysis of such programmes held in the past and to set a new direction for the future.

This is not a denouncement of the good interactions individuals and groups would have had at Tunis, for the common benefit of mankind. It's just a personal opinion, as an individual, not working for a Govt. organization or an international agency, who could not afford to attend the programme.

Peter Burgess, New York, the other Co-Founder of Tr-Ac Net, had the following to say:

WSIS- Tunis. What a waste!

The vast expenditures associated with big conferences is totally out of place in a world where much better and more cost effective ways of communicating and making progress are available. I have been following the "conference" process for many years, and it is clear that rather little incremental durable value is achieved .. though it is also clear that for those who can get the trips funded, they are a lot of fun.

Fun? It is a priority, but it should not be. There is too much of hard work that needs to be done.

Tr-Ac-Net wants to get a system going that relates costs to results for everything that is using relief and development fund flows. This is a fairly big challenge, but compared to what is routinely done within corporate IT organizations, and in thousands of places where

modern IT is at work, it is really not a very big deal. The architecture to do this is not very complex, and the information is also quite simple. It is like good corporate accounting ... very reliable ... very powerful ... and very much not wanted by people who don't perform very well. But when it is applied it quickly helps to

make an organization world class (like Wall-Mart).

Kris Dev and Peter Burgess, Co-Founders,

Intnl. Transparency and Accountability Network.

http://Tr-Ac-Net.org.


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