The WSIS+10 High Level Event is part of the World Summit on the Information Society follow-up process. It’s taking place in Geneva from June 9-13 and it’s reviewing WSIS Outcomes (2003 and 2005), in particular, related to the Action Lines with a view to developing proposals on a new vision beyond 2015, potentially also exploring new targets.
APC participated in two workshops:
This workshop looked at the efforts of many in the internet technical community to develop infrastructure and technical capacity, to identify barriers to connectivity and suggest ways to lift them, and look at critical economic analyses that demonstrate where internet infrastructure correlates with economic development and how to spur more investment.
Speakers came from a variety of organizations and brought real-world examples of past, current, and future work that contributes to an ecosystem that strengthens International Internet Connectivity (IIC) (Tunis Agenda Paragraph 50), and the human trust networks that emerge from collaborative efforts.
Successful projects relevant to the thematic focus of this session include:
- African Union AXIS Project implemented by ISOC
- ISOC IXP Toolkit Project, Wireless for Communities, and Community Grants
- APNIC regional IPv6 development work
- Caribbean IXP and partnership development for Internet growth
- A4AI efforts for increased infrastructure development at more affordable costs.
- Ms. Jane Coffin, Director, Development Strategy, (ISOC), USA
- Mr. Dawit Bekele, African Regional Bureau Director, (ISOC), Ethiopia
- Mr. Pablo Hinojosa, Public Affairs Director, (APNIC), Mexico
- Mr. Desire Karyabwite, Senior IP Coordinator, ITU
- Mr. Moez Chakchouk, CEO – Tunisian Internet Agency (ATI), Tunisia
- Mr. Bevil Wooding, Special Advisor to the Caribbean Telecommunication Union, Trinidad & Tobago
- Mr Kojo Boakye, Policy Manager, Alliance for an Affordable Internet (A4AI), Ghana
- Mr Michael Jensen, Internet Access Specialist APC, South Africa
Access to information and communications supports development by empowering people to:
- Better exercise their political and socioeconomic rights
- Become more economically active and productive
- Learn and apply new skills, and find better means for earning a livelihood
- Enrich their cultural identity and expression
- Participate in decision making and address personal development and social challenges
- Enrich the collective knowledge-building process
However inequalities in access limit the effectiveness of ICTs in addressing social needs. Over the course of WSIS, public access to information and communication rights have remained key issues for the emerging information society. In 2014 the digital divide still exists and even those who are “connected” often suffer from poor-quality and high-cost links. Many simply do not have the economic means to connect to the internet – particularly those who do not have electricity, and those who, even if they have smart phones, do not have computers and multimedia-capable internet links. Inequities in access also affect people in developed countries due to limited access to infrastructure, or constraints related to age, economic means and gender. As a result, ensuring that all members of society can benefit equally from access to ICTs, and take part in shaping the interconnected world, will continue to be an important priority over the next decade and more.
This workshop used case studies from Pakistan and Uruguay to show how important public access to ICTs is in including people in the information society. In particular it highlights the role that libraries and other community centres can play in bridging the digital divide, and how these institutions can help stakeholders at the local level – including the private sector – to implement national ICT and development policies. Experts in public access from a user, research and policy perspective reflected on the progress made in the past ten years of WSIS, and audience input will contribute to the identification of elements for a roadmap on the provision of sustainable public access to the Internet.
- Dr. Stuart Hamilton, Deputy Secretary General, IFLA, Netherlands
- Mr. Mike Gurstein, Executive Director, Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and Training, Canada
- Mr. Mike Jensen, Internet Access Specialist, Association of Progressive Communications(APC), South Africa
- Ms. Iffat Gill, Activist/Researcher, Worldpulse, Pakistan
- Ms. Vashti Maharaj, Head, Legal Services Division, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
- Mr. John Davies, VP Sales and Marketing, Intel Corporation, United States