By APCNews MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 11 December 2005
When APC first got involved in the UN World Summit on the Information Society process in 2001, our key goal was to get civil society voices heard in an arena dominated by technicians, telecomms policy experts and business interests. As work started towards the second phase of the summit which would culminate in late 2005, our intention was to step back from global policy processes and instead focus on working on policy nationally and regionally, the spaces where policy change has most impact on people’s lives.
However, things turned out a differently as APC representatives were asked to join working groups convened by the UN Secretary General to focus on the two unresolved issues of WSIS phase one and the goodwill that had sustained a consensus-based approach by civil society started to fall apart.
As a consequence, in 2004, APC became focused on producing policy commentaries, proposals and positions, reflecting our independent and critical perspective. And we formed strategic alliances with like-minded groups with whom for instance we promoted the position that the internet is a global public good.
In 2004, APC’s financial fortunes improved dramatically and though we can attribute this to many things, APC believes its our ongoing work and strengthened profile of APC’s programmes and members that is the primary factor.
“APC has not just survived… it takes on new challenges and tries to think ahead while not letting go of its roots as a network of activists driven by the belief that technology should be used to support social justice,” says APC executive director, Anriette Esterhuysen in her introduction to the report.
The APC annual report includes APC’s advocacy work for the United Nations summit on the information society (WSIS) as well as in stimulating and supporting accelerated ICT policy and regulatory reform in six African countries including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. And it includes other major highlights like the community wireless project that is training one hundred technicians in Africa and produce training materials in English, French and Arabic and the gender and ICT networking forum in Rio which produced the key strategy “Making the case for gender and ICTs” which will guide our future gender and ICT advocacy work.
As usual a large section of the report features achievements from APC members on five continents from 2004 including:
ARABDEV, Egypt: IT skills for an alternative living for Cairo’s former underclass
CECS, South Africa: ICT literacy training across southern Africa develops awareness as well as skills
CEPES, Peru: Wireless internet improves market access conditions for farmers in Peru
COLNODO, Colombia: Online websites promote transparent local government in Colombia
GREEN SPIDER, Hungary: Resistance in Hungary to EU proposals on software patenting
OPEN FORUM, Cambodia: Cambodians have access to Khmer-language open source software
WEB NETWORKS, Canada: Canadian technology wizards adapt APC software so that Inuit can publish online
Download the APC Annual Report 2004 from http://www.apc.org/books in pdf format. The report will be available shortly in Spanish.
Photo: Running national ICT policy workshops with civil society in Latin America (Courtesy: APC)