By APCNews GOA, India, 23 January 2006
APC is undertaking a study of the participation of developing countries and non-government actors — including civil society — in the recent World Summit on the Information Society and its associated fora, such as the Task Force on Financing Mechanisms and the Working Group on Internet Governance.
This follows on from the Louder Voices report, which was undertaken for the United Kingdom’s DFID (Department for International Development) and the G8 DOT Force in 2002.
Many development organisations argue that international decisions about information and communication technologies (ICTs) have far-reaching implications for ‘developing’ countries. Yet, these countries are poorly represented when agendas are set and decisions made in international bodies.
A report from a study on this theme, called Louder Voices, was published in June 2002. It has been described by some quarters as a “landmark study” and is now a major working document of the United Nations ICT Task Force.
The Louder Voices report looked at the ‘developing’ country participation in international ICT decision-making, particularly the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), World Trade Organization (WTO) and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).
It identified weaknesses in both international institutional arrangements and national policymaking processes.
The present study is being coordinated by Professor David Souter, of ict Development Associates ltd and the University of Strathclyde.
Prof Souter has conducted extensive interviews with leading participants in the WSIS process as part of an extensive review of the process over its four year duration.
Seven country case studies are being undertaken — of Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria in Africa; Ecuador and Brazil in South America; and Bangladesh and India in Asia.
Questionnaires and analysis of WSIS documentation etc. also form part of the research.
The country case studies are expected to be completed in mid-March and the report should be published by mid-April, Prof Souter told APCNews.