Side Event: Monitoring the Information Society: Data, Measurement and Methods: 8-9 December 2003, UNECE

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) has co-organized a side-event to the WSIS entitled: "Monitoring the Information Society: Data, Measurement and Methods" on 8-9 December 2003". The purpose of the side event is to bring Information and Communication Technology (ICT) data into the realm of official statistics, so that current global gaps in the data can be identified and closed. The results of the event will be channelled to the main Summit.

The key message of the workshop will be the need for official statistics to be a central player in shaping the information society from the point of view of (i) independent information as a basic condition for democracy and other aspects of the UN Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics, and (ii) statistical monitoring with the view to obtain international benchmarking and to assess ICT trends from a core set of internationally agreed indicators.

This workshop will comprise a variety of themes related to ICTs, including (i) the role of ICTs in economic and societal transformations, (ii) individual and household use of ICTs, (iii) business usage of ICTs, and (iv) measuring social impacts of ICTs.

Other important issues to be addressed by the workshop will include: (i) statistical capacity building – bringing ICT statistics into the realm of official statistics; (ii) classification issues; (iii) harmonizing data; (iv) importance of household surveys; (v) importance of having a centralized place for knowledge and data from each of the organizations; and (v) data priorities, including a possible suggestion of basic indicators (a basic list) that countries should collect to aid international comparisons.

The UIS has organized a session within the side event called “ICTs and Society: Measuring Social Impacts of ICTs”

This session will explore a variety of topics such as the use and benefits of ICTs in the field of education, as well as issues of access to and exclusion from usage of ICTs in general, with particular emphasis on gender. The current statistics and indicators that are available will be identified, as well as those that are desired but do not currently exist. The barriers that prevent such data collections from taking place, such as conceptual problems, competing priorities, lack of resources, and the need for capacity building, will be discussed, along with suggested remedial actions.

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