02.09.2002 -

Bureau of Intergovernmental Council for UNESCO's "Information for All Programme" Meets in Paris

ICT experts from Canada, China, Colombia, Iraq, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru and Slovakia forming the Bureau of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme (IFAP) will meet today and tomorrow in Paris. Chaired by IFAP President Graciela Fernandez Baca of Peru, the meeting will prepare the second session of the Council in early 2003.

On the agenda of Bureau are issues such as the management, promotion and strengthening of the special fund for the Information for All Programme.


The Bureau will also look at the conditions and criteria for admission to meetings of the Council for representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.


Other items to be discussed are the creation of national IFAP coordination frameworks and the possibilities for organizing virtual meetings of the IFAP Council and its Bureau.


The meeting will also review the preparation of the UNESCO Charter on the preservation of the digital heritage.


The IFAP Council, of which the Bureau forms part, meets every year to study measures aiming at bridging the digital divide and at proposing activities for implementation under UNESCO's Information for All Programme.


The Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to foster debate on the political, ethical and societal challenges of the emerging global knowledge society and to carry out projects promoting equitable access to information. It reflects the growing awareness that information is playing an increasing role in generating wealth and development, and that participation in the "global knowledge society" is essential for social and individual development.


Recognizing the need to promote access to public domain information, the Information for All Programme will focus on five areas:


· Development of international regional and national information policies based, in particular, on the establishment of international consensus on the concept of universal and equitable access to information as a basic human right;

· Development of human resources and capabilities for the information age, focusing on training and the creation of training networks;

· Strengthening institutions as gateways for information access, especially developing a UNESCO portal to information institutions worldwide;

· Development of information processing and management tools and systems, including the analysis of regional needs and policy planning;

· Information technology for education, science, culture and communication to assist all UNESCO's programmes in formulating and taking informed decisions.

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