22.07.2013 - Communication & Information Sector

IFAP Engaged in Building Caribbean Knowledge Societies

UNESCO’s intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) will be holding two capacity-building workshops in Castries from 23 to 26 July, 2013 for experts and policy specialists from Antigua & Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, as well as host country St. Lucia. The workshops are expected to attract some 40 participants from the region.

These two training events are the latest in a series of concerted IFAP activities undertaken as a follow-up to the First Regional IFAP Conference for the Caribbean organized by UNESCO and the Government of Grenada in June 2011 under the theme “Building Caribbean Knowledge Societies”. The event held in St. George’s and attended by 15 Caribbean States and Territories adopted a Political Declaration and a List of Actions which identified priorities and needs to be addressed by IFAP.

With the support of the Director-General’s Multi-donor Emergency Fund and in collaboration with other global IFAP projects, a number of initiatives have already been undertaken to realize the aspirations Caribbean States expressed in 2011. These include capacity-building programmes for policy-makers in implementing UNESCO’s OER policy guidelines and applying the IFAP methodology for developing and updating national information policies - which attracted 25 Caribbean and Latin American countries; a 17-country Caribbean study on the use of Free and Opens Source Software (FOSS), Open Solutions (OS) and Open Data (OD) in the region; supporting capacity-building in digital heritage preservation; enhancing awareness of Caribbean States in the international debate on knowledge societies by facilitating their participation  in forums such as WSIS; and strengthening capacity of national IFAP structures.

The two workshops being held in Castries under the IFAP priorities of information literacy and information for development will facilitate the dissemination and review of findings from regional and international IFAP studies and support the creation of national implementation roadmaps.

In the area of Information literacy, attention will be given to Media and Information Literacy (MIL) deployment and assessment strategies at the national and regional level. While the second workshop on information for development will review the findings of the 17 country study on the state of the art of FOSS, OS and OD in the region, assess their policy implications and identify national actions to support the building of Caribbean Knowledge Societies.

The preparation of these two events has benefitted greatly from the contributions of the Government of St. Lucia’s Ministry of Public Service, Information and Broadcasting, the St. Lucia National Commission for UNESCO, the Secretariat of the Organization for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) as well as the technical and financial support of UNESCO’s Headquarters and Field Offices. Mr Eric Nurse (Grenada), IFAP’s Vice-Chairperson for Latin America & the Caribbean will attend this event and will play a lead role in building linkages and synergies with IFAP’s regional and global actions and the national roll-out activities.

The workshops are expected to support the ongoing follow-up of the St. George’s Declaration and List of Actions, foster regional collaboration and exchange of best practices as well as support the capacity of Caribbean States and Territories to effectively use knowledge and information to realize their national development objectives.

The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international policy discussions and guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge and to support Member States in the development of national information policy and strategy frameworks.

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