New WSIS Forum 09 format offers remote web-participation
Critical knowledge societies issues will be addressed in six high-level panels and 35 sessions with the participation of experts, practitioners, representatives of governments, civil society and the private sector during the upcoming World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 09.
More than 850 participants have already registered for next-weeks event, which will be jointly organized by ITU, UNESCO and others in Geneva, Switzerland, from 18 to22 May 2009.
"It is good to see how the WSIS follow-up is evolving with the technological and related social developments," says Mr Khan, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information. "Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and blogging provide entirely new tools for putting many of the WSIS visions into reality."
At the Geneva Forum next week, UNESCO will launch its WSIS community platform, which includes blogging, Facebook-like features and the possibility to insert your Twitter in your personalized online platform dashboard, etc. "This platform was requested by the WSIS community, has incredible potential and will also make the follow-up process more inclusive," says Miriam Nisbet, Director of the Information Society Division. She adds: "The platform will facilitate our WSIS related discussions, networking and information sharing. It is an Open Source product with great features and the possibility to evolve with the WSIS community." (Readers are invited to explore and take a sneak preview at: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wsis-community.org">www.wsis-community.org</a>).
In spite of this and other tools, UNESCO is concerned that the vision of societies, in which the power of information and communication helps people access the knowledge they need to improve their daily lives and achieve their full potential, is still fare from being realized. "This requires vision, political will, institutional and individual capacities, considerable resources, and of course good coordination among all actors," says Mr Khan.
This WSIS Forum unites an unprecedented number of high-level participants and experts in a new format. It includes also a meeting of the representatives of 28 international organizations, all members of the United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS), who will discuss ways to enhance coordination.
For the international community, the main challenge is now to mainstream the issue of information and communication for development in the agendas of the various stakeholders in the WSIS process, and to keep the spirit of Geneva and Tunis alive translating it into concrete actions.
For the first time, the WSIS Forum will also offer access to the meetings through remote web participation.
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