European Ministerial Conference for WSIS Next Month in Romania
Adopting an action plan for the information society is the goal of the Pan-European Ministerial Conference for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) next month in Bucharest, Romania. A UNESCO conference in Germany earlier this year already made far reaching recommendations for strengthening Europe's position in the WSIS process
The Bucharest Conference will gather from 7 to 9 November 2002,representatives of governments, international organizations, private sector and civil society. Focussing on the European region, it will keep balance between regional specificity and global issues, say the organizers.
The Bucharest Conference should be an opportunity for presenting national strategies but also to develop a platform for dialogue at European level on a wide range of topics such as e-government, building partnerships or the conditions of a fruitful dialogue among governments, business sector and civil society. The meeting is expected to prepare reports and proposals on the thematic debates of the first WSIS meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 2003.
Participants of the UNESCO European WSIS Pre-Conference that was held from 26 to 27 June 2002 in Mainz, Germany, said that the evolution of the information society should be embedded in the concept of sustainable development. In their final declaration, the 150 participants from 48 European countries declared in Mainz that ensuring access to information and communication resources for all, at any time, from everywhere, and under fair conditions is one of the main challenges for the information society.
The success of WSIS will highly depend on agreements on common principles that are to guide the construction of the information society, particularly under the perspective of the ongoing globalisation of information and communication networks and services, the experts stated in Mainz. They also recognized the heterogeneous interests, which influence the development of the information society, and the diversity of the underlying cultures and values of the different societies involved.
The Europe Region, with its long tradition of recognising and balancing the interests of different cultures and languages and with its network of National Commissions for UNESCO can contribute to responding to the global challenge of bridging the digital divide through taking positive actions to create opportunities for the "information poor" said the participants. They alos stressed the special role that UNESCO should play in the WSIS preparation process, particularly as regards to the content aspect.
In Bucharest, UNDP's Infodev Conference Scholarship Fund will finance participation of participants for a total amount of US$ 25,000 . This initiative is aimed at allowing the participation of all key actors of Eastern European Countries in the Bucharest Conference.
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