IFAP Conference calls on a transdisciplinary approach in monitoring the impact of technology on societies
The Second International Conference Tangible and Intangible Impact of Information and Communication in the Digital Age took place in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russian Federation from 9 to 12 June 2019.
Conference participants agreed that current and emerging technologies raise significant and urgent issues, which lead to the need for critical considerations from different disciplines: science and technology, education, philosophy, culture and linguistic studies. Technologies are advancing rapidly, but decision-makers and society sometimes fail to respond to the growing challenges and therefore it is imperative to analyze the current developments, understand the limitations and disadvantages, and propose appropriate solutions. The governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Ugra Ms Natalia Vladimirovna Komarova, highlighted the importance of digital literacy for citizens as a way to prepare society in improving understanding the context of new technologies. The IFAP Chair, Ms Dorothy Gordon from Ghana, highlighted the important role of IFAP in promoting information literacy and developing competencies to shape reliable digital futures.
The conference addressed all six priorities of IFAP. The importance of information ethics was underlined throughout the conference and the need for technology to be driven by ethical values. Mr Jaco du Toit, Programme Specialist from UNESCO’s IFAP Secretariat, reminded participants that information ethics is an important ingredient for digital citizenship and global citizen education. Participants in the conference stressed the relevance of confidence, asserting that we need to understand our attitudes towards trusting leadership, technologies and people. Multilingualism was also addressed during the conference, where participants insisted that research agendas must focus on the overall role of culture, arts and various cultural phenomena in the new technological paradigm. More research should also be conducted on the interrelation between culture and the malicious use of new technologies.
This interdisciplinary conference brought together about 100 participants from 33 countries – academicians and practitioners from the field of ICT and media, as well as philosophers, policy-makers, social scientists, representatives of higher educational institutions and research centres, libraries, public authorities, private sector and civil society institutions. The conference took place within the framework of UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP) and the XI International IT Forum. It was organized by the Government of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug – Ugra, the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, UNESCO / UNESCO Information for All Programme, the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education, Russian Committee of the UNESCO Information for All Programme and Interregional Library Cooperation Centre. The IFAP Vice-Chair and Chair of the Multilingualism working group, Mr Evgeny Kuzmin, from the Russian Federation, reiterated the important role that IFAP is playing in harnessing new opportunities of the information age to create equitable societies through better access to information. He also highlighted the role of National IFAP Committees to achieve the goals of IFAP as a whole at national level. He ended by insisting that it is necessary to create new strategies and universal ethical principles for the future generations.
The Information for All Programme (IFAP) was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international cooperation in the area of access to information and knowledge for the participation of all in the knowledge societies. IFAP is a unique UNESCO intergovernmental programme that focuses on ensuring that all people have access to information they can use to improve their lives. The IFAP Bureau consists of eight Member States nominated by the governing Council. It meets twice a year to appraise, select and approve projects as well as to hold thematic debates on issues of importance for the Programme.