ICT for all - Tunis 2005

The digital revolution

« Today, we are witnessing a new revolution that will shape the knowledge society of the 21st century: the "digital revolution". Driven by the accelerating convergence between the Internet, broadcast media and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), this revolution indeed affects all aspects of our life - the way we learn, work and communicate with each other as well as the way governments interact with civil society. »

Weigel et Waldburger, DDC

The digital divide
Although the digital revolution opens opportunities for many, at the same time many people are excluded from access to and effective use of Information and Communication Technologies for Development.

Bridging the digital divide has therefore emerged as a key challenge for development - and as the only hope for the marginalized part of the world to benefit from the opportunities offered by the global knowledge economy.

ICTs encompass a full range of technologies - not only the Internet, but also traditional devices, such as radios or TV, which are the most widely used tools in developing countries.

A new generation of Summits
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

In order to address the challenges of the "information revolution", the UN General Assembly (Resolution 56/183) decided to hold the "World Summit on the Information Society" (WSIS). This new generation of Summits is set to encourage dialogue between all sectors concerning Information and Communication Technologies.

The World Summit on the Information Society is held in two phases.

  • Phase 1: Geneva, 10 to 12 December 2003.
  • Phase 2: Tunis, 16 to 18 November 2005.

Tunis proposed to hold the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) plenary sessions in 1998. This initiative is set to contribute to the overall concept of the information society.

Harnessing the potential of ICT for Development
The ICT for Development Platform (ICT4D)

«The ICT for Development Platform was the heart of the WSIS. It has made clear to everybody that we need to start sharing knowledge and information at once if we want to bridge the many divides which separate rich from poor, urban from rural, men from women, majorities from minorities and young from old. And it has shown that information and communication technologies have a huge potential to facilitate and accelerate this process. »

Adama Samassékou
President of the WSIS Preparatory Committee.

Increasingly, ICTs are being used as a tool for development. However, while many new projects, networks and partnerships on ICT4D have emerged in recent years, local knowledge and experiences are still insufficiently shared and disseminated. A platform is urgently needed for exchanging information and stimulating discussion between all relevant stakeholders.

As a major parallel event at the WSIS, the ICT4D Platform takes concrete action to harness the potential of information and communication technology and promote the development goals of the Millennium Declaration. As an official event at the World Summit, the platform offers the flexibility of an independent platform with links to the main summit process.

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