Ten years ago, the representatives of the peoples of the world, assembled in Geneva from 10 to12 December 2003 and in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005 for the first and second phases of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) adopted a common vision of the Information Society, identified its key principles and outlined the main challenges towards an Information Society for All based on shared Knowledge. The idea of holding the world summit to address this and other issues related to the information society began as an initiative of the 1998 Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and was subsequently endorsed by UN General Assembly Resolution 56/183 adopted in December 2001.
The Geneva phase adopted the “WSIS Declaration of Principles” and the “WSIS Plan of Action”, while the Tunis phase adopted the “Tunis Commitment” and the “Tunis Agenda for the Information Society”. At both locations, leaders from Africa and around the globe recognized the significant role of information and communications technologies (ICTs) as a catalyst to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and agreed to a set of specific targets, including ICT connectivity and applications goals, to be achieved by 2015.The WSIS Plan of Action adopted 11 action lines with objectives to be achieved by 2015.
ECA with other United Nations, international agencies and regional organizations have been undertaking the ten-year review of WSIS outcomes which will be finalised by end of 2014 and the post-2015 WSIS agenda will be formulated and consolidated in the subsequent months. To this effect, the final evaluation process which had begun in 2013, with ECA leading and coordinating the regional assessment through consultation meetings, surveys and compiling reports in Africa, will be completed in the last quarter of 2014. Given that the Post-2015 Development Agenda fully acknowledged the potential of ICTs as key enablers of development and as critical components of innovative development solutions, the WSIS agenda beyond 2015 will capture lessons learned including challenges, constraints and opportunities for Africa to take full advantage of ICTs in addressing the development challenges of the 21st century. In this context, taking into account the importance of relevant content, skills and an enabling environment, ICTs ,including broadband Internet, mobile technologies and relevant ICT applications should be fully recognized as tools that can help empower people, enable wider exercise of human rights including freedom of expression, foster access to information, open up employment opportunities, expand access to learning, education, and basic services. To this end, the final exercise of this project in collaboration with other stakeholders is to facilitate and consolidate the post-2015 WSIS agenda for Africa and share among stakeholders for wider engagement and implementation.
It is in this context that UNECA has been carrying out the final evaluation of the WSIS+10 review process with stakeholders in the framework of a global assessment that has been underway under the framework of the Partnership for Measuring ICTs for Development.
The report on WSIS+10 for Africa will highlight the WSIS implementation progress made in member States, identify challenges in implementing the WSIS action lines including the opportunities for value creation that lie ahead, and propose strategies for the WSIS beyond 2015. This report will be presented at this Regional Review Meeting on the WSIS+10 and Beyond to be held from 14 to 16 April 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, together with a series of country review presentations for final consolidation of lessons learned during the past decade.
The report identifies some of the key results, challenges and lessons learnt in the implementation of the WSIS in Africa and identify key areas for national, sub-regional or regional ICT policies or strategies development as reported by various stakeholders. Furthermore, it will identify the post-2015 WSIS agenda for Africa for stakeholder consultation, validation and implementation.
The report will seek to:
i) Examine and update the progress made by African countries in the attainment of objectives related to the implementation of the 11 action lines of the WISS and flag any issues, challenges, constraints, and lessons learned during the past decade in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes
ii) Identify new emerging issues and priority areas in the continent to be addressed in the planning for WSIS Beyond 2015
iii) Provide ideas and thoughts from various stakeholders in the context of the review of the ten years implementation of WSIS in Africa and the thinking beyond 2015
i) Achievements and gaps against the WSIS action lines identified and issues, challenges and lessons from ten years of WSIS implementation examined, and policy and strategic actions for recommendations identified;
ii) Key priority areas for post-2015 information society agenda in the context of Africa identified and incorporated;
iii) Kindled stakeholder participation in the review of WSIS implementation and post-2015 agenda.
DATE, VENUE AND PARTICIPANTS
The Regional Review Meeting (EGM) on the WSIS +10 and Beyond: Outcomes and Perspectives for Africa will take place at the United Nations Conference Centre, UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 14 to 16 April 2015. The Meeting will be attended by decision makers, ICT and STI experts, RECs and other regional and international organizations including representatives from telecom operators, private sector, civil society, academic and research institutions.
The working language of the meeting will be English.
For any further information, you may contact: Kasirim Nwuke, Chief, New Technologies and Innovation Section, Special Initiatives Division, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by email at email@example.com and by telephone at +251.11.544.3375.
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