The brochure, entitled "Fostering Information and Communication for Development", is a short introduction to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and its follow-up. It presents different aspects and outcomes of WSIS.
The first part sets out the WSIS framework tracing the main events. It also describes the role that UNESCO plays in the follow-up to translate the WSIS vision into action. The second part reports about the Geneva Plan of Action and UNESCO’s contribution to its implementation. The impact of WSIS is also illustrated with several case stories.
WSIS was a United Nations Summit on the global benefits and challenges of information and communication technologies (ICT). WSIS was held in two phases: in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005. Out of these two meetings came the Geneva Declaration of Principles describing the visions and commitments of the Summit; the Geneva Plan of Action setting out goals to be achieved; the Tunis Commitment; and Tunis Agenda, which includes the creation of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) and the request for implementing financial mechanisms.
UNESCO made a unique contribution to WSIS by introducing the human dimension of the information society beyond connectivity and infrastructures. Throughout the entire process, UNESCO stressed the importance of freedom of expression, education and multilingualism, and advocated for multi-stakeholder approaches.
UNESCO plays a leading role in the WSIS follow-up mechanism by implementing concrete activities included in the Geneva Plan of Action and by facilitating the coherent implementation of the Action Lines in its areas of competence. UNESCO also shapes the overall multi-stakeholder coordination of the facilitators of all Action Lines along with ITU, UNCTAD and UNDP.
The reader will see that WSIS makes a difference because it stresses the human dimension of knowledge societies by placing education, knowledge, information and communication at the core of human well-being. It helps create information literate societies and recognizes the power of ICT to promote dialogue among people, nations and civilizations. By participating in the WSIS follow-up, UNESCO expects to contribute to bridging the knowledge divide and to ensure harmonious, fair and equitable development for all.
- The brochure is available online, free of charge, in English and French: click here.
- Related themes/countries: UNESCO and WSIS
- Contact Mika Yamanaka, UNESCO, Information Society Division