Module 2, the core of the entire Template, comprises three main phases: the initial point or formulation of a NISP; the implementation of the NISP; and the monitoring, assessment and eventually the adaptation or updating of the NISP.
MODULE II: Template for the Elaboration of National Information Society Policies (NISP(s)) 2.1. TEMPLATE INTRODUCTION Module 2 serves as a practical guide that provides instructions for the preparation of a National Information Society Policy (NISP), based on the theoretical contents developed in Module I. This module is divided into different stages, each representing steps or phases structured in a sequential way that will lead the NISP process.
The present impulse and expansion of the Information Society (IS) has been accompanied by outstanding efforts in developing and disseminating tools for the planning, pursuit, and evaluation of those actions. After the first years when each country developed its own plan or set of actions, certain advances in the matter of criteria harmonization, use of common methodological instruments, quality improvement, etc. can be perceived. The different world summits and the large number of international meetings and events at regional level, as well as the role of different international organizations such as UNESCO have played a fundamental role.
Thus, the experiences that have been fostered in each country have served to, even within a framework of enormous inequalities, replicate good practices and overcome obstacles at a greater speed.
Nevertheless, since the IS process is relatively recent, many of these experiences still have not been systematized and are dispersed in diverse publications, manuals, websites, etc. in different languages and trying to reach very diverse objectives. This hinders its use by governments who require a concerted effort to survey and analyze the data. On the other hand, despite the lack of basic agreements or common methodology approaches on the IS development “model”, many actors at the international, regional and local level, have been accumulating valuable experiences, and have built tools and working schemes of great interest.
This template presents a contribution to the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of NISPs, trying to elaborate a solid methodological proposal of the international experience and good practices that have been detected.
Although it is common to use compatible or complementary logics and tools with other types of sectorial or thematic projects, the specificity of IS development requires some different components which are often dismissed, which can lead to distortions and errors.
Moreover, subjects such as the role of involved actors, the institutional and political responsibilities, the relation to the diverse aspects of the technological-scientific development, the complexity and necessity of political agreements, the importance of the follow-up and monitoring of the driven processes, the management and coordination of the information, to only mention a few, are very specific aspects of the IS that have to be considered.
This Template provides instructions for developing an NISP proposal. It is basically a “How to” guide divided into different steps to prepare a policy proposal. These steps, or phases, follow a sequential structure, disaggregated in all its components. Given that UNESCO member states have their own institutional, administrative and governance practices and approaches, the procedures described in this Template are not mandatory for any of them. The step-by-step approach shown in this Template serves as an example and an illustration of a way of proceeding; it is not a prescription or a set of rules for the way every administration should behave.
As every trip begins with a first step, the process of creating or updating an NISP begins from a departure point, a mark on a map. From this first moment, national or local government officers (sometimes with the support of an expert team, sometimes with the only assistance of their staff), will be those facing the exciting challenge of initiating, reviewing or reinitiating the process of an NISP elaboration. Many times the departure point is an opening call or invitation to a series of actors who, coordinated by the state, develop a series of processes that will lead to a proposal, to be implemented at national or local level, according to its dimension.
Once the NISP is assumed as a state policy, the diverse actors (those who have participated in the NISP elaboration process and others who took some kind of part in it at different times) will start working on its implementation based on the agreements reached by the diverse sectors and actors involved. The implementation of an NISP entails consequences; the execution of a new policy implies deep institutional changes, clashes of interests, new legislations, adjustments of budgets and investments, changes in fiscal policies and market regulation norms, new definitions of social participation and involvement, and the opening of new processes of transparency and public control, among others.
The monitoring, assessment and readjustment of the established strategy are the last steps (but not the closing point) of this sequence. In order to successfully achieve this succession of steps, it is necessary to construct and apply sets of indicators, evaluation instruments, qualitative and quantitative studies of impacts, processes, results in order to generate statistics, public information, and periodic evaluation studies, etc. Since technology advances at a fast pace, updating of an NISP turns into essential. Most probably, the monitoring and assessment process can generate the inputs to readjust and update the NISP. In any case, it will never turn back to zero.
This module provides activities to be undertaken by the civil servants and coordinators in charge of the NISP, as reminders of the tasks that should be accomplished. Some examples of these tasks and their possible solutions are provided below under their respective headings.
2.2. Key factors There are five key factors to consider when facing the task of elaborating or updating an NISP:
2.2.1. No country starts at “Ground Zero” In the first place, it is necessary to recognize that no country departs from ground zero in the construction and development of the Information Society, and multiple examples shown in this work demonstrate this fact. There are countries that have started to impel Information Society policies and strategies a few years ago, or are starting to sketch explicit National Information Society Policies. Others have been implementing NISPs for more than a decade and are currently reviewing these practices, updating them, discussing the success factors and the difficulties found along the way. And finally, there are a great number of countries that have yet to undertake this challenge.
2.2.2. Each country boards the train at its own station Each local, national, and regional reality is unique. The policies and measures that can be useful for some countries are useless or even harmful for others. An NISP that may be suitable in a given development context cannot be implemented in another development degree without implementing a previous assessment and deep analysis. In particular, it is essential to identify economic and cultural difficulties or diverse institutional conditions to introduce certain policies.
This methodology, however, can be useful for all of them, since its dynamics allow “to catch the Information Society train” in any of the stations, to analyze their own context in the mirror provided by the diverse suggested steps, and to contribute to the retrofitting of the strategies. This methodology is a model, a scheme that should stimulate the involved actors to examine their individual country’s needs and use their best capacities and strengths to develop an appropriate NISP for their own reality,.
2.2.3. Be aware of your own circumstances It is essential to identify the economic strengths and weakness, cultural diversity and institutional conditions of each country or region in order to foster certain policies.
The methodology formulated in this guide is a model that will allow civil servants in charge of building an NISP to:
Stimulate the involved actors to examine their own country needs and use its best capacities and strengths to develop the most suitable NISP.
Enssure its application in countries at different levels of development.
It is because of the broad applicability of the above that this module can be applied to any country or region, regardless of its level of development, without necessarily being concerned about the progress made by the specific NISP it has established.
2.2.4. Consider the leading role of the government The processes begun at this point of formulation will be essential, since they will be the starting point for the next steps. As mentioned in Module I, the government authorities should be aware that ICT issues are subjects totally related to public policy (Hilbert; 2007).
If they do not understand this political dimension, it will be difficult to reach the subsequent stages. The jurisdictional scope from where the NISP process will begin or reformulate has to be clearly defined by the political authorities. The governmental officers in charge of the NISP process will have the support and collaboration of a team of experts. Therefore, defining the development of an inter-sectoral strategy for the identification and call of excellent actors will be the keys to achieving success at this stage.
What factors does this depend on On political decisions, the social agents’ participation in the elaboration of and political decision making, their responsibility in regard to terms of negotiation, their cooperation will, and, naturally, the existing priorities within each country.
This will be possible as long as the consented upon social agreements can be maintained.
2.2.5. Intersectoriality: a key element in the strategy Facing the NISP formulation, implementation, and updating is a real and complex challenge. In order to successfully tackle the initiative, the involvement of different actors is vital. This entails having in place a public policy that addresses the generation of public goods12. However, each actor will have a different conception of “public goods”. For example, the economic approach of the expression may have a different sense than the political one. Each perspective and claim depends on a particular notion of how life would be ordered in an ideal society. A public good is not a general benefit and although it may be identified as so, it is not reducible to the goals of any particular organization.
This model fits conveniently into the process addressed in this document. Functions are defined for each one of the participating institutions13, setting up a clear competence and All those goods whose consumption does not reduce availability of the good and no one can be effectively excluded from using the good. For more specific information about an economic view of this definition, see Holcombe (1997) The intersectoriality notion in principle speaks to the integration of diverse sectors with a view to the definition of policies or the solution of social problems. But according to what it is understood by “sector” it ispossible to find shades or differentiated connotations. According to Cunill Grau (2005), two premises specific commitment (institutions, like groups or individuals involved in the formulation of a NISP, are considered actors). Strategies and actions are formulated, and individuals or organizations are charged with carrying them out.
Thus under the necessary integrating state’s coordination, the operational aspect of the intersectoriality tends to sustain itself on the hypothesis that new diverse institutionalities can induce better outlooks of organizational performance. This strategy tries to contribute to new criteria for planning and macropolitical direction, government and services public format adaptation, and a cross-sectional boarding of public policies.
This perspective indicates as “sectors” not only the usual ones from the governmental organization (executive, legislative, education, infrastructure, regulation of the telecommunications, etc.), but also refer to the logic of collective action and to mechanisms of social coordination. Therefore, the intersectoriality can mean the juncture between the public sector, the social sector, the enterprise sector, the academic sector, etc.
This model of coordinated intersectoriality can be applied with variables according to each country’s social, economic and political context. There are countries where the state can lead this process. In other countries the original impulse comes from the market or from social organizations, although sometimes the government assumes the initiatives as its own. In other countries, the intersectoriality and multistakeholder approach are transformed into a political objective among themselves. Each state will be able to find different levels of institutional development for the mentioned sectors, and therefore create conditions and capacities for their involvement and joint actions.
Intersectoriality is one of the factors that can determine the success or failure of the initiatives. Indeed, the success will depend on the cooperation between the different sectors and their respective actors, which will make the joint search of solutions possible.
The fundamental issues in the formulation of a multisectoral and multistakeholder strategy are:
conceptually delimit the intersectoriality: 1) Integration between sectors makes possible the search of integral solutions. This assigns a foundation specifically political to the intersectoriality and is translated in the assumption of all those public policies that persecute integral aims, like the NISP; they must be interly-sectoral planned and executed. 2) Integration between sectors allows that the differences among them can be productively used to solve social problems. From this perspective the intersectoriality is consistent with the idea that creates better solutions (than the sectoriality) because it allows sharing resources that are owned by each sector.
To define which individuals and organizations are able or should assume responsibilities and commitments in the different stages of the NISP;
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