In order to formulate or update an NISP, it is necessary to consider a series of issues that will determine the whole process. ECLAC (Hilbert et al, 2005) states that the progression of elaborating, updating and implementing Information Society policies is influenced by internal and external factors. Internal social and economic factors influence the context or environment in which a given country develops its national strategies. ECLAC also identifies more dynamic external factors, such as the global macro-economic context, growth tendencies, stability, and political orientation. These external factors usually predetermine a government’s priorities and are vital influences on the degree of importance assigned by the national government to diverse areas in the Information Society in each of the phases of a national strategy.
Within this framework, three fundamental processes will be developed 1. Diagnosis 2. Analysis 3. Action Planning The final outcome of this work can be reached by drafting a document that gives the NISP its essence. It can be a digital agenda, a national plan, a national strategy, or any other definition to denote a national strategy that will have to be implemented in the following stage. The name is not so relevant, however, the hierarchy of this document is important, since its materialization will depend on its level of formality and institutionally.Additionally, it will be an expression of the consensus reached and the commitments assumed by each one of the actors.
From this general point of view, the entire process will be determined by the complexity implied in the search for consensus in relation to the policy objectives to be implemented, the actions to be defined, and the legitimacy and commitment assumed by the involved actors. According to CEPAL (Hilbert et al., 2005), the extent of actors’ participation is a determining factor of the duration time of this phase due it is closely related to the consensus generation process. These times may vary among different countries.
Illustration 5 shows the components that comprised in the NISP’s formulation phase:
Inputs, Processes, and Outpouts or final results.
Illustration 4. Components of the Formulation phase 2.4.2. Inputs or factors that influence an NISP formulation a. Political and economic external factors The external factors are exogenous to political decisions on Information Society national strategies, since the strategies designers and decision-makers do not have decisionmaking power over them.
International organizations: International organizations frequently trigger regional and national initiatives to develop NISPs, as was shown in the processes leading to WSIS 2003, WSIS 2005, and E-LAC 2007, among others. They also provide assessments and best practices of ongoing Information Society policies.
Nevertheless, international organizations have their own agendas and their own models on the Information Society. The experts in charge of designing NISPs should be careful to adopt the inputs that will benefit their country’s specific needs and goals, and to leave aside those inputs that apply to different contexts.
Commercial partnerships: Commercial alliances or partnerships strongly influence national policies and strategies. A given government may wish to protect its alliances with a regional block (for example, MERCOSUR or the European Union), adopting measures for a common or coherent Information Society scheme.
On the contrary, external commercial alliances may exclude or economically harm countries or regions, which will instead lead to adopting policies that try to compensate this exclusion.
b. National contexts and internal factors Degree of maturity of the political group regarding the Information Society:
The degree of awareness of the political groups in power regarding Information Society will clearly influence the elaboration and implementation of an NISP. If a government is informed and willing to build a National Information Society agenda to fully integrate its country in the global Information Society – while respecting its own specificities-, it will be supportive and receptive of the transformations proposed by the NISP. If the government is not sensitized about the importance of Information Society, if it considers that constructing its national Information Society agenda will not bring it votes, nor political benefits, the NISP may be not elaborated at all, or, even if formulated, it will not receive full support to implement the proposed measures.
State agency in charge of the NISP: Among them is the hierarchical level held by the agency, group or person charged to lead the national strategy. Obviously, the higher the hierarchical level, the larger the support to the policies proposed by this agency or group and the higher the possibilities to concretely implement them. The working procedures and the special coordination for the participants work are to be considered.
Infrastructure and generic ICT services: The most obvious thematic topics of Information Society strategies focus on the build-out of the ICT infrastructure and services. Depending on the characteristics of each country’s infrastructure and ICT services, and the number and location of the underserved population, policies should be aimed at fostering universal access and use of the technology by providing a basic minimum of connectivity for the whole of society, with special emphasis on marginalized groups, such as rural inhabitants, ethnic minorities, women, the disabled and elderly people (ECLAC, 2003).
Regulatory frameworks: National regulatory frameworks are key elements in the formulation of NISPs. They need to be established or adjusted in order to ensure the concrete implementation, assessment and renovation of national policies. The regulation of the telecommunications industry and the strengthening of hardware and software markets are key policy areas (ECLAC, 2003).
c. Sectoral interests State: A national strategy constitutes the combination of a wide range of thematic concerns. Governments can prioritize thematic areas, or orient a whole national strategy around one issue, such as infrastructure and connectivity.
IT sector, private enterprises: The national IT sector can impulse the elaboration of an NISP. It is a strong actor that frequently leads technological and organizational innovations. However, it should be taken into account that while private-sector leadership is unquestioned in the process of building-out ICT environments, the public sector has to strive to complement its work. As stated by ECLAC (2003), market mechanisms alone are often not sufficient to create programmes and tools that can help lead the way to broader development goals. Besides, IT enterprises can focus on given thematic areas, or foster a national strategy around the issues that interest them (training human resources for ICT enterprises, software and informatics services, etc.).
Civil Society: As stated by ECLAC (2003), “The complexity and pace of ICT development, on the one hand, and the profound implications of ICT implementation, on the other, require a close partnership between the private and public sectors and civil society right from the start”. Civil society is increasingly participating in Information Society issues, mainly on access to information, right to information, connectivity, and telecommunications universal service. The concerns and interests of civil society need to be addressed at the highest policy-making level.
Science & Technology sector: This sector, also called “Academic sector” is a relevant actor in Information Society, since it provides both the researchers and the knowledge to carry on the Informational Paradigm: innovative technologies facilitate the production of knowledge, which in turn facilitate the production of even more ground-breaking technology and procedures. In other words, knowledge creation takes place on the boundaries between universities, private sector, public sector and the political spheres. Hence the role of the academic sector and its ability of transformation come into sharp focus. ICT is one of the technological science fields most evidently acting on the borders between academic research and politics/society and the private sector.
Illustration 5. Inputs for the Starting point Politc and economics external factors National contexts and Inputs internal factors Sectorial interests Diverse activities are provided so that the individuals and groups charged with the formulation of the NISP may check if they have taken all the necessary steps to complete their work.
Activity 1 consists of verification and checking of the key factors influencing the NISP formulation process.
Activity 1. Verification lista: formulation phase VERIFICATION LIST: FORMULATION PHASE Key Factors YES NO 1. Were all the existing key factors taken into account 2. Have you prepared a detailed check list of external and internal key factors 3. Have you analyzed how those factors can affect the NISP formulation process 4. Have you prioritized those factors that can threaten the success of the NISP formulation’s global strategy 5. Did you think of a way to neutralize the negative effects and/or up-scale the positive ones Activity 2 consists on the identification and analysis of the determinant (key) factors that influence the NISP formulation process.
Activity 2. List of conditioning factors identification and analysis LIST OF KEY FACTORS IDENTIFICATION AND ANALYSIS Factor Type ( How can it affect the Which actions can be (Who or What is it) external / NISP formulation implemented to internal) neutralize the negative effects and/or up-scale the positive ones i.e.: Lack of i.e.: Internal Hindering the. Debating updating the updated legal formulation of goals legal frame, standards, frame and strategies that are norms, etc.
not contemplated in the. Involving the legislative present legal frame power in the NISP. Updating the legal frame i.e.: Insufficiency i.e.: Internal Difficulties in preparing. Search for regional and of local ICT policy a balanced and international reports that experts objective preliminary contemplate the national assessment report perspective. Consultation with international or regional experts i.e.: Lack or i.e.: Internal Low capacity to lobby. Allocate resources to insufficiency of and argue their engage in statistical local ICT and country’s positions in research in local telecommunication international academic institutions statistics negotiations and national research centres i.e.: National and i.e.: External Low level of funding. Train national local interests in and representation in representatives in order Information international to represent the country Society are not negotiations in international events.
represented by. Determine leading global and Low negotiation ideas to negotiate in international capacity international scenarios in leading agendas order to defend the national interests and find suitable partners i.e.: Lack of i.e.: Internal Low level of autonomy. Arrange multisectoral national and management of meetings to negotiate ownership of ICT services (such as new ICT strategies telecommunication universal services and. Plan state’s services low tariffs) partnerships with ICT enterprises. Plan regulation activities 2.4.3. Main processes of this phase From the definition of the institutional space from where the NISP process will be fostered and supported, a series of political and empirical processes will start to be developed.
They are synthesized in the following illustration:
Illustration 6. Political and Empirical Processes Table 4. Synthesis of the main processes in this phase Processes Objective Description Outcomes Assembling of To assemble a In order to achieve a An active experts team of experts group of experts high level of group that on Information effectiveness in the collaborates in the Society that formulation of the different phases of contributes their NISP, the the process.
knowledge to the international diverse phases of experience the process. suggests inviting a group of experts on Information Society and its diverse sectors, to contribute their know-how and their advice to the process of definition, implementation and follow-up of the NISP.
The experts can work ad honorem or receive honoraries Actors Identify and invite A high diversity of Sectoral, identification and diverse actors social actors are multisectoral and call from all sectors directly or indirectly multistakeholder (institutions and envolved with the groups and networks individuals) to be NISP. The involved in the governmental process. agents’ capacity to summon and involve them in the diverste stages of the NISP is fundamental to its success Diagnostic To obtain an an Prepare an updated A diagnosis that will updated diagnostic diagnostic of all the describe the that will describe necessary countrys ethe countrys e- components readiness, its needs readiness, its (sectors) for the in Information needs in NISP formulation Society, and its Information and implementation. diverse sectors.
Society, and its Diagnosis of the diverse sectors to panorama In the be used as a basis diverse areas (efor the NISP government, education, ICT industries, telecommunication policies, legal framework, etc.) This diagnostic will be be the key input for the analysis phase.
A document that Analysis To analyze the Based on the features the most needs of the previous diagnosis, important NISP country regarding state the reasons strategic and Information why the country methodological Society (the should embark on guidelines. It is a expected model to this initiative, the fundamental input be reached), and to quantification of the for planning establish project, the analysis implementation consented goals, on viability, the actions. This strategies, and political frame and document is a first main guidelines. the support the approach to the NISP will have at the definitive time of its formulation, a implementation.
declaration of It is also an exercise interests and a where the communication of institutional expectations.
strategy and transformations may be defined and reached by diverse soaicla actors. It is the description of the expected model to reach.
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