Therefore NISPs, even if rich in content and on organizational schemes, were still relatively young and scarce until the beginning of the new millennium. The 2003 World Summit of Information Societys “Declaration of Principles Building the Information Society: a Global Challenge in the New Millennium” (WSIS, 2003a) states that “Sustainable development can best be advanced in the Information Society when ICTrelated efforts and programmes are fully integrated in national and regional development strategies.” (Paragraph 44). The WSIS 2003 Plan of Action declares that “Development of national e-strategies, including the necessary human capacity building, should be encouraged by all countries by 2005, taking into account different national circumstances” (WSIS, 2003b).
In 2005, the WSIS Tunis Commitment (WSIS, 2005a) declared: “We also recognize that the ICT revolution can have a tremendous positive impact as an instrument of sustainable development. In addition, an appropriate enabling environment at national and international levels could prevent increasing social and economic divisions, and the widening of the gap between rich and poor countries, regions, and individuals—including between men and women”, and recognized the central role of public policy in setting the framework in which resource mobilization could take place. Paragraph 84 of the Tunis Agenda for Information Society declares: “Governments and other stakeholders should identify those areas where further effort and resources are required, and jointly identify, and where appropriate develop, implementation strategies, mechanisms and processes for WSIS outcomes at international, regional, national and local levels, paying particular attention to people and groups that are still marginalized in their access to, and utilization of ICTs”.
Even if this Template considers the Information Society as a stage towards the construction of te Knowledge Society, the term NISP is utilized because of its present international acceptance when referring to public policies for Information and Knowledge Society UNESCO General Conference Resolution 34 C/Res.48 for Major Programme V, contained in the Approved Programme and Budget 2008–2009 (34 C/5), authorizes the Director General to “assist in the formulation of national information policy frameworks, in particular within the framework of the Information for All Programme (IFAP)”. Moreover, the Executive Board stressed in its 2008 decision on IFAP that “the outcome documents of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) should constitute the framework for the future strategic orientations of the Information for All Programme”.
The progresses made in the new millennium towards the formulation and implementation of public policies for Information and Knowledge Society show the imperious need for UNESCO to provide a “roadmap” in order to help different developing countries in formulating or updating their respective Information Society agendas. Policies and strategies are driven not only by each country’s specific history, social structure and endogenous factors, but also by the influence of the international context and external factors, as analyzed in the following pages.
Main findings The main findings of this document are:
Unlike other areas, technological change advances at the fastest pace known in history. Hence, governments, the private sector (enterprises and entrepreneurs), the science and technology sector, as well as civil society must keep up with this pace, elaborating not only long-term policies, but also short and medium-term strategies, which will produce visible results to the involved actors and the general population.
Information Society policies are those which consider the overall development of governmental responsibility in the construction and permanent development of an Information Society suited to the country’s context, specificities and potentials.
There is no general formula for successful ICT policies and e-strategies.
Governmental officers, teams of experts and policy makers in diverse developing countries may identify examples of successes or best practices either within their own territories, or regions, or in other similar countries in order to adjust them as needed to fit their nation’s unique circumstances.
The process of formulating and implementing Information Society Policies is determined by internal and external factors. Internal factors –such as the country’s level of development- determine the context or environment in which a given country develops its national strategies. Among these factors are the socio- economic factors traditionally identified, and also the degree of advancement towards establishing an Information Society. Some of the strongest external factors are growth tendencies, stability and political orientation, which pre-determine a government’s priorities. These external factors establish the degree of importance assigned by the national government to the ICT issue in each phase of the national strategy.
Discussing an NISP makes governments, as well as the other stakeholders, better able to associate access and social appropriation of ICT to public policies.
The establishment and implementation of regional, national and local explicit Information Society development strategies are essential for grasping the “Digital Opportunity”. Countries need to not only build explicit NISPs, given the particular characteristics of the Information Society, but also require the constant updating of their public policies. The fast pace of technological innovation requires continuous updating and monitoring processes.
Essential guidelines NISP goals may be formulated and implemented according to the following six essential guidelines:
1. The Millennium Development Goals2. The 2003 and 2005 World Summit for Information Society (WSIS) Declarations:
Geneva Declaration of Principles, Geneva Plan of Action, Tunis Commitment, and Tunis Agenda for the Information Society3. Objectives established by regions (Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, North America, East, West and Central Africa, among others) 4. Principles and goals established by North-South, North-North and South-South coperation programs between regions. An example is the EU 274 cooperation with To be achieved by 2015, the MDGs are: halving poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; removing gender disparities; reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds and maternal mortality by three-quarters; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and halving the proportion of people without access to safe water.
In the following page, you will find all the WSIS declarations: http://www.itu.int/wsis/index.html Africa (Joint EU – Africa Strategy, 2007). The European Union and the African Union have decided to develop a co-owned ‘joint strategy’ which “reflects the needs and aspirations of the peoples of Africa and Europe”. Particularly relevant is the thematic Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space.
5. National development goals, as stated in national development plans. According to the Tunis Agenda for Information Society: “National e-strategies, where appropriate, should be an integral part of national development plans, including Poverty Reduction Strategies, aiming to contribute to the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals” (WSIS, 2005b).
6. Regional (provinces, states in a country) and local development goals, For example, the Project Involving Local Youth Councils in Good Practices in Local Governance - Ecuador began in 2006 and responded to the needs of the existing leadership to create spaces in which young talented people can interact about new leadership styles based on transparency and social participation. The project also addressed specific local management issues and the application of the Law on Access to Public Information (LOTAIP). The use of ICTs in communication and information management was vital for the empowerment of these local youth groups, notably through the set-up of public “information corners” installed at easily accessible locations for local youth. The project benefits 15,000 local youth and municipal civil servants.
Who should read and use this template This template is meant for government officers and representatives (sometimes with the support of an expert team, sometimes with the assistance of their staff), other governmental bodies (such as the Government Council for Information Society in the Czech Republic, the National Information Society Agency in Korea, the National Office of Information Technologies in Argentina, just to quote a few examples), international bodies such as the National Commission for UNESCO, as well as universities, high schools and academies, etc. These governent officers and governmental bodies will lead the EU-27: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Find more information at http://www.eea.europa.eu/help/eea-help-centre/faqs/what-is-the-eu-preparation, updating and implementation of the NISP process, together with stakeholders that represent private enterprises, universities, civil society organizations, among others.
Generally speaking it is also recommendable to all those who will be involved in related courses of action in order for them to understand the procedures.
The present document encompasses two main scopes. The first scope, highlighted in the first and third modules, is more theoretical and offers a compilation of key concepts, documents, and glossaries from the different fields that should be analyzed and inserted in an NISP. The objective is to give a general background to those who will start the work.
The second scope, as outlined in the second module is a practical guide which presents hands-on advice and useful exercises for a wide range of cases, situations and needs.
Issues to keep in mind The following points are relevant issues for readers to keep in mind before using this template:
- Be creative: use this template as a guideline to reach your own NISP with unique characteristics suitable to your country’s priorities.
- The formulation of an NISP necessarily implies a multistakeholder approach:
governmental institutions, the private sector, universities and science & technology centres, as well as civil society organizations should be proactive actors during the whole process.
- Identify examples of ICT successes or best practices either nationally or regionally, or in other similar countries and adjust them as needed to fit your nation’s unique circumstances.
- Since ICT issues are transversal to other themes, social actors, and to diverse challenges work in multistakeholder teams.
- Establish or assign a lead national agency to be responsible for broad-based coordination and collaboration within the government as well as with other sectors.
- Keep in mind the four main areas in which government strategy formulation should be focused on: connectivity, interoperability, predictability, and security.
- Facilitate the monitoring, assessment, and evaluation of the implemented measures.
- Nobody starts at ”ground zero”; all countries have some experience on the Information Society beyond their development level.
- Each country boards the Information Society train at its own station; it is essential to take into account the national and regional circumstances, as each situation has unique characteristics.
- Start from the identification of each countrys own reality and needs, identifying the economic strengths and weakness, cultural diversity and institutional conditions in order to foster Information Society policies.
- Consider the intersectorial and multistakeholder approaches as central points of the NISP strategy in each country.
INTRODUCTION In short, we face the third millennium like the apocryphal Irishman who, asked for the way to Ballynahinch, pondered and said: “If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here.” But here is where we are starting from.
Eric Hobsbawm, Daily Times, Monday, November 24, The fast evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the construction, not only of a global “Information Society”, but also of diverse "Information Societies" according to the countries and regions' specific and different historical, economic, and social contexts and development levels, are compelling countries in all the regions in the world to re-consider their development agendas, and to ask themselves what role they want to accomplish in this new society. This document revises reviews the policies and legislation suggested and/or implemented by international organizations, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in countries and regions, in order to propose a methodology that can be used to generate and update public policies for the Information Society.
What is an Information Society Primarily, the term defines a society in which the creation, distribution, and manipulation of information has become the most significant economic and cultural activity. An Information Society is often contrasted with societies in which the economic foundation is primarily industrial or agrarian.
Manuel Castells (2000), one of the first and best known researchers to have developed this knowledge area, prefers the term “informational society” to “information society” (establishing the comparison with the difference between industry and industrial). He states that while knowledge and information are decisive elements in all modes of development, “the term informational indicates the attribute of a specific form of social organization in which information generation, processing, and transmission are transformed into the fundamental sources of productivity and power, due to the new technological conditions that arise during this historic period.” He also raises the issue of an Information Society as a continuous process of innovation: