A coherent national ICT strategy requires the involvement of ICT enterprises, telecommunications operators and Internet service providers to implement a pricing policy that takes into account the needs of marginalised communities. It also requires CSOs to mobilise around common aims and help build capacity through professional training and public sensitisation. In addition, judicial or institutional reform may be necessary to ensure coherent ICT regulation. All stakeholders should be involved in developing infrastructure appropriate to local conditions, with the aim of providing lower network costs at higher bandwidth to all communities, especially the most marginalised.
(2008 IPDC publication Media Development Indicators: A Framework For Assessing Media Development, UNESCO, 2008) The Information Society also includes many interrelated sectors. The main ones are industrial and economic policy, technology policy, telecommunication policy, and the vast sector of social issues and policies that comprises electronic government, education, ehealth, media policy, and culture in the Information Society, among others.
In turn, each one of these sectors includes a series of areas. These areas are represented in the following scheme (Illustration 1). None of these sectors can be approached in isolation. However, an NISP has to take the whole as well as each one individually into account, as well as the relationships established among them. For example, as illustrated in the diagram, research and development interact with industrial and economic policy, technology policy, and social policy.
Illustration 1. Basic scope of an NISP Table 1. Basic scope of an NISP Policies and strategies and legislation are at the core of the NISP. Therefore, they cross the other four areas.
Policies and strategies Development policies Information Society policies and strategies Plans Projects Agendas Sectoral policies and strategies Local policies and strategies Legislation Legal framework for the Information Society National Sectoral Digital Policies Components R es er ch & de v e l opme nt Permanent Task Force for Legislation in the Information Society Privacy and personal data protection Legislation for cyber crime Digital signature and digital documents Industrial regulation Regulatory framework for telecommunications Intellectual property Industrial rights, patents, and labels Consumers rights E-commerce Industrial, Economic Policy Employment Training of human resources Scholarship systems for young technicians and engineers Cooperation between universities and enterprises Governmental agreements with enterprises in the IT sector for employment plans ICT Industries Productivity policies Promotion of ICT industries ICT training for SMEs ICT use in SMEs’ management and organization Public-private partnerships E-business E-commerce Technopoles as the convergence of universities and ICT industries’ efforts Fiscal policies Enterprises’ social responsibility Telecommunication Policy Connectivity Infrastructures State policies Proportion of households with a computer Proportion of households with Internet and broadband access at home Bandwidth penetration and accessibility Fixed and mobile phone penetration and infrastructures Penetration of WiFi hotspots and coverage Universal service Interoperability & Networks interoperability Financial resources Licensing Policy Authorisation regime General conditions of entitlement Telephone numbering allocation Network charge controls Metering and billing Technology Policy Technology Policies and Innovation Systems Appropriate use of technology in the voting process Computer networking and public policy Productivity policies E-security Security measures in e-networks Measures against cyber crime Confidentiality Integrity Availability of resources Technological responses to e-threats and risks Social Issues and Policy E-Government E-Management and services for citizens M-Management and services for citizens Digital cities Digital signature Citizens participation Homologation of state services Interoperability Data security Education Information literacy ICT capacity Curricula for the Information Society Connected schools Training for teachers Evaluation of educational programs Contents for education Educational portals Universities in the Information Society Networked universities New careers for the Information Society E-Health Training health staff in ICTs use Hospital networks Preventive measures Telemedicine Tele-epidemiology Public health systems communication Health e-card Assurance systems Home care E-care for the aging National, regional or local e-health networks Access to Information and Knowledge Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions, including libraries, archives and museums as gateways to content Capacity to develop content and e-content, in local and/or indigenous languages.
Use of traditional and new media in order to foster universal access to information, culture and knowledge for all (Internet as well as traditional media: radio, television, press, etc.).
E-Inclusion and Diversity (Use of ICTs and generation of contents) ICT and cultural heritage ICT and gender Multilingualism and multiculturalism ICT for people with disabilities ICT and Aging Digital technologies and social inequality Environmental preservation Re-use and refurbishing of electronic waste Final disposition of electronic waste State-enterprises agreements for the disposition of e-waste Study of international best practices Awareness campaigns Research and Development National Research and Development + Innovation systems Creation of capacities Partnerships between universities and enterprises Intellectual property measures International cooperation Scientific e-networks between S&D+I centres Dissemination of knowledge 1.3. First considerations when planning an NISP 1.3.1. Phases of an NISP The path leading to a political decision to formulate an NISP to the evaluation of the NISPs impacts on society is a complex process which may be broken down into phases for better understanding. These phases should be considered as a whole.
UNESCO (Fernndez-Aball, 2007) points out several essential phases of the policymaking process such as: formulation, which includes assessment and situational analysis to identify and define the problem(s) to be addressed; setting goals for future developments (not necessarily present problems to be solved at the medium or long run);
responsible state organizations or partners for the NISP implementation, monitoring; and updating or adaptation of the NISP.
This work provides a dynamic structure of the phases suggested by UNESCO, with the goal to facilitate, order, and direct the work of governmental officers and civil servants.
These phases are fully developed and disaggregated in their integrating practical steps in Module 2.
The following chart provides descriptions of each phase and their main characteristics:
1. Formulation of the NISP: Deciding on the goals and planning the actions that will be implemented in the next phase. Some fundamental process, such as action diagnosis and planning, takes place in this phase.
2. Implementation of the NISP: The implementation phase gathers all the aspects related to the NISP implementation as planned in the NISP formulation phase, through a set of instruments and actions. In this phase, the implementation does not depend so much on the expert team, but on the government and other social actors, such as the private enterprise sector, universities, and civil society orgaizations.
3. NISP follow-up, monitoring, control and adaptation: Planning the required actions to carry out the NISP follow-up, monitoring, asessment, and adaptation or updating.
1.3.2. What’s in an NISP The process at this moment of the NISP formulation is of great importance, since it is from here that the next steps will come from. The formulation of an NISP includes:
The sensitization of decision makers to the significance and urgency of beginning a process to develop or update a national IS policy The implementation of a consultative experts group that will help civil servants and governmental officers in charge of the NISP formulation The involvenment of other social agents (private sector, S&T sector, social organizations) The diagnostic of national or local situations regarding the Information Society. This involves analysis of the national context, the country’s e-readiness, and linkages with the international context, interpretation of the information situation and identification of development issues to be addressed.
Setting goals for future developments Setting up policy guidelines, budget, responsible staff for the NISP implementation, and timetables Writing the NISP agenda Example 12. Asia and the Pacific Asia and the Pacific Within the existing tools addressed to experts to plan and update NISPs, the Report “Good Practices in Information and Communication Technology Policies in Asia and the Pacific:
Promotion of Enabling Policies and Regulatory Frameworks for Information and Communication Technology Development in the Asia-Pacific Region”8 is intended to be a resource for ICT policy planners and decision makers and offers policy-oriented Prepared in 2005 by the Information, Communication and Space Technology (ICSTD), Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction (http://www.unescap.org/icstd/pubs/st_escap_2347.pdf) perspectives on three major sets of issues:
1. Understanding the background and process of ICT policy formulation and implementation relevant to the Asian and Pacific countries;
2. Sharing the rich and diversified experiences of selected countries of the region in ICT policy development through best practices;
3. Developing materials for awareness and capacity-building programmes at the national and regional levels.
Source: ICSTD, In order to formulate an NISP, it is necessary that governments fully acknowledge that ICTs are a matter for public policies (Hilbert; 2007). If such conviction is not generated, there will not be the formulation or implementation of a solid NISP. The jurisdictional scope will have to be clearly defined by the political spheres from where these processes or their reformulation will begin. And, although in many countries the political and technical civil servants in charge rotate in different positions, the definition of the people in charge to impulse this process, as well as their capacity of management and negotiation with the government and other actors will have a fundamental impact on the NISPs future.
1.3.4. Role of the government ICT issues are subjects totally related to public policy (Hilbert; 2007). If governmental authorities do not understand this political dimension it will be difficult to reach the following stages. In this sense, the jurisdictional scope from where the NISP process will begin or reformulate has to be clearly defined by the political authorities. Due to the instability of the political positions in many countries, the definition of the responsible agency, office or sector that will drive the process will have a fundamental impact in the following stages, as well as their capacity of management and negotiation with other governmental officers and actors.
The governmental bodies and officers in charge of the NISP process will rely, according to the positive experience form different countries, on the support and collaboration of a team of experts. Defining the development of an inter-sectoral strategy for the identification and call of excellent actors will be keys to achieve success at this stage.
On what factors does this call for actors depend On political decisions, the social agents’ participation in the elaboration and political decision making, their responsibility with regard to terms of negotiation, their cooperation and will, and naturally, on the existing priorities within each country.
ECLAC, through the Digital Panorama of Latin America and the Caribbean 2007 (2008), expresses a helpful idea to organize diverse aspects of the public agenda to present arranged social actions: “Political will does not arise spontaneously and exclusively in the state (...), but it is constructed from the society. However, the main obstacle that interrupts the process constitutes the capacity to represent the social preferences from individual preferences.”Governmental agents will be able to resort to the support of a team or group of experts.
The development of an inter-sectoral strategy for the identification of excellent actors will be fundamental to achieve the success of the NISP.
Example 13. NISP formulation in Central Asia NISP formulation in Central Asia The report entitled “Integration of Information and Communication Technologies into National Development Plans for Central Asian Countries”10 suggests that to implement a mainstreaming approach to adopt ICT policy formulation for national development, a cross-disciplinary approach is needed. There are several crosscutting issues relating to infrastructure and involving different sectors. Therefore, a strategic approach to think strategically of the role of ICTs in development, the constraints and challenges facing the country and the development priorities need first to be identified. After that has been completed it will then be possible to consider the extent to which greater access to information and ICTs can contribute to improving people’s lives.
The development planning issues to be addressed cut across several sectors and are interrelated. A participatory mechanism is essential to ensure that policies will correspond to real concerns and will be supported by stakeholders.
Sources: ICSTD, The translation is ours.
Shailendra Hajela, for Information, Communication and Space Technology (ICSTD), UN-ESCAP, (http://www.unescap.org/icstd/policy/publications/Integrating-ICT-into-Nat-Dev-Plans-for-Central-AsianStates/full-document.pdf) 1.3.4. The multistakeholder approach The full potential of ICT, as a relevant enabling tool to support the process of development, can be realised only if the ICT policies are effective. An essential element to make ICT policies effective is to ensure the active participation of stakeholders in government, the private sector, civil society, and eventually international organisations in the formulation and implementation of an NISP.
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