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Thursday, March 09, 2006

ITU launches ‘Golden Book’

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has launched ‘Golden Book’ a compendium of commitments made during the last phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunis.

ITREALMS Online, recalls that the last phase of WSIS held last November was the second leg after the initial summit was held in December 2003 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The summit is unique in a way that it is the first in the history of United Nations (UN), a two-phased summit was held.

The Tunis phase was in honour of the country for proposing the summit on Information Society in the late 90s.

Golden Book, according to ITU, an agency that led other UN entities to organize the summit, it is a record of work undertaken to implement the goals of the WSIS and build the future Information Society.

Sources at ITU said it was launched last month during the Consultation Meeting of WSIS Action Lines Facilitators/Moderators, convened by ITU, United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Geneva.

The book highlighted some of the valuable work being done around the world to promote ICTs in projects, large and small by governments, individuals or team effort, for the benefit of all.

It provides illustrative examples of new and innovative projects to build infrastructure, promote ICTs in education, health and governance, so as to ensure fair access and enhance online security.

All WSIS stakeholders at the summit were invited to submit an online questionnaire with details of their activities announced during the Tunis Phase.

These activities have been planned or are in progress and undertaken in line with the WSIS Plan of Action. The Golden Book also serves as a tool helping to coordinate the action taken to implement the 11 action lines and avoid duplication.

More than 375 submissions were made to the book by governments, international organizations, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), companies and individuals, describing their work towards promoting ICT activities.

ITU estimates that the activities announced during the Tunis phase to promote WSIS goals represented a total value of at least, EUR 3.2 billion (US$ 3.9 billion).

Governments committed to implement projects for some EUR 1.9 billion, representing nearly two-thirds of the estimated total value of all commitments, while international organizations pledged to carry out activities for around half that amount, that is, 0.83 billion Euros.

Business entities announced plans to realize projects for around 0.35 billion Euros and civil society projects amount to least 0.13 billion Euros.

The work on implementation of WSIS Plan of Action will be monitored through a multi-stakeholder process to be overseen by ITU, UNESCO and UNDP, which started with the consultation meeting last February.

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