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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CSTD reviews progress on WSIS outcomes

AS the fourteenth session of the inter-governmental meetings of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) gets underway Monday in Geneva, participants are slated to review the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) outcomes.

Also, the Commission, ITRealms Online gathered would review reports from the regional and international levels, including on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

This follows the conclusion of the five-day World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2011, which also held in Geneva at the Conference Centre of the International Labour Organization (ILO) between May 16 and 20, this year.

The WSIS Forum offered participants series of diverse interactions, comprising high-level debates addressing critical issues to the WSIS implementation and follow-up in multi-stakeholder set-ups, WSIS Action Line (AL) facilitation meetings, thematic workshops, and speed-exchanges facilitating networking among the participants.

In addition, ITRealms Online gathered that the Commission is expected to spend the next five days of its annual meeting in addressing what expert tagged priority themes.

These include ‘Measuring the impact of information and communications technology for development as well as the use of technologies to address challenges in areas such as agriculture and water.

The Commission, ITRealms Online confirmed would listen to presentations on national science, technology and innovation policy reviews.

While participants consist of representatives of governments, civil society, the private sector, international organizations and many others.

However, on the Ministerial Roundtables, they are expected to deliberate on ‘Harnessing Science and Technology to Address Development Challenges’ and ‘Review of Progress Made in the Implementation of WSIS Outcomes’ to name a few.

ITRealms Online recalls that on July 19, 2010, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted by consensus resolution 2010/2 on the “Assessment of the progress made in the implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.”

By this resolution, ECOSOC “invites the Chair of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) to establish, in an open and inclusive manner, a working group which would seek, compile and review inputs from all Member States and all other stakeholders on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), in line with the mandate set out in the Tunis Agenda, ....”

Additionally, at its inter-sessional meeting on 17 December 2010, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) decided that the Working Group on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) be made up of 22 member states: Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Lesotho, Lithuania, Pakistan, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Tunisia and the United States of America.

At the same meeting, the Chair of the CSTD also invited stakeholders to interactively participate in the Working Group, bearing in mind the established rules of procedure of ECOSOC, who will remain fully engaged throughout the process: five representatives from the business community; five representatives from civil society; five representatives from the technical and academic community; and five representatives from Intergovernmental organizations.

Further, it was gathered that the Working Group on improvements to the Internet Governance Forum held its first meeting in Montreux, Switzerland on 25 and 26 February 2011 in the Grand Hôtel Suisse-Majestic.

Even as prior to the meeting, Working Group members and invited participants were asked to complete a questionnaire and provide their thoughts on possible improvements to the IGF. Ten responses were submitted.

According to the chairman of the Working Group on IGF, Mr. Frédéric Riehl (Switzerland), the group discussed a number of procedural issues related to the meeting agenda and working methods.

“Several delegations underlined the importance of equal representation from developed and developing countries in the Working Group. Avenues to provide funding for developing country representatives should be further explored and made easily accessible,” he said.

Riehl also said that his group held a detailed discussion on the meeting agenda with some delegations expressing reservations regarding the provisional draft agenda.

“They deemed the draft agenda to be too closely modeled on a draft structure that the Chair had sent out to all members and invited participants to provide comments on the themes proposed in the draft structure,” he said, emphasising that these delegations considered that the draft structure could still be improved and that the current agenda should therefore also be revised.

Other delegations, he said, believed that, rather than deciding on a structure from the start, a discussion of the different themes proposed in the agenda would help identify important issues better and make it easier to shape a structure for the Group’s report.

Some delegations also pointed out that the structure of the Group’s report should have a strong logical hierarchy, starting with the overall objective of improvements to the IGF with reference in particular to the Tunis Agenda1 and General Assembly Resolution (A/65/141) on “Information and communications technologies for development,” adopted on 20 December 2010.

He pointed out that the report should then explore the structures and mechanisms that would be needed to achieving this aim before going into the measures that are necessary to sustain these structures and mechanisms.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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