Saturday, October 15, 2005


This edition of the WSIS Papers newsletter in particular has a LOT of resources on what's going on with ICT strategies around the world. Hats off to the team at for compiling such a rich listing. And of course, the Trinidad and Tobago fastforward initiative is included - regardless of the lack of follow-up with the stakeholders... but that's for another day.


WSIS Papers Newsletter - August 2005 No. 10




- Global initiatives

- Regional Action Plans - WSIS Tunis Phase

- Regional programs

- Some national experiences

- Analysis and research

- E-strategies in Latin America and the Caribbean

- ICT policy and civil society

Available online at:


The “information society” originally springs up as a conceptual model

that intends to account for the profound alterations experienced by

industrial society in recent decades, mainly prompted by the

technological revolution. Thus, the new informational model is usually

regarded as the desired target being unfailingly approached by

countries. However, the pace of transition to the information society

depends to a large extent on the level of development and wealth of

countries, taking into account the stock of knowledge, capacities and

infrastructure needed to successfully complete such transition.

Therefore, Southern countries fall once again behind the most developed

ones, which have begun this transition from a more favourable starting


Within this context, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)

comes into existence as a global process that includes the

participation of key actors in terms of information and communication

issues, such as governments, the private sector and the academy. The

Action Plan approved at the first phase of the Geneva Summit has been

broadly criticized , mainly by civil society organizations. Among the

items criticized there are organization topics (the multistakeholder

approach proposed for the Summit’s organization was not taken into

account to draw up such Plan) as well as political and ideological

aspects. For example, the Geneva Action Plan is criticized for having a

way too technical approach, giving priority to issues of access and

extension of infrastructure rather than to policies for capacity

building; it is also criticized for its lack of applicability when

compared to the high diversity of situations registered worldwide.

Likewise, it has been analysed that the type of public-private

partnerships stipulated in the plan run the risk of minimizing state

intervention and the set of public policies needed, thus exclusively

promoting free-market based solutions which fail to ensure the

achievement of the social development goals desired.

In spite of the above limitations with regards to specific results and

notwithstanding the lack of visibility of the Summit if compared to

other global instances, it has managed to introduce the issue of

information society within national agendas. In this way, national

strategies, cyber-strategies or e-strategies become action frameworks

that support the construction of the information society in the

different regions and countries. At global level, international

institutions such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU),

the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN ICT Task

Force have set precedents in terms of designing and promoting this type

of strategies.

One of the outstanding factors related to the success of these

strategies is the implementation of multistakeholder work frameworks in

the design and application phases, so as to achieve wholesome

perspectives based on the comparative views of all actors taking part

in the process (including civil society and the private sector). The

participation of the private sector in these processes is considered

useful and necessary, provided it takes place under state supervision.

The “let the private sector do it” policy usually and undesirably

results in the extension of infrastructure and connection only to those

market zones that are profitable. The information society action plans

also have to deal with the liberalization of the telecommunication

sector, imposed by international financial institutions in a large

number of countries and regions, such as Latin America. The direct

consequence of such reforms has been a decrease in regulations

concerning the private sector’s actions, which results in the loss of

connection between ICTs policies and human rights policies and the

promotion of citizen practices.

The fact that the governments of less developed countries usually

allocate very few resources for investment on this type of plans should

be added to this complex situation. In view of reduced budgets, these

plans are placed second with regards to priorities such as health and

education. Likewise, most of these countries lack government technical

teams trained in these issues, which results in fragmentary and

short-rage policies and in the lack of participation in global

decision-making instances, such as the WSIS. So, in terms of the design

of policies, there is urgent need to consult and include those civil

society organizations specialized in information and communication

issues, which from their experience are capable of making valuable

contributions to the process.

Action plans aimed at approaching the information society should be

considered as state policies rather than as peripheral or accessory

programmes. The current paradigm is aimed at wholesome programmes,

coordinated at a multi-sectoral level and actively incorporated into

development agendas, as being the most effective in the transition

towards the information society. Emphasis should also be placed on

joint regional efforts and regional strategies or plans.


Global initiatives


* WSIS Geneva Plan of Action

Source: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

The first phase of WSIS took place in Geneva hosted by the Government of

Switzerland from 10 to 12 December 2003, where 175 countries adopted a

Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action. The Geneva Plan of Action

was intended to translate the guiding principles of the Declaration

into concrete action lines to advance the achievement of the

internationally-agreed development goals by promoting the use of ICTs.

PDF format.



* WSIS Stocktaking

Source: ITU

The WSIS Stocktaking is intended to fulfill the dual purpose of

providing an inventory of activities undertaken by governments and all

stakeholders in implementing the Geneva decisions and taking stock of

the progress made in building the Information Society. The stocktaking

was launched in October 2004 and continues to be updated as a dynamic

portal to this rich source of information, open to all.


* E-Strategies - Empowering Development

Source: ITU

ITU's E-strategies main goal consists in assisting developing countries

in harnessing the potentials of ICT to contribute towards reducing the

social divide, improving the quality life, promoting universal access

and facilitating entry into the information society. In all actions,

take into account the needs of rural, isolated and poorly served areas

and people with special needs.



Regional Action Plans - WSIS Tunis Phase


* Latin America and Caribbean Regional Action Plan - eLAC 2007

Source: ECLAC (UN Economic and Social Commission for Latin America and

the Caribbean)

Approved in the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Conference, held in

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 8-10 June 2005, eLAC 2007 is a regional Plan of

Action for public policy. It aims to provide some middle ground between

the ambitious aims of the global community and the needs associated

with actual conditions in the Latin American and Caribbean countries.

The adoption of concerted measures agreed upon at the regional level is

intended to strengthen national strategies and enable the digital

revolution to make a positive contribution to integration in the region.

PDF format.



* Regional Action Plan towards the Information Society for Asia and the



The High Level Asia-Pacific Conference for the World Summit on the

Information Society was held in Tehran from 31 May to 2 June 2005,

jointly organized by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,

UNESCAP, UNDP-APDIP, ITU. The Conference adopted the Tehran Declaration

and the Regional Action Plan towards the Information Society for Asia

and the Pacific and discussed follow up and implementation

strategies/activities. PDF format.


* African Commitments for WSIS Tunis 2005

Source: African Regional Preparatory Conference for the WSIS

The African Regional Preparatory Conference for the WSIS was held from

2-4 February, in Accra, Ghana, with the theme "Access - Africa’s key to

an inclusive Information Society". It aimed at preparing Africa for an

effective participation in the second phase of the WSIS and ensuring a

strategic and interdependent digital partnership that would promote

economic growth and human development of the continent. PDF format.


* Western Asia Regional Plan of Action

Source: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia

(ESCWA) organized the Second Western Asia Preparatory Conference for

the WSIS to follow up on the first phase of WSIS held in Geneva (2003)

and to prepare for its second phase in Tunis (2005). The Conference,

held in Damascus, Siria, from 22-24 November 2004 was held in

collaboration with international and regional organizations and

prominent private sector institutions. It reviewed the latest actions

taken in member countries to reduce the digital divide in light of the

WSIS-Phase 1 outcome and agreed on a regional plan of action with

specific projects, leading to strategic partnerships for their

implementation. PDF format.



Regional programs


* Connectivity Agenda for the Americas

Source: Inter-American Telecommunication Commission

As part of the Summit of the Americas in Quebec City, Canada on April

20-22, 2001, the Heads of State issued a special document focused on

Connectivity in the Americas. The Connectivity Agenda for the Americas

was created to facilitate the beneficial integration of the hemisphere

into an increasingly knowledge-based society.


* Observatory for the Information Society in Latin America and the


Source: ECLAC

OSILAC stands for the Observatory for the Information Society in Latin

America and the Caribbean. The main objective of OSILAC is to

centralize and harmonize data that serve to monitor the status of what

is known as the "information society" in the Latin American and

Caribbean region. The Observatory provides support for national

statistical institutes in compiling indicators on information and

communication technologies (ICTs) in the region and in employing the

associated methodology


* Africa Information Society Initiative

Source: UN Economic and Social Commission for Africa (UNECA)

As a response to the information society, the Conference of African

Ministers meeting at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

(ECA), in May 1995, adopted the Africa Information Society Initiative

(AISI). Driven by critical development imperatives, AISI focuses on

priority strategies, programmes and projects, which can help in building

African information societies. A key component of the AISI is the

development of national e-strategies,or the National Information and

Communication Infrastructure policies.


* Collaboration for international ICT policy / East and Southern Africa

Source: CIPESA

Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa

(CIPESA) is one of two centres established under the Catalysing Access

to Information and Communications Technologies in Africa (CATIA)

initiative. The overall goals for CIPESA are to develop the capacity of

African stakeholders to contribute effectively to international

decision-making on ICT and ICT-related products and services, and on

the role of ICT in development; and to build multi-stakeholder

policy-making capacity in African countries.


* Asia-Pacific Developement Information Programme

Source: APDIP

APDIP is a UNDP initiative that seeks to promote and establish

information technology (IT) for social and economic development

throughout Asia-Pacific. Launched in 1997 and based in Kuala Lumpur, the

Programme serves 42 countries in a vast region, from Iran in the west,

north to Mongolia and south to the Pacific Islands of Fiji.


* ICT Applications Section / Asia-Pacific

Source: UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP)

The ICT Applications Section of ESCAP's Information, Communication and

Space Technology Division (ICSTD) promotes the use of ICT that

contributes to economic and social development. The Section's activities

focus on key applications identified in the Plan of Action of the first

phase of WSIS and the Tokyo Declaration such as e-governance,

e-business, knowledge sharing, rural ICT services, e-health, distance

education, and the section also supports the activities of the Asian and

Pacific Centre for Transfer of Technology (APCTT).



Some national experiences


* Azerbaijan: National Information Communication Technologies Strategy

Project (NICTS)

Source: NICTS

To help Azerbaijan in harnessing the potential of information

communication technologies (ICT) for meeting the country's development

goals primarily through assistance in preparation and initial

implementation of a national strategy aimed to "Bridge the Digital

Divide" and through facilitating the development of the country's ICT



* Brazil: Green Book

Source: Sociedade da Informação Brasil

The main purpose of the Brazilian Information Society Program is to

establish the foundations of a nationwide strategic project to

integrate and coordinate the development and employment of advanced

computer, communication and information technologies and their

applications in society. This endeavor will allow the government to

further research and education, as well as assure that the Brazilian

economy is capable of competing on the world market. PDF format.


* Ghana: National ICT Policy and Plan Development Committee

Source: Ministry of Communications Ghana

The National ICT Policy and Plan Development Committee set up by the

Ghana Government is tasked to develop an ICT-led Socio-Economic

Development Policy and the corresponding Plan on the basis of an

extensive national consultative exercise.


* India: National Task Force on IT and Software Development

Source: National Task Force on IT and Software Development

India's National Task Force on IT and Software Development was set up by

the Prime Minister's Office on May 22, 1998, under the Chairmanship of

the Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission. This taskforce had a mandate

to formulate the draft of a National Informatics Policy. A special

website was designed to make the evolution of the Policy transparent.

The Task Force has submitted its reports, including a IT Action Plan,

which can be found online at this website.


* India: Department of Information Technology

Source: Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

In 1999, the Ministry of Information Technology (MIT) was established in

India to facilitate all initiatives in the IT sector. The Ministry was

then merged with the Communications Ministry to form the Ministry of

Communication and Information Technology (MCIT). Currently the

Department of Information Technology (DIT), under the MCIT, works as the

nodal agency for Information Technology. The Department of

Telecommunications and Department of Posts are the two other key

departments under the MCIT. An "action taken" report and a Ministerial

"Ten Point Agenda", set up in May 2004, can be found here among other

important information about India's ICT policies and priorities.


* Jamaica: A five-year Strategic Information Technology Plan

Source: Government of Jamaica

This document endeavors to provide a scheme for achieving social and

economic progress by utilizing Information and Communications

Technology (ICT) as a developmental vehicle. It strives to include all

sectors of the economy in a skillfully designed plan. PDF format.



* Philippines: Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Council


Source: Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Council

In 1994, the National Information Technology Council (NITC) was created

and designated as the central policy body on IT matters in the country.

Four years later in 1998, the Electronic Commerce Promotion Council

(ECPC) was created to be the coordinating body of public-private

partnerships for the promotion and development of e-commerce. In July

2000, NITC and the ECPC were merged, coinciding with the approval of

the Government Information Systems Plan (GISP). The merger resulted in

the Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Council (ITECC).


* Philippines' IT Action Agenda for the 21st Century (IT21)

Source: National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)

IT21 documents our common vision and presents our nation’s broad

strategy to spur our country to global competitiveness through

information technology. It sets down specific time frames for achieving

these goals


* Rwanda: An Integrated ICT-led Socio-Economic Development Policy and


Source: UNECA

A policy document for the transformation of Rwanda into an

information-rich based society and economy within twenty years.


* South African Information Technology Industry Strategy (SAITIS)

Source: Department of Trade and Industry South Africa

SAITIS is a bilateral project between the South African government,

represented by the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Canadian

Government represented by the Canadian International Development Agency

(CIDA). The purpose of this project is to further the development of

the ICT Sector in South Africa. The strategy is intended to be

complementary to and supportive of broader socio-economic development

goals of the government of South Africa, particularly with regard to its

emphasis on social upliftment and empowerment.


* South Africa's Department of Communications Strategic Plan 2005-2008

Source: Department of Communications

The outcome of the strategic planning exercise has been to define, in

even greater clarity, the role of the Department of Communications

within the country's agenda to achieve economic and social

transformation through ICT's. The objective being to attain a

non-racial and non-sexist society with justice and equality for all

where all the citizens participate in the national processes that lead

towards total transformation. PDF format.


* Tanzania National ICT Policy

Source: APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor

The Tanzania Development Vision 2025 envisages a nation imbued with five

main attributes: high quality livelihood; peace, stability and unity;

good governance; a well educated and learning society; and a strong and

competitive economy capable of producing sustainable growth and shared

benefits. On the other hand, this Policy has articulated ten main focus

areas in harnessing ICT in Tanzania which include strategic ICT

leadership; ICT infrastructure; ICT Industry; Human Capital; Legal and

Regulatory Framework; Productive Sectors; Service Sectors; Public

Service; Local Content; and Universal Access. PDF format.


* Trinidad and Tobago's fastforward agenda

Source: The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago's fastforward agenda is all about transforming the

country into a knowledge-based society by 2008. Government working with

the public and private sectors, has produced an exciting roadmap that

charts a clear and determined course to an online society and a

knowledge-based economy. fastforward provides farreaching strategies for

the development of a connected country that will adapt, flourish and

prosper in the new global information society.


* Uganda: National Information and Communication Technology Policy

Source: LogosNet - International Labour Office (ILO)

In order for developments in the ICT sector to be addressed

systematically, the Uganda government has formulated an ICT Policy

Framework. The scope of this Policy covers information as a resource for

development, mechanisms for accessing information, and ICT as an

industry, including e-business, software development and manufacturing.

The policy looks at various categories of information from different

sectors, essentially aimed at empowering people to improve their living




Analysis and research


* The centrality of e-strategies in the WSIS Plan of Action

Willie Currie

Source: APC

The term ‘e-strategies’ has gained widespread use over the last few

years in the debates on the role of information and communications

technologies (ICTs) for development, following the UN Millennium

Declaration in 2000. This paper explores its meaning in the framework

of the WSIS I outcomes. PDF format.


* National approaches to ICT

Source: Digital Opportunity Initiative (DOI)

This document forms part of the Digital Opportunity Initiative report

"Creating a Development Dynamic". It is focused on the rol that ICTs

must play in national development strategies, and contains descriptions

of national ICT approaches on countries such as Costa Rica, Estonia,

India, Malasia, South Africa and Tanzania. PDF format.


* Why national strategies are needed for ICT-enabled development

Nagy K. Hana

Source: Development Gateway

This paper explores the need for national strategies for ICT-enabled

development. It aims to improve understanding of the challenges and

opportunities of the ICT revolution, and their implications for

development policy and strategies. The paper concludes by outlining the

rationale for designing national strategies for e-development and

options, objectives and major thrust for such strategies in support of

economic growth, poverty reduction and the MDGs. PDF format.


* A global overview of e-strategies

Kate Wild

Source: UNICTTF (United Nations ICT Task Force)

A discussion paper for the 5th Session of the United Nations ICT Task

Force in Geneva, September 12 and 13, 2003. This paper is about the

connection between strategies to reduce poverty and strategies to

maximize ICT benefit. It reviews the evolution of ICT strategies region

by region and analyses the connection between e-strategies and poverty

reduction strategies.PDF format.


* Developing National Information and Communications Infrastructure

(NICI) Policies, Plans and Strategies: The 'why' and 'how'

Source: UNECA

NICI plans and strategies need to reflect overall development

priorities, redefine sectoral policies and support the introduction of

new regulatory framework so as to improve the efficiency and to mobilise

resources for building national information and communication

infrastructure. Attempts are made in this paper to assess the ICT

situation in African countries, to outline the pressing need to

build-up NICI plans and strategies and the various steps to be taken to

enable countries to be part of the information society.


* E-Strategies National, Sectoral and Regional ICT Policies, Plans and


Source: UNECA

This report assesses the state of national and regional ICT

policies,plans and strategies in Africa. It focuses on the role of ECA

(Economic Comission for Africa) and summarizes major regional and global

initiatives being undertaken in or relevant to Africa. It also

highlights new applications and initiatives in key sectors,and concludes

with lessons learned and the way forward. PDF format.


* An Overview of ICT Policies and e-Strategies of Select Asian Economies

Emmanuel C. Lallana

Source: Asia-Pacific Development Programme

This publication provides a comparative study of ICT policies and

e-strategies of nine Asian countries - India, Japan, Republic of Korea,

Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. It

identifies and analyzes the strengths, weaknesses, similarities and

gaps in policy formulation in Asia. PDF format.


* ICT Policies and e-Strategies in the Asia Pacific: A Critical

Assessment of The Way Forward

Source: Asia-Pacific Development Programme

This book has three distinct areas of focus: an analytical overview of

the ICT policies and e-strategies in the region, fundamentals of policy

formulation and the development process, and thematic priority areas to

be addressed in the conceptualization and development of policies. PDF




E-strategies in Latin America and the Caribbean


* ECLAC: Policy formulation for the information society

Source: ECLAC

Set of documents focusing on the routes made by Latin America and the

Caribbean towards the information society. Alternatives are proposed

for the design of national strategies to be adopted by the countries of

the region, in order to ensure the success of this transition.




* Benchmarking the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information

Society (WSIS) in Latin America and the Caribbean

Martin Hilbert, Doris Olaya

Source: UNPAN

This document is the third version of an ongoing exercise to benchmark

the Plan of Action of the World Summit on the Information Society

(WSIS). Graphs and tables are indicative and aim at demonstrating the

current situation of Latin America and the Caribbean countries in

relation to achieving the actions proposed during the 2003 Geneva phase

of WSIS. Conslusions are drawn from the presented evidence in every

field, which results in the particular challenges the region faces in

the transition toward a Latin American and Caribbean Information

Society.PDF format.


* Connecting to Public Policy. An exploration of ICTs and Public Policy

in Latin America and the Caribbean

Katherine Reilly, Ricardo Gómez

Source: Katherine Reilly Net

This report is the main output of the meeting "Public Policy and

Information and Communications Technologies for Social Transformation

in Latin America and the Caribbean," held in San José, Costa Rica,

organised by the PAN Americas program of the International Development

Research Centre (IDRC). The job of this report is to pull out some of

the main lessons learned from the workshop, and areas that were

identified for further exploration and research. PDF format.


* Final Report ICT Policy and Strategic Plan

Source: Red Sobre el Impacto Social de las TIC (RedISTIC)

This is the final of three reports comprising the output of the

Consulting Services in Information & Communication Technology project.

It presents the results of the regional and national consultations and

lists a set of recommendations for the proposed ICT Policy for the OECS

(Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) region. PDF format.




ICT policy and civil society


* Involving Civil Society in ICT Policy: the World Summit on the

Information Society

Source: APC

Access to information and communications technologies (ICTs) is

expanding but the majority of people in developing countries are still

excluded, says APC. APC and the CRIS Campaign have been following the

WSIS process and their publication "Involving Civil Society in ICT

Policy: the World Summit on the Information Society" highlights some of

the main issues at stake. PDF format.


* ICT Policy for Civil Society: Training Curriculum

Source: APC

The ICT Policy for Civil Society training course builds the capacity of

civil society organisations to understand policy and regulation related

to information and communication technologies (ICT) so that they can

begin to engage and influence policy processes affecting ICT adoption

and implementation at national, regional and global levels.


* Civil Society and National ICT Programmes: matchmaking

Miguel Saravia

Source: ITDG

This text was written within the framework of the Project entitled

"Civilian Organisations in the face of National ICT Projects: 4 case

studies" which ITDG carried out with the support of the IDRC. This

project was implemented between December 2002 and June 2004 and

included visits to 4 Latin American countries (Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela

and El Salvador), as well as interviews with government representatives

and civilian organizations. Is it possible to refer to the information

society without the participation of the civil society? How can the

'information society' be understood within a poverty context? What

approaches can be used to explain the role to be played by the civil

society with other stakeholders of the information society? Those

questions guided this research. PDF format.


* National ICT policies making in Africa: Implications for CSOs

Lishan Adam

Source: Social Science Research Council

The gap between expectations and realization in e-strategies suggests

that civil society has a key role in stimulating national ICT polices

in Africa, says the author of this article. PDF format.



* Building the Future: Civil Society's Contribution Towards the

Emergence of the Information Society in Cameroon

Source: APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor

This report describes a partnership building process between the

Cameroonian government, private sector and CSOs in an effort to build

the ICT sector in response to government's perceived failure to do so.

It emphasizes the role of civil society in the formulation of national

ICT policy and strategies and the creation of an enabling environment

for ICT sector growth. PDF format.


* Egypt ICT and Civil Society Country Report

Source: APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor

Egypt's CSO sector is active and far reaching, however despite the

increase in the number of users, and the fact that Internet policy and

regulation is becoming an issue, although only a tiny minority of

activists work in this area. Recent lobbying on the newest

communication bill is an encouraging sign that representatives of civil

society are waking up to the fact that civil society much stake a claim

in ICT policy formulation processes. PDF format.


* Fostering the Capacities of the Ethiopia Civil Society to Influence

ICT Policies

Source: APC Africa ICT Policy Monitor

This paper presents the case of civil society organizations in Ethiopia

and discusses how their involvement in ICT policy process can be

improved. Although recent initiatives by the Federal Government in

modernizing its ICT policies and the opening up the telecommunication

sector present windows of opportunities for the civil society to

participate in the policy process, the inherent weakness of the civil

society due to the spread of its efforts along dozens priorities aimed

at responding to the on-going social and economic crisis in the country

makes the participation in ICT policy process rather difficult. PDF





Related Choike's in-depth reports


* World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)


* ICTD within the framework of the MDGs


* Telecentres: a model for social appropriation of ICTs



- "WSIS Papers" and "Choike" are projects of the

Instituto del Tercer Mundo (ITeM) - Third World Institute

- "WSIS Papers" is supported by the

International Development Research Centre (IDRC) / PanAmericas

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