Wednesday, May 17, 2006

World Information Society Day Conference in Geneva


I am writing from inside the Centre International de Conferences Geneve, where in few minutes will start the World Information Society Day Conference. I am here as member and representative of Alfa-Redi and this afternoon the First WSIS follow-up action line facilitation meeting on "e-business and e-employment" will take place in the UN's Palais des Nations.
11:15- The VIPs have arrived and a nice strings quartet is playing some lovely classical music...it seems that the meeting is starting.
11:20- Speech of the Secretary General of ITU, who says that together we can build a future where information is shared and its benefits be enjoyed by all
11:30- The Director General of Geneva's UN Office talks about the importance of WSIS and focuses on cybersecurity. Trust and security are essential to economic growth.
11:33- The President of the Swiss Federation of Telecommunications (?) speaks in French. Time to get the headphones (and study French again). Reaffirms the commitment of Switzerland to what it was agreed in both WSIS (Geneva 2003 and Tunisia 2005). Governments will be able to announce positive results if all the stakeholders participate in the process. ITU has to keep adapting, as it has been doing, to new challenges. Cooperation is a must.
11:38- The Minister of Communication Technologies of the Republic of Tunisia (I also need to learn Arabic!) talks about the delight of his country for hosting WSIS. ICT distribution has not be balanced or equitable. The international community should step up its efforts to make real that everyone benefits from ICTs, especially the African countries.
11:45- More music...
11:47- The President of Senegal and the Managing Director of the Grameen Bank get the World Information society Awards for their works to bridge the digital divide (they used other words though) and helping the poor. Representatives and delegates give a standing clapping but some representatives of developed countries don't stand (?!)
11:49- More music...
11:50- The Managing Director of the Grameen Bank says that he expects that this Award helps to raise awareness about the need to end poverty. Not coming from tech background entered into the IT world to help fight poverty. He put poor women in the mobile phone business through the Grameen Phone, and started a win-win-win situation. More than 400,00 "phone-ladies" at the end of this year. Collaboration with MIT-Media lab for the use of the $100 laptop. Social program "16 Decisions", and a long list of programs to end poverty.
12:10- The President of Senegal refers to the efforts of the international community to raise awareness about ICT issues. The honor goes to the people of Senegal and the people of Africa because he proposed the idea of the Digital Solidarity Fund, but they put it in place. Thanks to Internet you can go to the world and the world can come to you, but there are risks too. We have to get together. Refers to Wikipedia as important to give access to information. Senegal's 40% of the national budget goes to education and training (!!!) Refers to the choice of software (against the predetermination of the type of it) Says that some might be thinking why he is not focusing on feeding people instead that on computers, but he thinks that the computers are the tools that would allow people to feed themselves. E-learning important to balance the brain drain.
12:40- This is the end...no music?

2 comments:

RAMON MUJICA said...

Thanks, for the "on-line" news, from the event.

Ramón Mujica.

feneuk said...

Un humilde servidor Ramon :-)