The purpose of the meeting was to look at UNESCO’s three main roles in the implementation of and follow-up to the World Summit on the Information Society (Geneva, 2003; Tunis, 2005), namely: (i) implementing concrete activities in follow-up to the Summit; (ii) facilitating the coherent implementation of the six Action Lines under its responsibility, and (iii) engaging, together with ITU and UNDP, in the overall multi-stakeholder coordination and the various WSIS follow-up mechanisms.
Referring to his recent conversations with Secretary-General Touré of ITU and Administrator Dervis of UNDP in Davos, Mr Matsuura explained that UNESCO and ITU would henceforth need to further strengthen their leadership role in the process, in particular, with regard to the United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS), as UNDP will only play a secondary role in the WSIS follow-up. Hence, at the next UNGIS meeting to be organized in May, UNESCO will hand the UNGIS chairmanship back to ITU.
With regard to UNESCO’s role as Facilitator of six Action Lines – access to information and knowledge (C3); e-learning and e-science (C7); cultural and linguistic diversity (C8); media (C9), and ethical dimensions (C10) – sectoral focal points reported on the achievements to date and possible ways and means to improve the implementation process. Acknowledging the difficulties the Action Line Facilitators were facing given the decreasing interest and attendance at the annual consultation meetings, the Director-General encouraged the sectors to find innovative approaches to Action Line facilitation. It was suggested that one possibility would be to organize discussions in sub-groups with a focus on a specific issue.
Mr Matsuura underscored the importance of fixing concrete targets and achieving tangible results in the WSIS follow-up, integrating the recommendations of UNESCO’s World Report Towards Knowledge Societies into the process.
Within the context of the UN system-wide drive to deliver as one, the Director-General felt that the WSIS follow-up and implementation should serve as an example of successful UN cooperation. In this regard, he highlighted the importance of decentralizing the responsibility for the implementation of the various activities to UNESCO’s Field Offices. This is all the more important as the major responsibility for the WSIS lies with national governments.
Summing up the discussions, the Director-General expressed his satisfaction at how UNESCO is exercising its threefold role in the WSIS implementation and follow-up process and asked ADG/CI to spearhead UNESCO’s efforts in this regard so as to maintain the momentum and enthusiasm gained over the two phases of the Summit.
Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 010-2008 - Publication Date: 31-01-2008