The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2009 was held on 18 - 22 May 2009, at the ITU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland. WSIS was co-organized by ITU, UNESCO, UNCTAD and UNDP. Mr. Huseyin Hakan Eryetli, Director of the Publication and IT Department, and Mr. Atilla Karaman, Researcher, represented the Centre thereat.
The Forum offered participants a series of diverse meetings, including high-level panels addressing critical issues to the WSIS implementation and follow-up in multi-stakeholder set-ups, WSIS action line facilitation meetings, thematic workshops, kick-off meetings for new initiatives and projects, speed-exchanges facilitating networking among the participants, and the others.
H.E. Mr. Ali Abbasov, Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan and H.E. Mr. Hassam Baryalai, Deputy Minister of Communication and Information Technology of Afghanistan have addressed the Opening Session of WSIS.
H.E. Mr. Ali Abbasov expressed that his country had become a leading country in ICT in the region. He also briefed the participants on the recent developments regarding the Transnational-Eurasian Information Super Highway project.
H.E. Mr. Hassam Baryalai summarized the recent ICT developments in Afghanistan in his speech. He mentioned that the Government of Afghanistan has given priority to ICT in the Development Strategy of Afghanistan in 2008. He also added that within a short period of time both the private and public ICT investments in his country have resulted in 3100 km of operational fiber optic backbone connecting Afghan cities to the world. Emphasizing the need for public and private sector cooperation in ICT, he informed the Afghan National Data Centre will be operational as of June 2009 to serve the e-government applications in Afghanistan. He concluded that the outcome of Summit will become a roadmap for the creation of Information Society.
During the High-Level Panel sessions of WSIS, participants discussed on the issues related to Accessing Knowledge, Financial Mechanisms in the Economic Downturn, Cybersecurity, Climate Change and the ICTs, and ICT Applications for Better Life.
The participants in the Facilitation Meetings of the event dug deep into the issues ranging from infrastructure to e-Learning. In the Facilitation Meeting Action Line C2 Infrastructure, H.E. Mr. Abdol Majid Riazi, Deputy Minister of Communication and Information Technology of Iran summarized the recent infrastructure developments in ICT in Iran. He emphasized the availability and quality of access is vital in the path to Information Society. He informed the audience that the problems Iran facing today to bridge the digital divide by 2015 are not due to difficulties in finance, human resources or knowledge base but due to embargoes applied by ICT infrastructure hardware suppliers against Iran.
The WSIS also hosted Thematic Workshops. During one of the Workshops, the successful ICT public private partnership from Bangladesh was discussed. The presentation focused on Commercial Community Information Centers (CICs), mobile based information and advisory services through call centers, an e-governance model in Bangladesh.
The SESRIC participants carried out several mutual contacts with delegates from OIC Member Countries and other international organizations during the duration of the Forum and informed these contacts on the upcoming "International Conference on E-Government: Sharing the Experience" to take place in Antalya-Turkey on 8 - 11 December 2009.
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