World IT Forum (WITFOR) Commissions and Themes
Preparation for WITFOR 2005 is being facilitated through eight worldwide Commissions of experts. They are working to transform the eight themes and associated projects, into tangible real undertakings. The Commissions are reviewing developments, identifying best practices, and providing project proposals for implementation in developing countries to accelerate development.
The Commissions are currently receiving professional input, which will be part of the draft text for the Gaborone Declaration This will be a document detailing projects and research activities that can be implemented in developing countries, some in partnership with developed countries, to accelerate development and bridge the digital divide.
The Declaration will be reviewed and finalised at WITFOR 2005. Following this, it will be submitted to the UNESCO General Conference 2005 and the World Summit on the Information Society, WSIS, 2005.
Efforts are also being made to identify resources for some of the projects that emanate from WITFOR. For example, the WITFOR Health Commission has already received funding from European Union (EU) for a project, BEANISH (Building Europe Africa collaborative Network for applying IST in the Health care sector), within the context of health information system development, for implementation through international collaboration.
The outcome of each Commission will be presented in the Gaborone Declaration, and will include:
- a case study presented at WITFOR;
- a follow-on research proposal, that may be implemented at national level or through regional or international partnerships; and
- a project that promotes the use of ICT for accelerated development.
Each of the Commissions has three internationally recognised experts as co-chairs.
The Commissions cover the following themes:
Building the infrastructure
- Support an enabling and competitive environment for the necessary investment in ICT infrastructure;
- Provide and improve connectivity for all places accessible to the public (schools, libraries, post offices, etc.); and
- Develop and strengthen national, regional and international broadband network infrastructure.
- Promote the use of e-business models;
- Stimulate private sector investment in e-business; and
- Government support to SMME's entry into ICT e-business.
- Use and promote ICT as an instrument for environmental protection and the sustainable use of natural resources.
- Use of ICT to extend health care to remote and underserved areas;
- Access to the world's medical knowledge; and
- Monitor and control the spread of communicable diseases (in particular HIV/Aids).
- Develop policies to ensure that ICT is fully integrated in education and training at all levels;
- Promote e-Literacy for all; and
- Develop ICT-based alternative educational delivery systems (e-Learning) to achieve Education for All targets.
- Using ICT in dissemination of knowledge and information, particularly to rural communities; and
- Use of ICT to improve production.
Social, ethical and legal aspects
- Increase awareness in the ethical dimension of ICT;
- The Information Society should be subject to universally held values, promote the common good and prevent abusive uses of ICT; and
- Nations should work towards digital inclusion by providing affordable access to ICT by all.
Empowerment and participation
- Devise appropriate universal access policies and strategies;
- Develop cost-effective community user information systems;
- Address the special requirements of marginalised groups; and
- Develop affordable technologies