The Second Phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) gets under way this week in Tunisia with a promise of bridging the digital divide between the more developed and developing countries and hastening the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the help of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs).
For us in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), we welcome the WSIS process as it provides the policy framework and the opportunity to focus on the policies and actions needed both at the national and regional levels, to ensure that our nationals across the Caribbean can have available to them, more information, knowledge and opportunities for improving their quality of life.
In the first phase of the WSIS that was held in Geneva two years ago, a Plan of Action (PoA) was approved and the Geneva Principles were adopted. It is important that we encourage adherence to this Plan of Action because it is in ensuring its implementation that developing countries will move closer towards achieving the MDGs by 2015.
Many CARICOM Member States have been making tremendous strides at the national level in applying the use of new technologies to enhance important facets of economic and human development such as education, health care, media and markets for new products.
However the Plan of Action, which demands a collaborative effort to ensure broad acceptance and implementation of these goals, affords us a good framework for cooperation and collaboration at all levels – government, private sector and civil society.
As we look forward to the full implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), we are challenged to utilise the new ICT tools to design interventions, such as labour market information systems, in order to take full advantage of our human resource capital in the new economic space which will open up as of 1st January 2006.
The Human and Social Development agenda of our Region will certainly be affected by whatever strides are made over the course of this week’s meeting. We look forward to the successful conclusion of the Summit, but more importantly, we look forward to working with all the development agencies and the UN, in realising the Plan of Action towards the formation of the Global Information Society.