Summit of solutions

Updated: Nov 17 2005, 05:30am hrs
We live in a world full of disparity, where the majority still live in a state of deprivation and poverty. Add to this the looming threat of Digital Divide. Consider- ing the challenges faced by humanity and the constraints that can hold back benefits from Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to the developing countries and under-privileged people, the UN General Assembly proposed holding of a World Summit on Information Society (WSIS). This would be a first of its type, to be held in two phases.

During the first phase at Geneva, the participants agreed to Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action. In the intervening two years, issues related to internet governance occupied the centerstage.

The Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG), set up by the UN secretary-general, did a splendid job in arriving at a working definition of this phrase. And brought forth four different models to be considered at the forthcoming second phase at Tunis.

It must be stressed during discussions that ICT alone would not be able to deliver the goods. It must be affordable and integrated in the overall public policy framework and be more relevant to the needs of the five billion people at the bottom of the pyramid. Only then will ICT transform their lives.

The true success of the Tunis meet would lie in building up a momentum for sustained global partnerships, where deprived people are not only involved in an inclusive process, but their capacity building is also enriched. And are treated as equal partners in this exercise.

The writer is secretary, Internet Service Providers Association of India