ICT Policy Making in ESCWA Member Countries
2-4 May 2006, UN-House, Beirut, Lebanon
The WSIS recommendations include proposals to launch strategies at
national and regional levels, focusing on a number of areas,
including universal access to information, affordable information
and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure and services, and
an enabling environment based on clear policies, laws and
regulations, as expressed in the Declaration of Principles and the
Plan of Action.
To activate the execution of WSIS recommendation, the United Nation
Department of Economic and Social Affairs in collaboration with the
Regional Commissions, UNDP and UNCTAD are committed for the
execution of the project “Capacity-Building for ICT policy-making”.
The main goal of the project is to provide technical assistance and
advisory services to decision makers from United Nations Member
States, in particular developing countries and countries with
economy in transition, in order to develop comprehensive and
sustainable ICT-for-development policies and effectively integrate
them into overall national development programmes and strategies.
Additionally, the project aims at establishing a network of ICT
stakeholders and policy makers for knowledge-sharing on ICT
policy-related issues. This network will promote bilateral,
regional, and international cooperation, in particular South-South
Most of the countries in the ESCWA region are fulfilling WSIS
recommendations concerning the formulation of ICT strategies or
e-strategies. Moreover, some countries have taken great strides in
transforming their societies to information societies, while others
have taken their first steps towards that end, and others still are
facing basic challenges posed by insufficient ICT infrastructure.
This workshop aims at contributing to streamlining the process of
building an integrated knowledge society in accordance with the
goals of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It will
provide decision makers in the region with a framework and a guide
for the design and development of national strategies aimed at the
realization and advancement of the information society and
knowledge-based economies, the implementation of such strategies and
the evaluation of their impact.
The workshop aims also at promoting bilateral, regional and
international cooperation, in particular, the South-South
cooperation, in the areas of ICT policy, strategy and regulation
through the establishment of a network of ICTD stakeholders and
policy makers for sharing experiences and knowledge which will lead
to capacity building.
The workshop will mainly cover the following topics:
1. Crafting national ICT strategies for development: It involves
outlining the core issues facing a country moving towards the
2. Formulating sectoral policies as part of an integrated knowledge
society: The need for integrating national ICT strategies overlaps
with four well-established policy fields namely technology,
industry, telecommunications and media strategies. This workshop
will focus on policies for education, employment, health and
welfare, which are increasingly having to address issues in which
ICT could play a profound enabling role.
3. Implementing the strategies and devising plans of action: While
it can be difficult to reach consensus on the basic components of a
strategy, the institution of measures to ensure and monitor
implementation of the strategy could prove more complex. Moreover,
despite the high quality of a strategy, it could fail to be
implemented. Thus, this workshop will focus on modalities that can
be adopted to ensure the effective implementation of a strategy.
4. Measuring, analyzing and evaluating the impact of ICT policies:
The workshop will focus on measuring the degree of improvement in
analyzing and evaluating results. Measurement allows a country to
assess its status and provides quantitative reference between
regions and countries. Measurement could also be considered as an
effective tool for monitoring implementation as it can provide
periodic feedback reports to assess progress against goals. Finally,
measurement is also useful in predicting future events or outcomes.
5. Prioritizing actions for the knowledge society: National ICT
strategies must establish a set of key priority areas for
intervention such as capacity building, telecommunications reform,
e-government, Internet governance, security and e-commerce. Many of
these areas are linked to the priorities stated within national
6. Designing partnership schemes and financing initiatives towards
the knowledge society: WSIS outcome highlighted two main concerns in
reducing the digital divide between developing and developed
countries; namely, financing and partnership. The workshop will
focus on specific needs of ESCWA member countries related to
partnerships for building the knowledge society and financing the
The major output of the Workshop will be to enhance capacity of
national governments institutions of ESCWA member countries in
planning and implementing ICT national strategies and policies, as
well as initiate effective participation in global and regional
decision making processes on ICT policy. It also aims to identify
key regional ICT stakeholders and policy makers.
The Workshop will be conducted in Beirut, Lebanon during the period
2-4 May 2006.
The Workshop will be organized by the Information and Communication
Technology Division (ICTD) at ESCWA, in coordination with the UN
Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). It will include a
number of general presentations and case studies from selected ESCWA
member countries on the above topics as well as discussion sessions
focusing on ICT policy and the integration of ICT and its
applications in development plans. A session dedicated for the
recommendations of the workshop and the follow-up for building a
network of ICT policy makers, will conclude the workshop.
Participants of this workshop are mainly from government agencies in
charge of ICT for development policies, telecommunications operators
and Internet/application service providers. ICT
entrepreneurs/start-ups and professional and civil society
organizations are invited to attend as potential stakeholders.
Priority countries are least developing and post conflict countries.
Pre-registration can be performed by filling and returning the
attached pre-registration form by email to Nibal Idlebi
<firstname.lastname@example.org>, with cc to Sukaina Al-Nasrawi <email@example.com>.
A limited number of fellowship grants to attend the workshop are
available for participants with potential to become active member of
the network of ICT stakeholders and policy makers. Special attention
will be given to participants located in least developing and post
conflict countries to support their travel and/or subsistence
The working languages of the workshop will be Arabic and English.
Therefore, simultaneous translation from Arabic to English and
vice-versa will be provided during the sessions.
Submissions, inquiries and requests for additional information
should be addressed to:
First Information Technology Officer
ICT Division, ESCWA
Inquiries regarding logistics, including travel and accommodation,
should be directed to:
ICT Division, ESCWA