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MEETINGS

Capacity-building Workshop on Information Society ıMeasurements: Core Indicators, Statistics, and Data ıCollection - Beirut, 7-10 June 2005ı

The availability of reliable statistical data and indicators regarding societal e-readiness and use ıand impact of information and communication technologies [ICTs] is essential for policy makers to ıformulate strategies for ICT-driven economic growth and social development, and help place countries ıon the road towards the Information Society [IS]. To this end, the heads of states and governments ıhave approved a Plan of Action [PoA] during the first phase of the World Summit on the Information ıSociety [WSIS], held in Geneva in December 2003. The PoA called for all countries and regions to ıdevelop the tools that provide statistical information on the progress made towards the realization of ıthe IS. It also required that priority be given in setting up coherent and internationally comparable ıindicator systems, taking into account different levels of development.ı

Following the first phase of WSIS, a number of key international stakeholders involved in the ıstatistical measurement of ICTs joined forces to create a global “Partnership on Measuring ICT for ıDevelopment.” The Partnership was formally launched during the eleventh United Nations Conference ıon Trade and Development [UNCTAD XI], held in Sao Paulo, in June 2004. The Partnership aims at ıbringing the stakeholders, who are interested in the statistical measurement of ICT, to work together to ıclose the data gap at the international level, in particular in developing countries. Specifically, the ıPartnership has three interlinked objectives, namely:ı

ı•ı Develop sets of core ICT indicators relevant to various stakeholders. These sets will be ıharmonized and agreed upon internationally, and will constitute the basis for a database on ıICT statistics;ı
ı•ı Enhance the capacities of national statistical offices [NSOs] in developing countries and ıbuild competence to develop statistical compilation programmes on the IS;ı
ı•ı Develop a global database on ICT indicators and make it available on the Internet.ı

The objectives aim at devising the appropriate variables, enhanced measuring mechanisms, and ısupporting instruments needed to evaluate and monitor the evolution of the IS regionally, and in ıcomparison with other countries and regions globally.ı

The work of the Partnership has so far focused on fulfilling its first objective: namely, the ıharmonization of the lists of core ICT indicators that are developed regionally, and by specialized ıinternational organizations in their respective fields of expertise, and in accord with their mandates. ıThe International Telecommunication Union [ITU] has long been at the forefront for collecting ıtelecommunication indicators worldwide. The Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia ıı[ESCWA] held a Roundtable on “Information Society Indicators and Profiles for Western Asia,” in ıBeirut, during 4-5 October 2004, in which the NSOs of its member countries adopted a list of core ICT ıindicators. The list is comprised of a global core that preserves compatibility with international efforts ıand a regional supplement that addresses regional specificities. The Economic Commission for Africa ıı[ECA] also adopted a list of core ICT indicators of its own. All lists, including those of ESCWA and ıECA, were considered in the WSIS thematic meeting on “Measuring the Information Society,” held in ıGeneva, during 7-9 February 2005. The outcome of the meeting was a list of forty-two [42] core ICT ıindicators under four [4] categories: infrastructure and access, households and individuals, businesses, ıand ICT sector, that all countries might consider collecting. The agreed-upon list was recognized in ıthe 36Th session of the United Nations Statistical Commission, held in New York, during 1-4 March ıı2005.ı

Objectives

The workshop is the first to be held on capacity building for the statistical measurement of the ıIS in Western Asia and the Arab region. Generally speaking, the objective of the workshop is “to help ıcountries acquire the expertise to determine their own data needs and priorities; to collect these data; ıto interpret and use them effectively; to undertake research, problem solving and problem formulation; ıand to sustain these capacities.”ı ı Specifically, the purpose of the workshop is to introduce the ıparticipants to the process of developing indicators with relevance to policy making and decision ısupport, with regards to monitoring progress, measuring output, and assessing impact; to familiarize ıthem with available indicators and basic definitions, data collection methods, and data management ıand information dissemination devices; and to help with the formulation of national and regional ıcapacity building plans.ı

Topics

Capacity building for IS measurements is as evolving as the field itself. The make up of ıfuture capacity building workshops could possibly be different as a result of updating or appending ıexisting lists of core indicators; of developing definitions, computing methods, and data collection ımethodologies; and/or of countries gaining experience with measuring the IS. The main topics to be ıcovered in the present workshop are as follows:ı

ı•ı Policy making and monitoring: from policies to indicators
ı•ı Monitoring implementation;ı
ı•ı Measuring output;ı
ı•ı Assessing impact.ı
ı•ı Indicator definitions and methodologies:ı
ı•ı Basic infrastructure and access indicators;ı
ı•ı Household and individual indicators;ı
ı•ı Business indicators;ı
ı•ı Future indicators: Education, government.ı

ı•ı Measurement of indicators:ı
ı•ı Data collection, management, and dissemination;ı
ı•ı Statistical and indicator databases.ı

ı•ı Capacity building:ı
ı•ı Basic objectives;ı
ı•ı Capacity building plans;ı
ı•ı Technical assistance;ı
ı•ı Regional ICT indicator database;ı
ı•ı Country experiences and best practices.ı

Outcome

The expected outcome from this workshop is the increased ability of participants to determine ıtheir own data needs and priorities; to collect, interpret, and use these data effectively; to undertake ıresearch, problem solving and problem formulation; and to sustain these capacities. Specifically, ıparticipants would:ı

ı•ı Acquire understanding of the process of developing IS indicators for policy making and ıdecision support with regards to the policies’ implementation, output, and impact;ı
ı•ı Expand their knowledge of the existing ICT indicators and their basic definitions;ı
ı•ı Acquire the know-how of developing and ability of utilizing data collection devices, ıincluding model surveys for measuring ICT indicators;ı
ı•ı Become familiar with the scope and operation of ESCWA Statistical Information System ıı[ESIS] and the proposed regional ICT indicator database;ı
ı•ı Acquire understanding of the elements of, and ability to develop, capacity building plans.ı

Organization

The workshop is organized by ESCWA, ITU Arab Regional Office, and the Arab Institute for ıTraining and Research in Statistics. The workshop will be held at the United Nations House, Beirut, ıduring 7-10 June, 2005.ı

Participants

Participation in the workshop is limited to fifty [50] participants, divided into two groups:ı

ı1.ı Participants from Arab NSOs;ı
ı2.ı Participants from Arab ICT ministries, regulatory agencies, and telecommunications ıoperators.ı

In addition, the workshop will be attended by experts from a number of international and ıregional organizations, including members of the Partnership. Participants are expected to be ımiddle/top tier managers and researchers with expert level knowledge in statistics and/or ıtelecommunications disciplines. All participants are required to register online at the workshop’s page ıon the Internet: http://www.escwa.un.org/wsis/meetings/main.html.ı

Language

The workshop will be carried out in English, but with some, or parts, of the material, ıconversations, and interventions in Arabic. Simultaneous translation from English to Arabic and vice-ıversa will not be provided. ı

Additional Information

Any inquiries and requests for additional information regarding participation and substantive ımatters should be addressed to:ı

Mr. Hesham Auda
Information Technology Officer & Team Leader
ICT Division
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
PO Box 11-8575, Beirut, Lebanonı
Email: auda@un.org
Tel: +961-1-978554ı
Fax: +961-1-981510ı


Mr. Khalil Aburizikı
Regional Officer
Arab Regional Office
International Telecommunication Union
PO Box 8092, Nasr City, 11371 Cairo, Egypt
Email: aburizik@itu.int
Tel: +202-262-6620ı
Fax: +202-262-2274ı

Mr. Khalid Khawaja
Director General
Arab Institute for Training and Research in Statistics
PO Box 851104 Amman 11185 Jordan
Email: diwan@aitrs.org
Tel: +962-6-5562169ı
Fax: +962-6-5562169ı

Inquiries regarding logistics, including travel and accommodation, should be directed to:ı

Ms. Zahr Bou-Ghanem
Research Assistant
ICT Division
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
PO Box 11-8575, Beirut, Lebanonı
Email: bou-ghanem@un.org
Tel: +961-1-978544ı
Fax: +961-1-981510ı


[1] UNESCO Institute for Statistics Annual Report 2003-2004 (UIS/INS/04-01).