Box 5.1 Working together on the information society
CEB member organizations collaborated closely in the ITU-led preparatory and follow-up processes for the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva on 10-12 December 2003. Their contributions were coordinated through the High-Level Summit Organizing Committee (HLSOC) led by ITU. At the second phase of the Summit in Tunis, the HLSOC is expected to monitor implementation of the Geneva Action Plan by organizations of the UN system and report on those efforts to the Summit process.
The HLSOC is engaged in a stock-taking exercise to assess the current level of programmatic activity by CEB member organizations that touch on the Information Society and to provide information on new activities targeted to meet the goals set by WSIS. Supporting the Information Society requires a coherent and coordinated approach by UN system organizations. While some issues directly interest nearly all organizations of the system (such as access to ICT), others are more specific to individual institutions (such as e-medicine, online dissemination of weather information, technical standards and intellectual property).
Many UN system organizations already have linked programmes and actions for bridging the digital divide. In many cases, these involve programmes to use and develop e-applications that fall within their mandates. The Geneva Plan of Action provides a framework for re-orienting and reinforcing those programmes, strengthening synergies and sharing best practices.