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[atlarge-discuss] Bucharest declaration on the Information Society- principlesand themes

I haven't had time to digest this yet but thought you might
want to think about it, too. --JM

<< start of forwarded material >>

From: "Bruce Girard" <bgirard@comunica.org>
To: crisinfo@comunica.org
List-Subscribe: <http://comunica.org/mailman/listinfo/crisinfo_comunica.org>,
List-Id: Communication Rights in the Information Society <crisinfo_comunica.org.comunica.org>
Date: Sat, 9 Nov 2002 08:54:01 +0100

CRIS Info is a public list for information and questions about 
the campaign for Communication Rights in the Information Society 
(CRIS) http://crisinfo.org   
CRIS also has a Latin American regional list at: http://comunica.org/mailman/listinfo/crisal_comunica.org

This is the declaration from the European WSIS consultation that 
finishes today. The document sets out a number of principles and 
priority themes. 


Securing access to information and knowledge
Promoting universal access at affordable cost
Promoting linguistic diversity and cultural identity
Developing human capacity through education and training 
Setting up an enabling environment, including legal, regulatory 
and policy  frameworks 
Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs
Addressing global issues

Priority Themes

E-Government: More Efficient and Accountable
E-Business: More Competitiveness and Better Jobs
E-Society: Broader Local Content and Applications
E-learning and E-Education: Empowering people  

The full document follows.



9 November 2002

The Member States of the United Nations Economic Commission for 
Europe met in Bucharest at the Pan-European Conference on the 
Information Society (7-9 November 2002) and agreed on the following 
set of principles and priorities:

Vision of an Information Society beneficial to all (E-inclusion)

The European regional conference proposes the vision of an 
Information Society, where all persons, without distinction of any 
kind, exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression, 
including the freedom to hold opinions without interference, and 
to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media 
and regardless of frontiers. 

The Information Society offers great potential in promoting 
sustainable development, democracy, transparency, accountability and 
good governance. Full exploitation of the new opportunities provided 
by information and communication technologies (ICTs) and of their combination with traditional media, as well as an adequate response 
to the challenge of the digital divide, should be important parts in 
any strategy, national and international, aimed at achieving the 
development goals set by the Millennium Declaration. There is also a 
need for a people - centered approach, one that emphasizes social, 
cultural, economic and governance goals. This approach must ensure 
that the knowledge and experience of citizens is integrated into this process as the driving force behind the new information society. 

The Information Society is based on broad dissemination and sharing 
of information and genuine participation of all stakeholders - 
Governments, private sector and civil society. Their contribution is 
vital in the efforts to bring full benefits of the Information Society 
to all. Governments and other stakeholders should also provide the 
necessary conditions to ensure women’s equal access to information 
and knowledge, as well as equal opportunities as participants and decision-makers in all aspects, related to the shaping of ICT policies 
and frameworks. Global and regional initiatives should build upon 
previous and current initiatives by Governments, regional and 
international organizations as well as from the contribution of 
the private sector and civil society. Member States welcomed the 
active participation of these stakeholders and their contribution to 
the overall work.

The following fundamental principles aim at defining the main 
directions for e-strategies for developing an information society. 
A number of priority themes of e-strategies can already be identified.

Principle 1. Securing access to information and knowledge

Individuals and organisations should benefit from access to 
information, knowledge and ideas. Notably, information in the public 
domain should be easily accessible. Information is the basis of a well-functioning and transparent decision-making process and a 
prerequisite for any democracy. Knowledge is the key agent for 
transforming both our global society and local communities. Public 
policy should broaden opportunities in providing information for all, including disabled, inter alia by creating content, and thereby 
redressing inequalities. ICTs have the potential not only to 
strengthen the effectiveness of public service delivery, but also 
to involve individuals in shaping government policies. Moreover,communications technology is not an end in itself, but a means of 
supplying quality content in the information society. In this regard, 
mass media – in their various forms – are recognized as important 
means of fostering public information, societal development and 
social cohesion.

Principle 2. Promoting universal access at affordable cost 

An adequately developed infrastructure is the precondition for secure, reliable and affordable access to information by all stakeholders, 
and for the upgrading of relevant services. The improvement of 
connectivity is of special importance in this respect, and it is 
undertaken by the public and the private sectors, acting in 
partnership. Community-led development is a critical element in the 
strategy for achieving universal access to information and knowledge. Community access centers and public services (such as post off
ices, libraries, schools) can provide effective means for promoting universal access in particular in remote areas, as an important factor 
of their development. Moreover, in order to ensure greater 
affordability, policy action should aim at setting up an appropriate 
open and competitive environment.

Principle 3.  Promoting linguistic diversity and cultural identity

The Information Society is founded on respect for, and enjoyment of, cultural expression. New ICTs should stimulate multiculturalism and plurilinguism and enhance the capacity of governments to develop 
active policies to that end. Access and contribution to knowledge 
and information broaden the contents of the public domain and foster 
mutual understanding and respect for diversity.

Principle 4. Developing human capacity through education and training 

It is important for Governments to develop comprehensive and forward-
looking education strategies. People should be enabled to acquire the necessary skills in order to actively participate in and understand 
the Information Society and fully benefit from the possibilities it 
offers. Individuals should be engaged in defining their own needs and 
in the development of programs to meet those needs.

These skills integrate ICT - related specific notions with broader knowledge, and are generally obtained through primary, secondary and 
higher education, on-the-job training, but also increasingly through distance learning. Technological change will progressively require 
life-long learning and continuous training by all. Public policy 
should take into account inequalities in access to quality education 
and training, particularly in the case of vulnerable groups and 
underserved or remote areas. Specific attention has to be paid to 
training of trainers. ICTs open completely new opportunities for 
e-learning. New forms of partnership between public and private 
sectors are needed in this field. 

Principle 5. Setting up an enabling environment, including legal, 
regulatory and policy frameworks 

To maximise the economic and social benefits of the Information 
Society, governments need to create a trustworthy, transparent, 
and non-discriminatory legal, regulatory and policy environment, 
capable of promoting technological innovation and competition, 
thus favouring the necessary investments, mainly from the private 
sector, in the deployment of infrastructures and development of 
new services.

The Information Society is, by nature, a global phenomenon and 
issues such as privacy protection, consumer trust, management of 
domain names, facilitation of e-commerce, protection of 
intellectual property rights, open source solutions etc. should be 
addressed with the active participation of all stakeholders.

Principle 6.  Building confidence and security in the use of ICTs

To realise fully the benefits of ICTs, networks and information 
systems should be sufficiently robust to prevent, detect and to 
respond appropriately to security incidents. However, effective 
security of information systems is not merely a matter of 
government and law enforcement practices, nor of technology. A 
global culture of cyber-security needs to be developed  - security 
must be addressed through prevention and supported throughout 
society, and be consistent with the need to preserve free flow 
of information.

ICTs can potentially be used for purposes that are inconsistent 
with the objectives of maintaining international stability and 
security and may adversely affect the integrity of the 
infrastructure within States, to the detriment of their security 
in both civil and military fields, as well as in relation to the 
functioning of their economies. It is also necessary to prevent 
the use of information resources or technologies for criminal or 
terrorist purposes.

In order to build confidence and security in the use of ICTs, 
Governments should promote awareness in their societies of cyber 
security risks and seek to strengthen international co-operation, 
including with the private sector.

Principle 7. Addressing global issues

International policy dialogue on Information Society at global, 
regional and sub-regional levels should promote the exchange of 
experience, the identification and application of compatible norms 
and standards, the transfer of know-how and the provision of 
technical assistance with a view to bridging capacity gaps and 
setting up international cooperation programmes, in particular in 
the field of creation of content. Sharing success stories and best 
practice experiences will also pave the way for new forms of 
international co-operation.  



It is important for the Governments to promote comprehensive and forward-looking national strategies for the development of the 
Information Society, involving private sector and civil society.
Private sector involvement is crucial for a sound and sustainable development of infrastructures, content and application. National e-strategies need to be adapted to the specific requirements of 
varied communities and reflect the stage of development and the 
structural characteristics of the national economy. Such strategies 
can benefit from existing knowledge and experience and exchanges 
notably on best practices would play a key role, allowing countries 
to learn from one another through peer dialogue.

To be effective, beyond the identification of goals, the strategies 
should include timeframes, indicators and mechanisms for monitoring performance based not only on quantitative but also qualitative 

In the case of smaller countries, regional strategies can  
contribute to the emergence of larger markets, offering more 
attractive conditions for private sector investment as well as for 
a competitive environment. Furthermore ICTs could be of particular 
relevance in the development context, because they offer 
opportunities to Public Administrations, help attract private 
investments and allow for leapfrogging using new and advanced 


Based on these principles the following priority themes for 
e-strategies were identified to develop future strategies. 

Priority Themes

E-Government: More Efficient and Accountable

ICT tools will make policies more accountable and transparent and 
will enable better monitoring, evaluation and control of public 
services and allow for greater efficiency in their delivery. Public administration can make use of ICT tools to enhance transparency, accountability and efficiency in the delivery of public services 
to citizens (education, health, transportation etc.)  and to 

E-Business: More Competitiveness and Better Jobs

Enterprises both large and small can use ICTs to foster innovation, 
realize gains in productivity, reduce transaction costs and 
benefit from network externalities. In support of this process, 
Governments need to stimulate, through the adoption of an enabling environment services, regulatory framework for the promotion of 
private investment applications and content, based on a widely 
available broadband infrastructure, and foster public - private partnerships. Use of digital technologies can enhance the role of enterprises in promoting entrepreneurship, the accumulation of 
knowledge, the upgrading of skills, and thereby increasing 
productivity, incomes and jobs and promoting qualitative improvement 
of working life. Special attention should be given to small and 
medium enterprises both as beneficiaries and promoters of e-business.

E-Society: Broader Local Content and Applications

In the Information Society, the involvement and participation of 
all, irrespective of gender or economic status, as well as the 
facilitation of ICT use in daily life and work, is a major objective.

Governments should actively promote the involvement of different stakeholders in the development of applications that improve overall 
quality of life, particularly in key areas such as education and 
health, both globally and at the local community level. Public policy 
should also foster the creation of varied information content, which 
helps to preserve and disseminate local and national culture, language 
and heritage. Local authorities have an important role to play, 
because for citizens they represent the first level of contact with 
the administrations and they could also foster the development of 
local communities. Promotion of cultural diversity and identity, 
including the creation of varied information content and the 
digitalisation of the educational, scientific and cultural heritage 
is an important priority in the development of the Information 
Society. Research on the social and cultural impact of ICTs should 
be continued.

E-learning and E-Education: Empowering people  

E-learning is about development of skills to access  knowledge, 
which addresses numerous issues such as local content, multi-lingual 
and cultural diversity and intellectual property rights. Access to 
knowledge is an essential tool in economic, cultural and social 
development. The potential exists for all those still outside the 
reach of the formal educational system to be offered education and information tailored to their need and culture. Education empowers 
people to overcome poverty, therefore e-learning is one of the most important issues in the bridging of the digital divide.

*  * *


The abovementioned principles and priorities should be submitted 
as a regional contribution to the WSIS process and its follow-up, 
and should assist Governments to shape policies and to take 
necessary action, with a view to developing the Information Society.

Communication Rights in the Information Society (CRIS)
For more information see http://www.crisinfo.org/

Crisinfo mailing list
Send contributions to Crisinfo@comunica.org
CRIS Info archives are at: 
This list is provided courtesy of Comunica - http://comunica.org

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