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Brussels, 14th July 2004

Towards a global partnership in the information society: Translating principles into actions

The European Commission’s view on how to translate principles agreed by UN Member States in Geneva in December 2003 into action to create a worldwide information society are set out in a Commission Communication issued today. This Communication outlines priorities and proposes actions for the second phase of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), which will flesh out a plan of action agreed in Geneva and is to culminate in a WSIS summit meeting in Tunis from 16 to 18 November 2005. Future WSIS work should focus on creating the right policy environment for information society technology applications to flourish, accelerating the take-up of proven applications, e.g. for e-government, e-health, and e-learning, and promoting research in this area. Unfinished work from Geneva on internet governance and financing measures to bridge the digital divide must also be completed.

“The European Commission is committed to continuing the road-map set out by the World Summit on Information Society last year. We need to focus on bridging the digital divide and work to ensure access to the information society for all so that we have concrete deliverables at the next Summit in Tunis next year”, said Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Olli Rehn.”

Work on the second phase of the WSIS should begin to deliver real benefits, in line with the Geneva Declaration of Principles for a global Information Society and Plan of Action approved in the first phase.

Following two earlier Commission communications on the WSIS – the first outlining the EU approach (IP/03/731) and the second assessing the results (IP/04/261) of the Geneva Summit, this one outlines concrete proposals for the second phase, in particular implementing the WSIS Plan of Action and following up two unresolved issues from the Geneva Summit: internet governance and financing measures to bridge the digital divide.

The EU has always advocated focusing on a limited number of priorities for tangible results to be achieved. In this Communication, the Commission therefore proposes that work to implement the Action Plan be organised around three main axes:

  • Create an enabling environment based on eStrategies at all appropriate levels and on pro-competitive legal and regulatory frameworks that encourage investment and innovation;
  • Concentrate on showing applications that work in the areas of eGovernment, eLearning, eHealth and eBusiness;
  • Pay special attention to the research dimension of the Information Society.

In addition, specific actions for Least Developed Countries need to be developed to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The Commission recently approved an “ACP ICT Programme” as a first step towards implementing the “Joint Position on Information Society for Development” signed between the EU and the ACP countries at the Geneva Summit.

Commission Communication can be found at:
Further information :|1&c_type=all).

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