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WSIS Forum 2023: The importance of meaningful access to information

March 16th, 2023 @ 16:00 CET

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It is impossible to imagine a society that is able to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals that is not an informed society. The right – and imperative – of access to information, as set out in WSIS Action Line C3 is therefore a precondition of broader policy success.

Yet we face two fundamental and connected challenges. Firstly, despite the inclusion of an action line, we are still far from having a coherent and comprehensive approach to delivering this access in a way that works for all, and secondly, that as a result, the potential of access to information accelerate development is not being realised.

This workshop therefore works to:

– reiterate the diversity of ways in which meaningful internet access (i.e. including but also going beyond simple connectivity) enables access to information as set out in WSIS Action Line 3

– assess in broad terms where we are now

– kick-start a process of collaborative reflection among actors working to make a reality of this right as a means of delivering development

It will open with a presentation of the progress we have made globally and regionally on different aspects of meaningful access to information, through the Development and Access to Information Regional Reports prepared by the Technology and Social Change Group at the University of Washington (United States).

Subsequently, it will share short vignettes about progress made, and still to be made, in the fields of access to information for science (Jeannette Frey, University of Lausanne (Switzerland)), democracy (Nerisa Kamar, Information Africa (Kenya)) and broader culture and knowledge (David Ramirez-Ordonez, Fundacion Conector (Colombia). Each will also set out their ideas on the practical steps to achieve the goals of Action Line C3 by 2035.

Finally, Xianhong Hu (UNESCO) will connect the issues discussed with the ROAM-X principles and associated Internet Universality Indicators prepared by UNESCO.

Participants will come away with a stronger understanding of the importance of addressing access to information in a coherent way, as well as insights into key current issues to be addressed from a thematic (SDG-linked) perspective. In turn, they will have fed in at the beginning of a process to define what access to information through the internet should look like by 2035.

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March 16th, 2023
16:00 CET
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