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UAE steers major UN process on future of ICT to successful conclusion

posted on 18/12/2015: 1758 views

NEW YORK: Under UAE and Latvian leadership, the 10-year review of the World Summit on the Information Society, WSIS, by the United Nations, has successfully concluded and endorsed a set of new ambitions in the area of global ICT, information and communication technologies, development, agreeing on a joint way forward to achieve a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society.

For six months, the UAE and Latvia led the 193 member states of the UN, as well as non-government stakeholders, in assessing progress made on ICT development since the WSIS summits in Geneva, 2003, and Tunis, 2005, and addressing emerging challenges.

"The strengthened engagement with the multi-stakeholder community since the adoption of the Tunis Agenda in 2005 has enriched the process considerably", said Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh, the Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN. As part of the WSIS+10 consultations, together with her co-facilitator, Ambassador Janis Mazeiks, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia, Nusseibeh attended the annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum, IGF, in Brazil to receive inputs from non-government stakeholders, such as the private sector, civil society and academia.

At a high-level meeting of the General Assembly on 15th and 16th December, where a UAE delegation including the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority was present, member states were set to adopt an outcome document in which they commit to harness the potential of ICTs for sustainable development, call for immediate measures to achieve gender equality in Internet users by 2020 and agree to strengthen cooperation in the areas of cyber-security and Internet governance.

Opening the high-level meeting, Mogens Lykketoft, the President of the General Assembly, congratulated and thanked the co-facilitators for their able leadership throughout the process and noted, "once again, the membership of the United Nations has proven that through perseverance, commitment and compromise, we can advance and make great things happen together."

During the high-level meeting, delegations recognised that access to ICT is critical to the achievement of the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals, a global commitment to end poverty worldwide, fight inequality and tackle climate change by 2030.

"The UAE long recognised the potential of ICT as a critical driver of development, and our national experience illustrated the potential of ICT for innovation and economic transformation." said Ambassador Nusseibeh, however, "the potential of ICT still remains inaccessible for many people worldwide."

Many delegations noted that the past 10 years have brought new challenges to the ICT sector, particularly the growing abuse of the Internet by extremist groups and terrorists.

"Far too often, extremist networks have used the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, allowing them global and immediate access to vulnerable populations. This must be stopped and we must work collectively to find the means to do so", said Nusseibeh. "However, as much as the Internet can be used by extremists and terrorists as a tool for recruitment and radicalisation, it can also be a powerful tool to tackle the root causes of extremism."

Opening the 2-day meeting, in a high-level panel moderated by Nusseibeh, thought-leaders from the ICT sector, governments and multilateral institutions discussed ICT innovation and international priorities for the coming years. Participants included Suleman Bakhsh, Manager of Internet Governance of UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Googl, Mitchell Baker, Chairwoman of the Mozilla Corporation and the Mozilla Foundation, Fadi Chehade, President and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as well as Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services of South Africa, and Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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