Next week IFLA will be participating in the World Summit for the Information Society (WSIS) High Level Event (HLE) in Geneva, Switzerland. The WSIS HLE will review the progress made in the implementation of the WSIS outcomes under the mandates of participating agencies, and to take stock of achievements in the last 10 years based on reports of WSIS Stakeholders.

WSIS High Level Event

The IFLA workshop:

On Monday 9 June at 14.30 CET, IFLA is hosting a workshop which will focus on ‘Conquering the Digital Divide: How public access to ICTs supports development in the information society’.

The workshop will explore how inequalities in access limit the effectiveness of ICTs in addressing social needs. Over the course of WSIS, public access to information and communication rights have remained key issues for the emerging information society. In 2014 the digital divide still exists and even those who are “connected” often suffer from poor-quality and high-cost links. Many simply do not have the economic means to connect to the Internet – particularly those who do not have electricity, and those who, even if they have smart phones, do not have computers or multimedia-capable internet connections. Inequities in access also affect people in developed countries due to limited access to infrastructure, or constraints related to age, economic means and gender. As a result, ensuring that all members of society can benefit equally from access to ICTs, and take part in shaping the interconnected world, will continue to be an important priority over the next decade and more.

The workshop will use experiences from governments, businesses and civil society to show how important public access to ICTs is in including people in the information society. In particular it highlights the role that libraries and other community centres can play in bridging the digital divide, and how these institutions can help stakeholders at the local level – including the private sector – to implement national ICT and development policies. Experts in public access from a user, research and policy perspective will reflect on the progress made in the past ten years of WSIS, and audience input will contribute to the identification of elements for a roadmap on the provision of sustainable public access to the Internet.

The expert panellists of the session are:

  • Mrs. Iffat Gill, Activist/Researcher/Worldpulse, Pakistan
  • Mr. Mike Jensen, Internet Access Specialist, Association of Progressive Communications, South Africa
  • Mr. Mike Gurstein, Executive Director, Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and Training, Canada
  • Mr. Abraham Makuza, Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Agency, Rwanda
  • Mr. John Davies, VP Sales and Marketing, Intel Corporation

You can find more information by:

Remote participation:

If you are not in Geneva, we nevertheless encourage you to engage with the WSIS HLE in general and more specifically with the IFLA workshop. You can do this via remote participation.

The WSIS website provides detailed information on how to participate through their remote participation system.

We are looking forward to seeing you virtually during the workshop.