posted on December 16, 2011 14:13
The forthcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20) is scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 4-6 June 2012.
The objectives of the Conference are to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges. The Conference will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.
It may not seem apparent, yet the Rio+20 objective and themes do provide ample opportunities for synergies with the WSIS outcomes and for featuring the role of ICTs as powerful tools for accelerating progress towards the attainment of sustainable development.
Whether it is in the context of transitioning to a green economy, fostering education for sustainable development, accelerating research and development, enhancing governance at the local or regional levels, improving health care information, preventing natural disasters, enhancing trade, dealing with climate change and other emergencies ICTs are instrumental to progress in implementation.
The UN system, under the umbrella of the UN Group on Information Society (UNGIS) is expected to contribute a substantive input into the compilation document that will inform the Second Intersessional meeting scheduled for 15-16 December 2011. The various input paired with the Intersessional discussions will form the basis for the drafting of the zero outcome, that will be negotiated from January onwards.
Individual organizations are also expected to provide their own input, where the issue of ICT could be featured as appropriate.
The United Nations E-Government Survey 2012 on E-Government for Sustainable Development will pay homage to Rio+20 by stressing the importance of information and communications technology to good governance and public service at the national level. It will illuminate concrete ways in which e-government contributes to the objective of achieving environmental sustainability alongside sustained economic growth and social inclusion. Drawing on comprehensive primary data compiled by the Division of Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), the survey will report on the use of e-government to promote transparent, accountable and clean government, enhance coordination of government operations for better service delivery, promote environmental awareness among citizens, and encourage the broadest public participation in sustainable development with particular attention to the inclusion of vulnerable groups.
Yet the survey will remain, above all, an instrument of national capacity development.
While intended for government officials and e-government practitioners and experts in general, its primary audience is the Chief Information Officer or equivalent at the national level. This is the person who is responsible for the coordination of e-government activities at the country level and whose actions, through technology, can be pivotal to the advancement of citizen-centric public services.
Development issues have been central to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) from its inception - the confluence of technical change, new economic opportunities and social change has propelled Internet governance issues into the centre of debates on development. The sixth meeting of the IGF was held in Nairobi, Kenya in September 2011 and focused on the Internet as a catalyst for change: access, development, freedoms and innovation. As it was underlined in the opening statement of Mr. Sha Zukang, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, the continued growth of the Internet, across all technology platforms, has reinforced the need for open policy dialogue. The development themes of the IGF were of critical importance and opened the opportunity for the IGF to contribute to and shape the development of the Rio+20 process for sustainable development.
In addition to interagency work, bridges between WSIS multi-stakeholder partners and the broad civic society on the road to Rio could be built. The major civil society group sectors, as defined by Agenda 21, include business and industry, scientific and technological communities, local authorities, workers and trade unions, farmers, indigenous peoples, youth and children, NGOs, and women. They are key partners in sustainable development advancement as well as playing an important role as ICTs players and beneficiaries. (http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.php?)
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