Informal Meetings of DOT Force by jennyyingdi

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      Informal meetings of DOT Force in January 2001 (Dubai, Berlin, Davos)


         Thanks to OECD, DSE and WEF respectively, we have just had a series of
highly informative and complementary informal meetings in Dubai, Berlin and Davos.
In all three cases, these informal encounters allowed DOT Force members to benefit
from inputs from non members, and to refine their own thinking and proposals with
respect to the production of the DOT Force report and the overall methodology and
approaches followed by DOT Force.

       In the documents annexed to this note, the secretariats of OECD and WEF
have proposed their own respective assessments of the Dubai meeting (annexes 1
and 2), and of the Davos meeting (annex 6); a summary of the discussions of the
Berlin meeting is included as annex 4.

       Our discussions in Dubai have allowed to make significant and positive steps
in three directions, namely:
       1) hearing proposals from non members -
       2) the organization of the secretariat’s work in the area of outreach,
           consultations and external communications -
       3) the organization of future meetings of DOT Force –

      As a result of the Dubai meetings, the secretariat has circulated a note on
DOT Force’s communication which was communicated to all members at the end of
January 2001.

       In Berlin, the German government has taken the lead in stimulating a broad
and rich debate about the ‘action side’ of the work of DOT Force by organizing
(under the umbrella of DSE) a two-day meeting on ‘Digital inclusion’. Through a set
of high-level panels and often intense discussions, the Berlin meeting has brought to
the attention of DOT Force a number of practical proposals for action, and stressed
several important policy elements which DOT Force may wish to consider as
‘prerequisites’, or ‘policy priorities’ to bridge the Digital Divide and contribute to a
positive Digital Inclusion of developing countries.

       In Davos, the three objectives assigned to the informal meeting organized
under the auspices of WEF have been reached, namely:
       1)      assess and promote complementarities and synergies among
               various global initiatives to bridge the Digital Divide; thanks to the
               personal enthusiasm of President Jose-Maria Figueres, Chairman of
               the ECOSOC ‘ICT Task Force’ Advisory Group, and with the active
               support of WEF’s team, a message of convergence has been sent
               from both DOT Force members and UN-ECOSOC ICT Task Force
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                   members; the participation of DOT Force members1 in the ECOSOC
                   ICT meeting
        2)         reach out to the private sector, and gather the views of business
                   leaders on the objectives and potential role of DOT Force, before
                   and after the Genoa Summit; a number of clear messages have
                   been received from the enterprise sector, which have already started
                   to feed productive discussions among DOT Force members;
        3)         gather the views of the ‘human side’ of efforts to bridge the Digital
                   Divide; the presentations/interventions made by Mr Juan Somavia
                   (Director-General of ILO, special guest of DOT Force), Koichiro
                   Matsuura (Director General of UNESCO) and Mark Malloch-Brown
                   (Administrator of UNDP) have helped participants to better grasp the
                   importance of labour/employment, education/training and poverty
                   reduction as central dimensions of international efforts to bridge the
                   Digital Divide.

        Six major areas have been singled out as candidates for dot Force
        recommendations and action, namely:
               human resources development (education, training,
                  entrepreneurship, sensitization of decision makers)
               labour (job creation, qualifications upgrading, decent work)
               cost/access (infrastructure policy, business models for telcos and
                  ISPs, rural vs urban connectivity, broadband vs narrowband,
                  telecenters)
               financing (revisiting the ODA portfolio, attracting FDI through the
                  creation of critical mass, creating a VC culture in the South)
               regulatory framework (competition, regulation, privatization and
                  their combination/sequencing)

        Since Davos – State of the report and consultation processes

     1) The G-8 sherpas met in Rome last week, and took note of the progress
made on both the production of the report and the consultation process.

        2) Many DOT Force members have begun to organize consultations with their
constituencies and networks. DOT Force members are encouraged to keep the
Secretariat informed of their consultation activities, so that we can share this
information with all members. As of today, we are aware of outreach/consultation
efforts by the following members/groups (in addition to the consultations in Dubai,
Berlin and Davos detailed elsewhere in this memo):

Canada - IDRC, Industry Canada, and Bellanet are organizing an online consultation
for civil society;
1
 Some personalities are members of both the ECOSOC ICT Advisory Group and the DOT Force (such as
Yoshi Nogami, Mark Malloch-Brown, Vincenzo Schioppa, Tadao Takahashi, Yoshio Utsumi); Jim
Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, participated as special guest.
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USA - The Markle Foundation and Hewlett Packard are organizing consultations
with the US Private Sector (a meeting involving the secretariat took place in
Washington on 9 February), and the Markle Foundation is hosting an online
consultation for civil society;

UK - OneWorld is organizing, on behalf of the UK Delegation, a public consultation
session for public, private and non-profit sector representatives in London on
February 22; and OneWorld is hosting an online consultation;

Germany - The Center for Development Research, Bonn University is organizing a
consultative workshop for NGOs and think tanks in Bonn on February 20;

France - VECAM is organizing consultations with French civil society organizations;

Accenture, UNDP and the Markle Foundation are organizing consultations with
private sector representatives in developing countries in the context of the Digital
Opportunity Initiative;

OECD – (Meetings with the secretariat took place on 30 January in Paris). The
OECD secretariat will be able to provide input to the DOT Force from its
consultations with both Members and non-Members in two Global Forum Meetings:
on the Global Knowledge Economy in Paris on 5-6 March covering the role of
development co-operation; and on e-Governance in Naples on 15-17 March;

UNESCO - is organizing a consultation with its constituencies in Paris on February
14 (the secretariat will participate);

Italy – Italian authorities are in the process of organizing a broad process of national
consultations;

Japan - The Center for Global Communications is organizing consultations with
Japanese civil society;

European Commission - has circulated a survey on regulatory issues to DOT Force
members and other networks;

World Bank/GKP - The Global Knowledge Partnership, a network of 60 public,
private and non-profit organizations that includes several DOT Force members, is
organizing a series of face-to-face, videoconference and Internet consultations, with
a particular focus on developing countries; these will be drawn together at an annual
meeting of the Partnership in Geneva on March 22-24 (the secretariat will
participate).

ITU – After meetings with the secretariat (in Geneva on 25 January and in Davos on
29 January), ITU is considering providing contributions to both the report and the
consultation processes.
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UNCTAD – (meeting with the secretariat on 25 January) UNCTAD is preparing
contributions to the report and to the consultation process, in particular with LDCs
(Least Developed Countries) in relation with the UNLDC3 Conference of May 2001
in Brussels.

      3) In addition, the DOT Force Website has now been launched at
www.dotforce.org At the moment the website only has a modest amount of
materials on it; it will be expanded in the coming weeks.




                              For the DOT Force Secretariat,


                                       Bruno Lanvin
                                        6 Feb 2001
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                               Annex 1 – Dubai (1 of 3)

         Note of Digital Opportunity Task Force: Informal Consultation
                            18 January 2001, Dubai

The meeting was chaired by Sally Shelton Colby, Deputy Secretary-General of
OECD. Vincenzo Schioppa, Chairman of the Dot Force, and Bruno Lanvin,
Executive Secretary of the Dot Force, were in support.

Sally Shelton Colby noted the imperative to address using ICT to help achieve
development objectives, not viewing it as an add-on. She also noted the need to
tackle the (growing) gender dimension of the digital divide through education and
improved ICT access for women and girls. Bruno Lanvin described the Dot force
process and proposed outline of its report. He noted that this was the first technical
consultation meeting and appreciating the large turnout.

The detailed questions and suggestions (Annex 2) covered legal advice, policy
frameworks, filling gaps in research, the brain drain in IT skills, models of excellence
to be copied, making the business case to attract investment, mainstreaming ICT in
budget-setting, need for tailoring recommendations to be relevant to all countries
and communities, links to debt relief/poverty reduction, the role of venture capital,
raising awareness among politicians and policy makers of the importance and
urgency of the issues, and governance issues.

In summing up, Bruno Lanvin noted the need to make the message and proposals
relevant and immediately usable by any country and members of civil society. The
Dot force processes would be done in parallel and be pro-active. There was
considerable networking in the regions and amongst NGOs, which was being fed
back into the DOT force. The Dot force would:
1) Summarise and look for gaps in the current private, NGO and IGO initiatives.
2) Engage senior policy makers, stressing the need to educate senior decision-
   makers.
3) Start with development and transition issues and see the extent to which ICT
   could help to address them, i.e., show how ICT could be part of a solution to
   existing problems facing politicians and policy makers.
4) Get beyond "either development or ICT", showing the need for ICT for
   development.
5) Avoid simple categorisation of countries. Address cost-effectiveness, suggesting
   solutions appropriate to different country situations.

The report could usefully stress the importance of policy coherence. OECD could
contribute to this through the policy coherence checklist it is developing and could
relate that to spreading lessons from OECD studies and good practice covering the
variety of issues to be addressed in developing e-commerce.
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                                Annex 2 – Dubai (2 of 3)

                         Detailed Questions and Suggestions

Question 1. Mr. Motaal, Egypt, noted that the legal aspects of e-commerce needed
to be addressed and that his law firm were offering a free advice service to Egyptian
businesses, more details of which were available on their website (www.ammh-
lawfirm.com)

Question 2. Mr. Faye, UNECA, noted the attention given to ICT issues in the African
Development Forum, about which he shared material with the DOT force, and noted
the plans for an Africa Heads of State Summit in Morocco in June 2001 on "e-
Africa". The principal conclusion was the need for a policy framework for ICT, with a
role for the private sector to help entrepreneurs and to provide access to credit.

Question 3. Mr. Bizri, UNESCWA, noted that IT initiatives were planned in the
Middle East region. He suggested the Dot force process should be in parallel rather
than linear, in particular in carrying out any research that was required to fill gaps in
existing material.

Question 4. Mr. Bhojani, Dubai Ideas Oasis, suggested the Dot force should address
the actual and potential brain drain of people with IT skills and a G8 venture fund for
start-ups in developing countries

Question 5. Ms. Popescu, Romania, echoed the notion of a G8 fund and suggested
a high-level forum to get leaders' attention. She suggested countries should work
with a private company in order to have a success story in each country. Romania
was considering an e-governance initiative to assist with customs formalities.

Question 6. Mr. Yeomans, United Kingdom, noted the continuing absence of
convincing examples of ICT for development. He encouraged the Dot force to
identify holistic examples, as ICT is not just for education, health or e-government,
but needs to cover all aspects of government strategy in order to make a sufficiently
attractive business case to pull in private sector development in support. He
suggested the G8 should initiate research into the potential for ICT to create wealth
in the poorest communities.

Question 7. Ambassador Shope-Mafole, South Africa, noted the need to enumerate
how ICT can help each sector in order to resolve competition between ministries for
ICT budgets. She noted that African ministers were keen on "mainstreaming" of ICT
within national budgeting.

Question 8. Mr. Alhadeff, BIAC (Oracle), stressed that technology must always be
the means, not the end. He noted the time it takes to build relationships in each
country. Oracle's approach was to bring in partners and then work with the World
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and regional banks to raise the necessary financing and then see the project
through. He recommended that the Dot force report be relevant to the poorest
countries, so that regardless of their stage of development people could relate to the
report. He suggested that NGO representatives should be encouraged to consult
widely beyond their primary sectoral field of interest.

Question 9. Mr. Haftel, Bolivia, noted the need for strategies that were appropriate,
lamenting the example of a satellite system that had been entirely inappropriate.
Bolivia now has a national ICT strategy that is being carefully packaged to show that
ICT can raise growth and reduce poverty. He suggested HIPC should link debt relief
to ICT for poverty reduction through promoting e- microenterprises. The report
should also address the human resource issues of managing the brain drain.

Question 10. Professor Nguyen, Vietnam, was keen to continue the dialogue with
the Dot force and recommended they make use of the material he presented the
preceding day at the OECD Forum.

Question 11. Mr. Radpay, Vice President of the Dubai Investment Office, noted the
need to avoid a redirection of ODA flows to ICT, rather to use ICT to help reach
existing development objectives. He encouraged growth of a venture capital system
for providing finance and credit. The Dubai Ideas Oasis provided one model for
doing this.

Question 12. Ms. Lyadnova, Executive Committee of the CIS, noted the need for
awareness raising amongst politicians and senior policy makers - to impress the
urgency on them. Noting that there were no transition countries on the DOT force,
she urged that their needs be considered too. She suggested a venture fund might
be one way of avoiding some of the budget battles noted in earlier questions.

Question 13. Mr. Eröcal, BIAC, noting that there were many initiatives, suggested
that the G8 identify "centres of excellence" and consider promoting them. For some
countries, success might be a relatively simple matter of removing a regulatory
hurdle or perhaps a trade barrier.

Question 14. Mr. Kondo, Japan, suggested the Dot force draw on the lessons of the
OECD 7 December workshop on measuring the digital divide, which had cautioned
that ICT is not a magic wand to solve all issues. Tackling the digital divide needed
to be treated broadly through an economic approach. Attention to governance
issues would also be required. Japan were having to consider corruption issues in
deciding where and how to spend its $15 billion programme announced for bridging
the digital divide.

Question 15. Ms. Beydoun, Dubai, noted the need to avoid a one-size-fits-all
solution, as not all countries are the same. A specific suggestion was that the G8
offer tax incentives to multinational companies for their work in developing countries.
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Question 16. Ms. Pensri, Thailand, announced that an e-Thailand project had just
been launched in co-operation with ASEAN; she would send details to the Dot force.

Question 17. Mr. Kawero, Tanzania, noted the difficulty of raising awareness and
cautioned that it needed a "juggernaut" like the Y2K problem to get attention at a
sufficiently senior level.

Question 18. Mr. Leibrandt, Germany, mentioned the conference the following week
in Berlin which would emphasise inclusion. The Dot force would be present at that
meeting.
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                              Annex 3 – Dubai (3 of 3)
Summary of the 2nd part of the Dot force meeting - Dubai, 18 January 2001


The meeting was chaired by Mr Vincenzo Schioppa, Chairman of the Dot force. It
addressed the following issues:
          Process - communications strategy, maintaining dialogue of consultations
          Report - some thoughts on content and timing
          Relationship of Dot force to UN ICT Task Force
          Schedule of meetings
The meeting had available to it the closing remarks of Mr Schlögl at the OECD
Dubai Forum held the previous two days.
Process - communications strategy, maintaining dialogue of consultations
There was concern not to damage the Dot force image by holding a meeting in
Davos. The link with the UN ICT Task Force (see below) might help, but the
concern led to a debate about the consultation and communication strategy. The
main conclusions:
          Do not take civil society and developing countries' support for granted.
       Bear in mind that many of the relevant groups do not have Web access (in
       Africa use of local newspapers had proved more successful in gathering input
       than questionnaires). Seek ways to engage civil society including by
       attending fora that the G8 does not usually attend. Examples of the latter
       were: the UNESCO conference the following week (see Annex); and the
       World Social Forum Porto Alegre, Brazil, coinciding with Davos
       (www.worldsocialforum.org/ingles/forum/Amanifesto.htm).
         Dispel impressions that the Dot force was a "rich think tank swallowing
       other initiatives"
         Consider use of G7's own sites for consultation (Canada was already
       doing so)
          The Secretariat would circulate a short paper to all dot force members
       after Davos setting out a communications policy. It would suggest a Website
       that provided information on the main objectives and processes guiding the
       Dot force's work (detail of possible recommendations could not be given
       without first clearing them with the G8 sherpas) and invited comments from
       civil society (preferably filtered through, for example, NGO umbrella groups).
       Resources and time would preclude an actively moderated site with an
       obligation to respond, but there might be a FAQ (frequently asked questions)
       section.
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Report - some thoughts on content and timing
There was limited discussion of the report, but recognition of the need to move to
action six months after Okinawa. Participants suggested the report should:
          Be relevant to the poorest of the poor
          Be forward looking and action-oriented
          Offer multiple models to follow, depending on the variety of starting
           positions. (OECD had a paper suggesting the main priorities.)
          Avoid being seen as the "North telling the South" what to do; rather
           promote "Digital Development" with a focus on education, healthcare,
           SMEs, tourism, etc. through a problem-solving, not a technology,
           approach.
It was suggested the Dot force secretariat should draw up an action plan that:
identified resources and gaps; identified mechanisms for handling country-specific
problems; collected solutions of multi-applicability; developed an overall message
and strategy for its diffusion. These could be put into a task list of actions to be
achieved between meetings and used to guide electronic discussion between the
group, as had been done when preparing for Okinawa.
The first draft of the report would be circulated after the three technical meetings,
possibly in time for internal consideration by Dot force members only in Cairo. By
the time of the Cape Town meeting on 1-2 March, there should be agreement to
80% of the content with discussion focusing on the 20% to do with next steps. The
3rd formal meeting in Italy (end April) would be to finalise the report and agree on
how to communicate the findings.


Relationship of Dot force to UN ICT Task Force
Mr Schioppa noted the G8's wish to avoid overlap between the dot force and the UN
ICT Task Force (Mr Nogami and he are on both). This was agreed at a special
session of the UNGA on 13 December. Mr Figueres - UN Special Advisor on ICT
(and ex President of Costa Rica) - will present the action plan at a meeting of the
ECOSOC Advisory Committee on 29 January. A technical meeting of the dot force
will follow this. Mr Schioppa characterised the UN report and process:
      Emphasising ICT is not a goal in itself, rather a tool to address development
       issues
      Need to recognise other initiatives, especially the Dot force
      ICT Task Force per se will not be created until September, and will take note
       of outcomes of Genoa summit
      UN would provide legitimacy to the process
      The ICT TF might be one way (among a flood of possible follow-up scenarios)
       to implement the action plan of the G8 at Genoa
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Schedule of meetings
The schedule of meetings was resolved, with agreement on formal meetings in
South Africa and Italy with technical consultations to coincide with other events. The
timetable was:
Dubai        18 January
Berlin       22-23 January
Cairo        12-15 February (details were circulated to the participants)
Capetown - 1-2 March (Plenary) - to be combined with meeting of African
            Communications Ministers (3 March) and Commonwealth Meeting (5-6
            March)
Naples       14 March - to coincide with forum on e-governance
Italy        last week of April - final meeting to agree report to go to final
             business meeting of sherpas on 9 May.
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                             Appendix 1 to Annex 3


                            DIGITAL DIVIDE
          UN Officials Call For Increased Technology Access

New technology should be used to eradicate poverty, harness new information, unite
communities and make better development decisions, according to messages by UN
officials presented at a weeklong UNESCO technology meeting in rural Sri Lanka.
The meeting, which is bringing together broadcasters and community radio experts
from throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, seeks to find a way
to bridge the digital divide between countries that have access to technology and
those that do not. "This is the first international pooling of project experience in an
innovative area, which many believe offers the 'missing link' in efforts to eradicate
poverty, harnessing of new information and communications technologies together
with community radio for community development and empowerment." UNESCO
Director-General Koichiro Matsuura said in a message to the meeting.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called in his message to the meeting for
investor-friendly policies to allow people in developing countries better access to
new communications technologies, which he called "the driving force behind
globalization." However, he warned that "there is a real danger that the world's poor
will be excluded from the emerging knowledge-based global economy" (Amal
Jayasinghe, Agence France-Presse, 22 Jan). Click here
<http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2001/sgsm7686.htm> for the full text of
Annan's message.

Matsuura Calls For Cooperation With ALESCO
Matsuura called Monday for increased cooperation with the Arab League
Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization, which he praised for its
prioritization of the development of modern technologies in a culturally sensitive way
in Arab countries (UNESCO release
<http://www.unesco.org/opi/eng/unescopress/2000/01-09e.shtml>, 22 Jan).

Switzerland, Belgium Fund Community Multimedia Program
Switzerland and Belgium have pledged about $900,000 and $300,000, respectively,
to fund UNESCO's new Program for Community Multimedia Centers, which
combines community broadcasting with Internet and related technologies to broaden
access to information for community development (UNESCO release
<http://www.unesco.org/opi/eng/unescopress/2000/01-06e.shtml>, 17 Jan).
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                 Appendix 2 to Annex 3 - OECD Press release (18 January 2001)




Developing Countries Join OECD, DOT Force for Talks on Digital Divide

  Efforts to tackle the "digital divide" will succeed only if they are closely tied to the
  pressing needs of developing countries in such areas as health, education and transport,
  and policy makers must learn from the experience of many countries and regions in their
  search for solutions appropriate in their own countries.

  Those are two of the main conclusions to emerge from an informal consultation held in
  Dubai between representatives of around 20 emerging-market, transition and
  developing countries and of OECD countries with members of the Digital Opportunities
  Taskforce, or DOT Force, set up last July by the Group of Eight industrial countries at
  their Okinawa summit.

  Participants in the consultation, which was organised by the OECD with the support of
  the government of Dubai, made numerous suggestions for ways to help less-favoured
  countries take full advantage of information and communication technology, or ICT.
  Among other things, they called for awareness-building exercises involving senior
  government officials; for government-backed venture capital funds to support ICT
  initiatives; for publicity for successful pilot projects that can serve as examples to
  others; and for tax incentives to encourage ICT companies to expand their operations in
  these countries.

  Their suggestions will form part of input for the DOT Force as it prepares to report back
  to G-8 leaders ahead of their Genoa summit next July. The consultation will also feed
  into ongoing work on ICT and e-commerce at the OECD, where cooperation with
  developing, transition and emerging market economies is a high priority.

  "We have been very impressed with what we have learned about what individual
  governments, civil society organisations and individual firms are doing in their own
  countries," OECD Deputy Secretary-General Sally Shelton Colby said. "The challenge is
  how to build on what is currently being done and on experience of what is successful and
  what is not."

  The Dubai consultation was the first in a series that the DOT Force will hold over the
  next few weeks. It will be followed by similar meetings later this month in Berlin and at
  the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Summing up the session, Vincenzo
  Schioppa, the current chairman of the DOT Force and a senior adviser to the Italian
  Minister of Public Management, said ICT can be "a very strong and powerful tool for
  helping the international community to grow together."

  "ICT can help to bridge all the other divides, by helping to solve the basic problems of
  developing countries," Mr. Schioppa said. But it will only work, he added, if it is fully
  integrated into government policies and the social and commercial life of individual
  countries. Rather than debating whether to spend on ICT or on other needs,
  governments should consider how ICT can help achieve other policy objectives. "It is not
  ICT or food. It is ICT for food, for health, for teaching and for social and human
  development."
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Bruno Lanvin, a World Bank official who heads the DOT Force secretariat, said the
consultation had helped to "enrich and deepen" the group’s analysis as it prepares what
he predicted would be a "short, punchily worded" report to the G-8 summit
concentrating on recommendations for policy and action.

The Dubai consultation and an informal meeting of DOT Force members that followed
concluded four days of discussions on e-commerce in Dubai. These began on 15 January
with parallel meetings bringing together government representatives with consumer and
civil society organisations and with representatives of the business sector. On 16-17
January, the OECD Dubai 2001 Emerging Market Economy Forum on Electronic
Commerce brought together around 300 delegates from 60 developed, transition and
developing countries.

The OECD will be holding more international conferences on issues relating to ICT and e-
commerce over the next few months. On 5-6 March, representatives of governments,
civil society and the private sector from both OECD and developing countries will meet in
Paris for a joint OECD/UN/UNDP/World Bank Global Forum on how development aid can
help countries to exploit digital opportunities. On 15-17 March, the Italian government
will host an OECD Global Forum on Governance in Naples on the theme of "Fostering
democracy and development through e-government." Other scheduled meetings include
one on enterprise development and the Knowledge Economy in Buenos Aires in March,
and another on e-commerce and taxation in Montreal on 4-6 June.

Information on the OECD’s work on e-commerce and ICT can be found on the OECD’s
website http://www.oecd.org. For further details, journalists are invited to contact Helen
Fisher in the OECD’s Media Relations Division (tel. 33 1 45 24 80 97).
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        Appendix 3 to Annex 3 – Dr Herwig Schoegl’s closing remarks (17 January 2001)


This Forum has launched the OECD policy dialogue on electronic commerce and the use of ICTs with
emerging and developing countries. ICT and electronic commerce have been identified as unique
opportunities for development. Leapfrogging into the future is not an abstract notion: it is a real
opportunity for developing countries and poverty reduction. Dubai – the host country – is a model case
for this potential and will send positive signals into the region.

OECD offers a forum for dialogue for co-operation both between its Member countries and with other
countries around the world. The global distribution of skills and knowledge is a determining factor for
the distribution of wealth in the world economy. We listened very carefully to His Highness Sheikh
Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s proposal to promote the development and use of information
and communication. The OECD, through its outreach activities such as this Forum and in conjunction
with other international efforts (such as the G8 and the UN ICT task force), will enhance its activities
and intensify its co-operation with non-member governments on issues such as electronic commerce
and ICTs which are global by nature.

I would like to take this opportunity to say how much we look forward to future co-operation with
people at this meeting as our work goes forward in pursuit of mutual interests. In March, we will hold
a meeting in Paris on how to use development assistance in this area, and another meeting in Naples
on e-government. In June, we will be meeting in Montreal for an international conference to discuss
taxation issues as they relate to e-commerce. Dubai has been invited to participate in all of these
meetings. We expect to have a follow-up to this conference in 2002 and we look forward to broad
participation from all regions of the world. In the meantime, we will be pursuing extensive analysis
and research on these issues at OECD and what we have heard at this meeting will serve as input into
this process.

ICTs and electronic commerce offer opportunities to overcome the digital divide. With the right
policies – building the necessary infrastructure in competitive markets, educating the people to use the
new technology – the digital divide can be turned into digital dividends and digital development for
all. The goals are to accelerate development of infrastructure, increase accessibility for all users, and
deliver services that are responsive to the needs of large and small firms and citizens. New business
models lead to organisational change, employment creation, reskilling and continuous learning.

Strengthening policy coherence for electronic commerce. An inclusive global information society
means recognising cultural differences. It means encouraging the coherence of electronic commerce
policies within the wider framework of priorities for development. Government policies and
regulations have to balance the needs for a dynamic innovative marketplace and the necessary
regulatory frameworks for consumer protection, competition, taxation, protection of intellectual
property rights, etc. Electronic commerce must not lead to new obstacles for doing business on a
global scale. The OECD facilitates international co-operation and provides a framework to make
national regulatory efforts internationally compatible.

Establishing access. Access is a precondition for the information society. Access to networks and
services is important, but it also involves organisational and educational initiatives. Access requires
legislation and regulations that encourage competition among firms and technologies, affordable
prices, and interoperability and interconnection of national and global networks. Creative models for
individual access and through public kiosks or telecentres are essential. In some countries, universal
access is not yet a reality so that infrastructure development is the priority; in others, content is the
priority. These priorities will change over time.
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There is no electronic commerce growth without trust. There is increasing convergence between
governments and the private sector on the need to ensure respect of privacy rights and to protect
consumers in their interactions with business, to guarantee redress and to reduce vulnerabilities of the
global infrastructure. The OECD’s Guidelines on Privacy, Security and Consumer Protection provide
guidance that other countries can use and adapt.

Taxation regimes for electronic commerce. The twin challenges are to provide a fiscal environment
in which electronic commerce can flourish while, at the same time, protecting the fiscal sovereignty of
nations. The taxation framework created at Ottawa has been advanced and a general policy consensus
has been reached. But practical implementation requires co-operation by revenue authorities on a
global basis. The process must lead to co-operation of business, non-member and OECD Member
countries so that an equitable taxation system evolves. The implications of the taxation system for
small and medium-sized enterprises need special consideration.

Rules of the game for electronic commerce. The Internet is a global network that requires global
policy, and national rules must be made internationally consistent. The combinations of regulation and
self-regulation must provide predictability. This is essential for the growth of electronic commerce.
The playing field must be clear. A major discussion is whether we should have fewer or more rules.
Fair trade and market liberalisation for all countries require clarity about what the rules are in the
WTO context and other fora with respect to customs duties, services and the application of intellectual
property rights.

The key word is partnership. New kinds of public-private partnership are needed. Governments at all
levels must focus on enabling stakeholder participation in decision making and co-ordinated action.
Where the public sector takes the lead in establishing policies for market liberalisation and for
consumer protection, the private sector provides new service initiatives responding to market needs.
This conference has shown the value of partnership at an international level, between
intergovernmental organisations and between individual nations, between governments, business and
civil society. We look forward to continuing this partnership for the benefit of people around the
world, so as to reap the maximum advantage from the opportunities that e-commerce and ICT offer in
the 21st century.
                                                                                                 17



                    Annex 4 –Berlin meeting (23-24 January)
              Interim summary of the discussions (sessions 1-5)

                                       Introduction

The International Policy Dialogue on “Digital Inclusion” provided an opportunity for a broad-
ranging examination of the challenges facing the international community in creating
opportunity for all in the digital age, and the urgent policy measures – at national, regional
and global levels – that must be taken to address these challenges.


                                    Opening Session

Several distinguished speakers set the stage for the discussion by laying out the challenges
facing the international community and the opportunities posed by new information
technologies and the networked global economy. A number of central points emerged from
their presentations.

First, knowledge and information are increasingly central components of innovation, growth
and sustainable development – a “fourth factor of production”, as Minister of State Bury
suggested. Knowledge is different from other factors of production, however, in that it can
be easily and instantaneously shared, without being diminished. Its effective mobilization
and use dramatically affect the efficiency and effectiveness with which the other factors of
production are mobilized; hence advantages in the efficient use of knowledge and
information have a multiplying effect, and those less able to access and harness information
and knowledge effectively risk falling progressively behind.

The second, related point that emerged is that new information and communications
technologies – their power, speed, and global reach -- provide unprecedented opportunities
for such sharing of information and knowledge. The explosive growth of global information
and communications networks (including the Internet) and the equally dramatic expansion in
the power and affordability of information technologies amount to nothing less than an
economic revolution with profound global implications.

Third, the “digital divide” is real and growing, and has profound implications. This divide is
not just about access to computers or telephones; it is a deeper and more profound divide
that reflects and reinforces more fundamental economic and social divides between and
within countries.

The policy challenges – for developing countries, for developed countries, for the
international community as a whole – are daunting and complex. Bridging the digital divide
is not simply about giving people access to tools. It is about creating policy and regulatory
environments, institutional frameworks, and human capacities that foster information flows,
innovation, and effective use of the world’s knowledge resources in every dimension of
sustainable development, from health, agriculture, medicine and education to trade and
economic development, effective governance.
                                                                                              18



Several speakers highlighted the important efforts that the German Government and
German institutions are making to address these challenges, both bilaterally and within the
context of the G8, ECOSOC, and other international bodies and initiatives. And they
welcomed the opportunity of this Policy Dialogue to examine the policy challenges facing
Germany and the international community in this context.



                 Panel 1: Challenges of the Digital Revolution

This panel built upon the previous panel’s exploration of the fundamental challenges posed
by the digital revolution, particularly for the world’s poor. The first speaker (Jurgen Turek)
laid the groundwork for the discussion by detailing the significance of this revolution.

Both the developing and developed countries are becoming increasingly influenced by the
digital revolution, which has led to an erosion of the effects of time and distance in decision-
making and wealth creation. The digital revolution is the main factor behind today‘s
globalisation. At the same time, the process of globalisation itself is accelerating the digital
revolution. The networking of the means of communication has had significant effects on the
New Economy. The changes can be seen at five levels. Firstly, IT is becoming the key
sector of the economy. Secondly, new forms of enterprises are emerging. Thirdly, because
of higher productivity, macro economists are seeing the possibility of economic growth
without inflation. Fourthly, information is becoming a factor of production of production in
itself. Finally, structural changes in the society are being observed with an increasing share
of the services industry in the economy.

Given the importance of information and communication in economic development, a lack of
access to knowledge and information may deny countries the fruits of economic prosperity.
Four factors render access difficult in developing countries: absence of IT infrastructure,
high costs, high illiteracy, and limited knowledge of English. The situation can be improved
through (a) development of systems that can be used collectively, such as telecentres, (b)
development of IT competence through training and education, (c) abolition of telecom
monopoly, (d) promotion of specific programmes (e.g., InfoDev) that support the
combination of public and private networks, and (e) development and use of innovative
software that can be better used in a specific country or regional context.

Other panellists stressed the urgent need for action, both by the international community
and by developing country governments, which have a key role to play in creating the
conditions for the spread of information technologies. At the same time, it is important to
bear in mind that the goal is not simply the spread of the Internet or access to advanced
communications technologies, but the spread and effective use of the full range of
information and communications technologies and resources. The urgency of action is
reflected in the severity and acceleration of the digital divide, which is reflected in (but not
limited to) the telecommunications gap. A small proportion of high-income countries (15%) is
using most of the telecom services ranging from Internet to basic telephony. For example,
they form 82% of the total Internet users, 69% of the mobile users, and 58% of telephone
line users. At the same time, the nature of the divide is changing. The Least Developed
Countries (LDCs) are falling further behind. For example, the LDCs have a share of world
population of 10.6 per cent, but their share in the population of Internet users is 0.1 per cent.
However, there are also success stories. Nepal and Uganda may be cited as examples. The
                                                                                           19

developing countries are facing two sets of problems. They may be seen as first-order
problems (e.g., provision of basic services such as water, electricity) and second-order
problems (e.g., development of ICT). Solutions will have to be found in addressing the first-
order problems through the application of ICT.

One of the key challenges is defining an appropriate role for government in addressing the
divide. Several participants pointed out that this role goes beyond creating the proper policy
and regulatory environment, although this is fundamentally important. Governments also
have to strike a balance between fostering private sector development and
entrepreneurship, on the one hand, and investing in physical and human capital
(infrastructure and training) in appropriate ways that foster opportunity and empower the
poor without stifling private innovation. Furthermore, the information revolution makes more
urgent – and more possible -- the efficient and effective functioning of government
institutions within their relevant domains, and here, too, decisive and forward-looking
government policies are vital.


Panel 2: Opportunities for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship

The first step in understanding the opportunities that the digital revolution provides for
developing countries is to see beyond the “either-or” portrayal of the choices facing these
countries. Carol Charles alluded to the “very real choices that governments face in
allocating scarce resources to critical needs such as alleviating poverty and eradicating
illiteracy and epidemics”. Yet she and other panelists cautioned that, even for the poorest
countries of Africa, there is no “either-or” choice between basic needs (clear water,
sanitation, health care, education) and embracing the opportunities of the digital revolution.
On the contrary, new technologies can help both to address these basic needs and to foster
broader economic and social development and wealth-creation. Panelists cited a number of
encouraging examples – from India, Bangladesh, Mozambique, and other poor countries –
of the positive economic and social effects of these new technologies, and of inventive local
applications .

Yet they stressed that the key to broadening the impact of these technologies, and to
creating opportunities for economic development, entrepreneurship, innovation and e-
commerce, is coherent and effective policy and investment decisions by national
governments and the international community. Karima Bounemra Ben Soltane articulated a
number of interrelated challenges facing Africa in this regard:

      Awareness raising and consensus building among African policy makers and key
       actors;
      Infrastructure development, and the crucial policy and regulatory measures that
       governments need to take to foster such development, including liberalization of the
       telecommunications sector and creating an environment conducive to investment
       and entrepreneurship;
      Regional cooperation and integration;
      Coherent, realistic national ICT strategies undergirded by a broad consensus;
      Human capacity building in all dimensions;
      Favourable and predictable policy environments, including strengthened and
       autonomous regulatory bodies;
      Strengthening the capacity, and the involvement, of the African private sector;
                                                                                                 20


         Greater support and encouragement to the small-scale innovation and
          entrepreneurship and the local private sector;

         Panel 3: Opportunities to Strengthen International e-commerce

  Several panellists and discussants observed that, in order for international e-commerce to
  be strengthened and for developing countries to participate fully in e-commerce, decisive
  actions must be taken both at the national and international levels.

  At the national level, developing countries need to strengthen and make more predictable
  the regulatory and legal regimes that govern commerce and investment. They need to raise
  the awareness of policy makers of the benefits of international ecommerce and the policy
  measures and government investments necessary to support its growth, particularly policies
  affecting intellectual property, competition, and foreign direct investment. They need to help
  local entrepreneurs develop the skills to compete internationally, and help them gain access
  to credit and other prerequisites for effective participation in international markets.

  The international community, in turn, needs to work together – in the context of the WTO
  and other relevant venues – to develop an international policy regime favourable to e-
  commerce in a way that gives developing countries a reasonable chance to compete.
  Developed countries need to do their share also, by liberalizing their trade regimes and
  giving developing countries a fair chance to compete in their markets.



Panel 4: Opportunities for Strategies and Policies at the National Level to
    Accelerate the Digital Revolution within Developing Economies

  Alfred Tacke, Secretary of State in the German Federal Ministry of Economics and
  Technology, set the stage for the discussion in this panel by describing the contribution of
  the G8 DOT Force in accelerating the digital revolution in developing countries, and the key
  steps that developing countries should take themselves in this regard. Then three panelists
  described the efforts and challenges in Africa, China and Malaysia.

  Nii Quaynor described the difficult constraints, particularly resource constraints, facing
  African countries as they seek to develop ICT infrastructure, and he called for developed
  countries to be more forthcoming with assistance to build this infrastructure, without which
  Africa will be left behind.

  Toomas-Hendrik Ilves described the integrated set of strategies and policies that the
  government of Estonia adopted in the 1990s to bring Estonia dramatically into the
  information age, and in the process to dramatically strengthen its economy (with per capita
  income growing from $600 in 1991 to $8000 in 2000.) A combination of well-designed
  concession agreements with foreign telecommunications operators, clear government
  support for a broad e-readiness program, aggressive public awareness-raising, and
  governmental commitment to the digital revolution (computerization of government
  functions, connecting all schools to the Internet) have transformed Estonia into a European
  leader in e-readiness.
                                                                                              21

A similarly comprehensive and vocal government commitment to the digital economy has
occurred in Malaysia, embodied in the government’s “Vision 2020” program. The challenge
takes on a different dimension in China, however, because of its vast size. Yet much has
happened in China on the front in the past few years. The Chinese ICT industry is growing
rapidly. The government has focused its efforts on investment promotion and trade
facilitation, and on spreading the benefits of the information revolution to the poorer and
more remote parts of China.



       Panel 5: Opportunities and Critical Supporting Role of the
     International Community to Bridge the Global Digital Divide

Ms Mann opens the session with a brief introduction of the speakers. Bruno Lanvin outlined
the themes to be discussed.

Summary:

The convenor (Bruno Lanvin) stressed that, when discussing the possibilities of digital
inclusion, one should be clear about (1) how one would define the digital divide and (2) why
such a divide needs to be bridged. In this candid effort to spell out the limits of debates and
possible actions, the role of civil society has to be recognised. Symmetrically, the
possibilities for concrete actions (by governments, aid agencies, business) had to be
assessed in a realistic fashion. The example of DOT Force is in many respects unique,
since it attempts to combine a ‘gap approach’ (not duplicationg other efforts), with inclusion
(all major components of civil society are involved), but will require a combination of
pragmatism (move from words to action) and innovation (all partners should be able to ‘think
out of their respective boxes’).

Bloem gave a brief to the Conference of Non-Governmental Organisations in Consultative
Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO) and focused on the role of civil society in
generating digital inclusion mechanisms. She stressed the importance of using such
mechanisms as a way to reinforce human rights, as well as social and political ‘best
practices’ on a cross-border basis. Inequality in access to ICTs and information, she
stressed, was a major “threat to world security“. The NGO sector has been playing an
important role in linking ICT policies with social and political norms. There are also best
practices in this area. The work of CONGO during the Beijing+5 Conference is an example.
It is specially important to promote human rights, and especially women’s rights in
undertaking all development project including in the New Economy.

Speaking on behalf of the DOT Force presidency, Monaci presented his experiences in the
Italian telecom sector as an illustration of the difficulties which one should expect to face
(even in a developed economy) when trying to generate more transparency and more
competition in markets traditionally dominated by monopolies. He described the working
process of DOT Force as an open and largely experimental one, in which all practical
proposals needed to be heard to create digital opportunites on a worldwide basis.

This idea was also at the core of Shope-Mafole’s intervention, which focused on the social
aspects of the development of ICT, with specific references to the context of South Africa,
and African cultures generally. She pointed at the fact that, in spite of all its positive
                                                                                           22

consequences, the increasing convergence of information and communication technologies
may displace the traditional structure of communication and consultation in the rural
communities. In order to bridge the digital divide, we need to establish partnership at the
international level. The concept of partnership should be based on shared benefits and
shared risks. In terms of the economic benefits of the ICT, we need to promote international
E-Commerce ensuring benefits for all participating countries; this in turn would require that
special attention be granted to small, medium and micro-entreprises.

The discussion allowed the panel to identify several areas of priority for the international
community (and DOT Force in particular), in its efforts to bridge the Digital Divide and
contribute to Digital Inclusion: pursue, broaden and deepen its consultation process (in
particular with NGOs), further the dissemination and exchange of best practices in the social
uses of ICTs, and raise global awareness about the importance of ICTs as a tool for
development and a more equitable global economy.

   -   to be completed –
                                                                                        23

   -

                                    Annex 5 – Davos

                            Global Digital Divide Initiative:
                       Informal Gathering of the G8 Dot Force
                                   29 January 2001
                                 Davos, Switzerland


Bridging the divides and sustaining growth ranked high on the agenda at this year’s
annual meeting in Davos. Two important task forces – the G8 Dot Force and the
United Nations ICT Advisory Group – were invited to speak together on these
issues, with the aim of creating synergies and recognizing complementarities. The
reconvening of the G8 Dot Force on this occasion also served to inject more
momentum into the consultative process, leading to greater coordination in the
development of proposals and recommendations for addressing the digital divide.

In their opening presentations, both the International Labour Organization (ILO) and
UNESCO proposed a lead role in bridging the digital divide. Juan Somavia, Director
General of the ILO emphasized the essential role IT will play in solving the global
dilemma of growing unemployment. With the world’s largest training center in Turin,
the ILO is strategically placed to launch training programs aimed at preparing the
next generation for IT. UNESCO can also make an important contribution in
education. UNESCO already has effective networks with the three key players in the
digital divide initiative: civil society, government and business. A largely successful
“new media” pilot project undertaken by UNESCO, UNDP and ITU in Bangladesh
now serves as an important case study and model for future initiatives.

The G8 Dot Force is still in the process of gathering recommendations to present to
the G8 “sherpas” who, in turn, will draft a plan of action for bridging the digital divide.
Participants of today’s meeting were strongly encouraged to contribute to this
process.

Poverty alleviation lies at the heart of the digital divide initiative. These broader
social aims need to be clearly articulated so as to halt the growing suspicion that “we
continue to develop the developed at the expense of the underdeveloped.” At the
same time, the task force must create realistic goals and expectations: the current
technological gaps confronting our world today cannot be bridged instantly, but will
require decades of commitment and work. The consultative process has allowed the
G8 Dot Force to raise a number of important issues and recommendations. But
innovative ideas and strong proposals will not automatically result in the necessary
material support. Questions related to funding and financial support should be
answered now, before expectations are raised any higher.

Based on earlier discussions, the task force can so far list six areas where change
and improvements are expected to take place within the digital divide initiative:
                                                                                    24


education, labour, cost/access, financing, e-government, and the regulatory
framework. At today’s meeting, the first three attracted the greatest attention.

Although leapfrogging is an important means to ensure access to IT in developing
countries, it is an idea which meets a great deal of resistance. More needs to be
done to make leapfrogging a welcomed and attractive alternative. Creating the
regulatory framework is a step in this direction. Rather than devise complex
strategies, we should search for best practices.


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