17 December 2003


(Reissued as received.)

GENEVA, 16 December -- The five United Nations regional commissions for Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western Asia played an active role at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva last week, promoting the importance of national strategies and regional actions in the development of a global Information Society.  It was widely agreed that the regional perspective is an indispensable intermediate stage in bringing together national particularities and global requirements for the Information Society.

The regional commissions, together with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies Task Force and the World Bank, organized four panel discussions on the theme of “National Strategies for the Information Society and the Role of Regional and Global Organizations”. 

Each panel, chaired or moderated by one of the Executive Secretaries of the regional commissions -- Mr. K.Y. Amoako (Economic Commission for Africa), Mrs. Brigita Schmögnerová (Economic Commission for Europe), Ms. Alicia Barcena (Deputy, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), Mr. Kim Hak-Su (Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific), and Ms. Mervat Tallawy (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia) -- brought together high-level speakers from around the world, including Ministers of Communication, representatives of business, civil society and international organizations.

The discussions highlighted the important role the regional commissions will play in the implementation of the outcomes of the first phase of WSIS through technical assistance, capacity building and training; facilitating peer dialogue, exchange of experience and promoting good practices; development of indicators and benchmarks; and in the design and future development of national and regional Information Society strategies and roadmaps.

Continuing cooperation by the regional commissions will be instrumental in realizing the Geneva goals and building momentum on the road from Geneva to Tunis for the second phase of WSIS in 2005.

The regional commissions also jointly published a brochure on the regional dimension of the Information Society.  To view the brochure or for more information on the work of the United Nations regional commissions on the Information Society, please consult the following Web sites:

Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)



Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)



Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)



Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)



Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)


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