This was the message of Mr Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication (ADG) and Information to permanent delegations to UNESCO.
Also speaking at the event was H.E. Anna Brandt, the Chair of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC) and Ambassador of Sweden to UNESCO. Image Credit: Twitter(@SweOECDUNESCO)
UNESCO stands ready to support any Member State interested in voluntarily using the new Internet Universality indicators to produce an evidence-based assessment of digital development in their country.
This was the message of Mr Moez Chakchouk, Assistant Director-General for Communication(ADG) and Information to permanent delegations to UNESCO. He was speaking at an Information Meeting on 24 May at headquarters in Paris, where published copies of the Indicators were launched.
Also speaking at the event was H.E. Anna Brandt, the Chair of the International Programme for the Development of Communication(IPDC) and Ambassador of Sweden to UNESCO. The Intergovernmental Council of the IPDC last year gave the green light to indicators after a two-year global consultation process.
“The ROAM-X indicators framework is a powerful tool which is relevant to all countries, whether developed or developing, to gain a holistic diagnosis of its Internet policies and digital environment. My hope is that the Member States will see the value of the voluntary implementation”. the Ambassador said.
ADG Chakchouk elaborated the multi-stakeholder process for conducting a national assessment. The first key step is to compose a multistakeholder advisory board (MAB), including representatives from government, academia and the technical community to the private sector, journalists and media organizations, civil society, individual Internet users, UN agencies, or intergovernmental groups.
The aim of the MAB is to oversee the research process while reinforcing its quality, legitimacy and transparency. The UNESCO ADG encouraged interested delegations to help identify national focal points, and provide advice on the leading actors that could be engaged in the MAB.
After setting up a research team and developing a research action plan, the assessment process proceeds to data gathering and analysis. The outcome will be a written report including recommendations for diverse actors so as to optimise the Internet’s role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Following these steps, it is expected that the team organize a national validation multistakeholder event to conclude the process – which may be followed up by an impact assessment and monitoring phase, explained ADG Chakchouk.
The UNESCO Indicators are complementary to other existing initiatives, such as the OECD’s newly developed “Going Digital” indicators, he noted.
The involvement of UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP) Bureau in drafting the Indicators was also highlighted at the meeting by the former Chair of IFAP, who mentioned that national committees are encouraged to voluntarily make use of the tool.
Representatives from Brazil, El Salvador, Tunisia, Germany and the United Kingdom expressed their support for the Indicators initiative. Notably, the Indicators’ potential to reduce digital divides was underlined by the El Salvador delegate; while the Brazilian representative evoked its potential to contextualize Artificial Intelligence’s development at a national level.