Research papers

Political economy of the information society - A Southern view
Anita Gurumurthy and Parminder Jeet Singh
A lack of global political response to the new situation of a global information society has essentially meant control by the powerful -the dominant and entrenched interests. Such control is often attempted to be masqueraded in different ways for ideological respectability and stays un-challenged by legitimate public policy structures. Working actively for new global political systems that are adequate to the needs of an emerging information society is an important and urgent task. It is important therefore that powerful South-South alliances are built, with participation from across sub-national and local governments as well as traditional civil society and grassroots organizations, for evolving a new paradigm of a development-oriented information society for the South.
[Espa˝ol] [Franšais] [Arabic]

Visions of the information and knowledge society: The process in Latin America and the Caribbean
Ana Laura Rivoir
The documents stemming from the global and regional debates within the framework of the WSIS reflect different concepts regarding the process of consolidation of an "information society". These approaches and views have direct implication in the design and implementation of policies. The current trend tends to group Southern countries on the periphery or, directly, towards exclusion, so they should build their own development strategies, based on their needs and realities. Within the world scenario, Latin America shows cohabitation between sectors integrated into global power networks, others that are slowly reaching some of the advantages of technological progress and wide excluded sectors. This paper explores the possibilities of Latin American countries to become reinserted into the global economic structure by considering alternatives that could be undertaken for a strategic development of the information and knowledge society in the region.
[Espa˝ol] [Franšais] [Arabic]

Financing ICTs for Development with Focus on Poverty
Lishan Adam
This paper looks at the issue of financing ICTs to support development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The paper argues that ICT financing should primarily focus on the needs, aspirations, capacities and perspectives of the vast majority of poor people in Africa than on the dominant practice where ICT needs are articulated by ICT professionals with predetermined end products. The mainstream ICT financing mechanisms' debate should pay a great deal of attention to the needs of the poor and the question of "who is being served for what purpose" should be addressed when defining financial mechanisms and strategies. Financing ICT with a focus on poverty means scaling up ICT investment from the level of pilot projects to their integration in government services strategies - notably agriculture, education - and in support of the Millennium Development Goals. Such a spirit would be important to consider access to information and communication as a public good and move forward the Digital Solidarity Agenda agreed in the context of the WSIS.
[Espa˝ol] [Franšais] [Arabic]

Threats and Opportunities for Cultural Diversity: WSIS between WTO and UNESCO
Gustavo Gˇmez
As Plans of Action - both global and regional - have become defined within the process of the WSIS, commitments to respect and foster cultural diversity have faded. Therefore, the future of cultural diversity depends on other multilateral processes that may turn both the general principles agreed at the WSIS - as well as the debates and definitions within countries - pointless or unfeasible. This paper argues that negotiations within the World Trade Organization and the Free Trade Agreements are a new threat to cultural diversity, while UNESCO's Convention on Cultural Diversity represents a major opportunity for developing countries. One of the main conclusions of this paper is that it is not enough to acknowledge cultural diversity for it to exist. Cultural diversity must be defended, promoted and ensured through active public policies and appropriate regulatory frameworks. To this end, the author recommends specific policy actions at regional, subregional and national level.
[Espa˝ol] [Franšais] [Arabic]

Internet Governance - A Review in the Context of the WSIS Process
Carlos Afonso
This document provides information on the current Internet governance transition processes, discussing some of the approaches being submitted to public discussion, and reviews the final report of the Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG). It also provides brief historical and reference information on the current global governance system specifically created for the Internet -in this text referred to as the ICANN system. In addition, it presents a review of the perspectives on Internet governance from the point of view of the organized groups of civil society organizations who have been involved in the corresponding discussions both within and outside the WGIG. [Espa˝ol] [Franšais] [Arabic]

Building an Information Society in the South: The role of governments and civil society
Susana Finquelievich
Upon the guidelines included in the WSIS Declaration of Principles, which are essential to developing the information society, a series of questions are raised: How do we build an inclusive information society to be developed by the different social actors in Southern countries, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean? What elements should be focusing the efforts of governments, the private sector and civil society? What sources of financing should be encouraged to ensure access and production of technological goods and services? What are the conditions required to assure that multistakeholder participation in building the information society becomes a reality? And essentially, what proposals could be made on these topics in order to contribute to the process of building the information society that will follow the WSIS? This paper addresses these questions and suggests measures to be taken by the different actors in the process.
[Espa˝ol] [Franšais] [Arabic]

Mechanisms for financing the Information Society from a Global Public Goods perspective
Fernando Prada
Global public goods (GPG) have acquired renewed relevance in response to a critical question: how can financial resources be increased in a context of declining flows of international cooperation for development? In parallel, efforts are being made to secure financing resources for the development of the information society. The WSIS has prompted negotiations geared to obtain an international commitment which would allow the benefits of the information society to be extended worldwide by 2015. The discussions centered on the financial mechanisms to meet these challenges, recognizing the role of information and communication technologies on social and economic development. This document proposes financing strategies for information and communication technologies within the GPG conceptual framework. Several combinations of financial mechanisms are evaluated which could facilitate the growth of international cooperation flows for developing the Information Society in Southern countries.
[Espa˝ol] [Franšais] [Arabic]

Request a hard copy of the book
If you want to have a hard copy of our book "Information Society for the South: Vision or hallucination?", please send us an email to
Panel and book @ WSIS
At the Tunis World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) ITeM organised an event titled "Framing WSIS in global governance processes: Linkages and follow-up". It was held on November 17th, 2005 from 10:45 to 12:45 at the Room Mehdia (Kram Exhibition Hall). [En espa˝ol]

This project is possible thanks to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
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