By Emeka Aginam, Asst. Online Editor
While calling for actionÂ in the global ICT sector, delegatesÂ from over 25 countries around the worldÂ at the just concluded World Information Technology Service Alliance, WITSA, Global Public Policy Summit 2009 held in Bermuda, raisedÂ alarm saying that there may not beÂ broader sustainable economic growth around the world unless access to ICT and the knowledge and information provided by the Internet areÂ Â taking seriously asÂ an important part of an inclusive information society.
A key part of GPPS 2009 was the Bermuda declaration for the ICT Sector, which was adopted by over 90% of the delegates.
The declaration, whose initial proposal was drafted by Graham Wood of the Bermuda WITSA GPPS 2009 Committee, recognizes the importance of ICT as a proven driver for global economic activity and growth.
With this, the WISTA GPPS 2009Â Â set out some guiding parameters for harnessing the power and benefits of ICT which are not limited at the following:
The Declaration stated in part:
*ICT is a proven driver for global economic activity and growth.
*The economic growth generated by the development of the ICT sector will benefit all economies.
*Access to ICT and the knowledge and information provided by the Internet is an important part of an inclusive information society and is essential for broader sustainable economic growth.
*Public_private partnerships are a critical part in building ICT infrastructure and an information society.
*There should be an open trading system between nations free from barriers for ICT products and services. We urge WTO Members to reach the compromises needed to achieve a successful conclusion to the Doha Development Agenda with an ambitious and balanced outcome, including comprehensive results in services.
*Harnessing the power and benefits of ICT for society will not come automatically. Only if business and governments work together with other partners, including their education systems, can people everywhere be assured of access to ICT tools and the knowledge and empowerment they deliver.
*International strategies to tackle climate change need to make full use of ICT as one of the most powerful tools available, and one of the only ones that can produce dramatic changes without negative effects on prosperity or individual lifestyles.
*With the pressure on global public finances, governments should recognize the use of ICT and technology_enabled change as tools to address their operational costs and efficiencies.
*The continued success and growth of ICT depends on trust and confidence; privacy and security should be appropriately integrated into ICT programs, systems, and products from the beginning.
The purpose of the declaration, according to WISTA is intended toÂ intended to raise public and institutional awareness and attention to the benefits of a coordinated global ICT policy as well as stimulate increased ICT investment, projects, and opportunities, and by extension, re_commit WITSA to the continued global promotion and development of ICT solutions.
WITSA is the global body that represents the information and communications technology industry.
The Global Public Policy Summit is a WITSA event that focuses on global policies affecting the information and communications technology industry.
The current global economic crisis requires a coordinated policy response that recognizes the critical role played by ICT in economic recovery and the overall benefits that it brings to all nations and communities.
TheÂ Global Public Policy Summit (GPPS) 2009 which wasÂ hailed as a great success by attendees
GPPS 2009, is a flagship event of the World Information Technology And Services Alliance (WITSA), focused on business technology as an enabler in world economies and featured representatives from key global players including the World Bank, WTO, ICANN, ITU, IGF and the OECD.
ForÂ WITSA Chairman Dan E. Khoo, he told the capacity audience in attendance that,Â â€œI was extremely pleased to see delegates from around the world tackle the most pertinent issues facing our industry today.
â€œAs an enabler of other industries, ICT can raise productivity and efficiency in all economic sectors. The GPPS is an important venue for world ICT leaders, senior government officials and policy makers to work together to identify the best solutions for building out the ICT infrastructure through pro_competitive market policies and sound investmentsâ€.
Similarly, theÂ Hon. Michael Scott JP MP, Minister of Energy, Telecommunications & E_Commerce added that there was need for increased internet access around the world.
â€œMy Ministry was most pleased to be a partner in this incredible event which again shows that Government fully understands the importance of technology in a fast paced and rapidly changing world. We will continue to support initiatives that demonstrate that Bermuda is at the forefront of ICT.â€ he said.
Also speaking,Â David A. Olive, WITSAâ€™s Public Policy Chairman, the GPPS 2009 afforded the participants drawn fromÂ private and public leaders to make recommendations on global public policies which impact the global ICT industry and enable ICT development and use byÂ businesses, economies, and societies.
â€œOur overall message from the Summit is that we should embrace ICT and place ICT in our plans and programs as a strategic economic driver for recovery and future sustainable economic growth.Â In addition, carefully crafted and flexible public policy attracts and facilitates innovation, trade and investment, information flows, and infrastructureâ€ he said.
The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is a consortium of over 70 information technology (IT) industry associations from economies around the world. WITSA members represent over 90 percent of the world IT market.
As the global voice of the IT industry, WITSA is dedicated to advocating policies that advance the industryâ€™s growth and development; facilitating international trade and investment in IT products and services; strengthening WITSAâ€™s national industry associations through the sharing of knowledge, experience, and critical information; providing members with a vast network of contacts in nearly every geographic region of the world; hosting the World Congress on IT, the premier industry sponsored global IT event; and hosting the Global Public Policy Summit.