Side-events at PrepCom2

Our members Aebischer and Loerincik also participated in two side-events at PrepCom2. One of them was held by GeSI, described under "Partners of ours associated with the United Nations" , and the other by the United Nations University. Here are Thomas Ruddy's presentation slides. We wish to thank the Basel Action Network for the permission to show their video "Exporting Harm". This is a recent article on e-waste in China from the Washington Post. See also the section headed "News" for more such articles.

Achievements of PrepCom 2

Here is the official final document from PrepCom 2. Choose from 6 official language versions.

Here is an optimistic appraisal of the achievements of PrepCom 2 published by IPS "Civil Society Wins a Place at WSIS Table".

Prof. Dr. Rainer Kuhlen is also optimistic. He holds a UNESCO post and is a member of a group drafting a Charta of Human Rights in Sustainable Knowledge Societies (see Boell Foundation for the Charta der Bürgerrechte in nachhaltigen Wissensgesellschaften): Interessenverflechtungen: auf dem Weg zum UN-Weltgipfel zur Informationsgesellschaft (WSIS) (in German, as a PDF file)

On 3rd March 2003 CTO published this appraisal entitled "Nearly, but not quite ‘An Information Society for All’". The second article refers to an earlier, more critical one from IPS dated Feb. 17, i.e. after the first week of the two-week PrepCom, entitled "TECHNOLOGY Summit Prep Meet Caught between Two Visions".

Drafting the Declaration and Action Plan

Here is our current version handed in by May 30, 2003 to the common "Incoming Content & Themes Contributions site :

The Declaration should include a passage to the effect that:

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can and should serve sustainable development.  
More harmony between the two goals of the Information Society and sustainable development could 
be achieved if there were better coherence and coordination among the major global UN summits 
such as the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development, the Basel Convention, 
the Kyoto Protocol and the International Conference on the Financing for Development, 
keeping in mind the outcomes of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the General Assembly on the 
Integrated Follow-up to Major UN Conferences and Summits. Resource efficiency could be 
improved by ICT, the use of natural resources reduced and waste reduced by using ICT to 
dematerialize (i.e. reduce the use of natural resources, the inputs needed for our economic 
activities) and to achieve sustainable production and consumption patterns. However, as ICT 
helps change our perspectives to alter our consumption and production patterns with a 
rebound effect, attention by policy and decision makers is needed to ensure that ICT really 
reduces, not increases, environmental impacts.  Other risks needing attention by policy and 
decision makers include that of ICT equipment and ICT systems causing unnecessary 
electricity consumption while on standby. We pledge to promote increases in the useful life 
of ICT and to improve recycling conditions, in particular those resulting from trade in 
waste between the OECD member countries and developing countries.



The Plan of Action should:

1. Ask all relevant International Financial Institutions (WTO, WB, IMF, the regional 
development banks [including EIB], and the Regional Commissions, etc) to develop, and by the
Tunisia segment of the WSIS in 2005, to present a strategy for the use of ICT for sustainable 
development, and as an effective instrument to help us achieve the Millennium Development Goals 
(MDGs) as well as adhere to the provisions of all ratified, relevant environmental agreements.

2. Recommend that Governments and the private sector explore, and by 2005 implement, 
different instruments that can help to extract the maximum environmental benefits from 
ICT and speed the development of sustainability solutions throughout society.

3. Mainstream information and communication technology into sustainable development.
Principal action areas should include: 
a. Dematerialization and reducing waste
b. Consumption and production patterns (the role for ICT to reduce environmental 
impacts) 
c. Eliminate unnecessary standby losses of ICT equipment and ICT systems 
d. Increase their useful life 
e. Improve recycling conditions, in particular those resulting from trade in waste 
between the OECD and developing countries. Switzerland, for instance, is planning to publish 
a handbook and Website to help developing countries to cope with the amount of electronic 
waste, which is expected to grow as they enter an Information Society already threatened by 
environmental risks.


Intersessional, Paris, July 2003

Civil Society, July 10, 2003: The Civil Society Priorities draft is here in MS doc format,
or
here in Adobe PDF.

The passage relevant to our group has been edited to now read thus.

Civil Society, Aug. 6, 2003: Here in RTF is a new version of the Civil Society Priorities draft. The passage relevant to our group now reads as follows:

ICTs can contribute to sustainability, but their use is also creating new environmental hazards. In view of mainstreaming ICTs into sustainable development, the action plan should include concrete proposals and policies to: develop renewable energy resources, particularly for remote communities; improve resource efficiency; dematerialize and reduce waste; increase the useful life of hardware; improve recycling conditions, ensure safe disposal of discarded ICT hardware and parts and encourage the development of alternatives to toxic ICT components.

Swiss Tripartite Task Force, July 18, 2003:

examining the Draft Action Plan, p.30 ff., WSIS/PCIP/DT/5-E (WSIS/PCIP/DT/2 refined through the intersessional mechanism and incorporating government contributions received before established deadline)

"41 E-environment: [Systems should be established to prevent man-made disasters, using ICTs to monitor the [operators of production/the environmental impact caused by production] and transport systems that pose the gravest potential threats to the environment, as well as to forecast natural disasters/Systems should be established to prevent man-made disasters, using ICTs to monitor the operators of production and transport systems that pose the gravest potential threats to the environment].
41 A "There is a need to set priorities and develop the uses of ICTs, for development in agriculture and early warning systems, for example."

41 B (proposed by Switzerland) Environmental monitoring resulting from data collection and data analysis should be promoted to allow governments, the business sector and civil society to face the state of their own [local] environment and undertake actions - based on information - to prevent further environmental degradations. To be efficient, this has to be done on a regular basis and has to be accessible to all stakeholders i.e. governments, the business sector and civil society.

41 C (proposed by Switzerland) Environmental data dissemination: The use of ICTs in a sustainable environmental protection strategy encompasses environmental data finding, environmental data analysis and environmental monitoring. Environmental data finding, analysis and monitoring provide the world community with improved access to meaningful data and information, and help increase the capacity of governments to use environmental information for decision-making and action planning for sustainable human development. Relevant international institutions should thus develop a strategy for the use of ICTs for sustainable development and as an effective instrument to help achieve the MDGs. The strategy should be ready by 2005. Governments and the private sector should develop different instruments that can help to extract the maximum environmental benefits from ICTs and speed the development of sustainability solutions throughout society. These instruments should be ready for implementation by 2005.

41 D Sustainable consumption and production patterns: ICTs have to play a role in reducing environmental impacts and have to be employed to overcome unsustainable consumption and productions patterns. This has to be done by means of dematerialization and thus reducing the use of natural resources and waste, elimination of unnecessary standby losses of ICT equipment and ICT systems as well as an improved lifecycle."

   Document WSIS03/PCIP/DT/7-E
18 July 2003
Original: English
[Extract from the Draft Action Plan
(EXTRACT FROM WSIS/PCIP/DT/2 refined through the intersessional mechanism and incorporating government contributions)
CONTAINING EXAMPLES OF SPECIFIC ACTION ITEMS

Action Item No. 7 reads: "7. Relevant international institutions should thus develop a strategy for the use of ICTs for sustainable development and as an effective instrument to help achieve the MDGs. The strategy should be ready by 2005."

Action Item No. 9 reads: "9. Governments and the private sector should develop different instruments that can help to extract the maximum environmental benefits from ICTs and speed the development of sustainability solutions throughout society. These instruments should be ready for implementation by 2005."

Action Item No. 81 reads: "81. All relevant international and regional institutions to develop and present a strategy for the use of ICTs for sustainable development and as an effective tool to help achieving the MDGs as well as implement relevant environmental agreements."

Action Item No. 120 reads: "120. Ask all relevant international and regional institutions to develop and by the second phase of WSIS in 2005, present a strategy for the use of ICTs for sustainable development and as an effective tool to help achieving the MDGs as well as relevant environmental agreements."

Action Item No. 121 reads: "121. Recommend that governments and the private sector explore, and by the second phase of WSIS in 2005 (Tunis, implement different instruments that can help to extract the maximum environmental benefits from ICTs and speed up the development of sustainable solution throughout society"

PrepCom 3, September 2003

Aspects related to our input are excerpted from the current draft Action Plan (Document WSIS03/PC-3/3-E, dated 22 August 2003) on this page.

On September 19th members met in Geneva, and approved this text (in MS RTF to preserve underlining) for input to the Plan of Action.

On September 20 this compilation of CS comments on the Action Plan was released (here in MS RTF for underlining) .

On September 22: the good news first:

On Sept. 29 Olivier Jolliet of EPFL made a proposal on the equipment use phase by email. It was edited and forwarded to the person responsible for the relevant section of input, Chris Nicol (cnicolATpangea.org), as follows:
c) Require manufacturers of electronic equipment to significantly decrease their products' electricity consumption and to eliminate all unnecessary standby losses.

On October 10 Sally Burch of the CS Content and Themes Group wrote in the mailing list about compiling our "non-negotiable points"for the Declaration. On Oct 23rd this statement will be sent in from our group (in MS RTF).

In the case of the Action Plan, she added, things are "a bit more complicated since, firstly, we don't have a single compilation document of our proposals, and secondly the draft Action Plan has, I believe, been significantly reformulated since the previous version."

In response to this need, we have begun to assemble such in this compilation of our input to the draft Action Plan (in MS RTF format). When the new draft Action Plan is published, Sally says we will have to "focus particularly on the language in square brackets, since this is where we are more likely to be able to make input. Completely new paragraphs are unlikely to be considered at this stage; so if there is an issue that is absent, try to include it within one of the existing paragraphs, particularly those with brackets." For each proposed modification there should be a "brief (1-2 paragraphs) explanation of the issue and why it is so important."

Our new statement on "non-negotiable points" was submitted by Thomas Ruddy on Nov. 12.

Nov. 27, 2003: Rainer Kuhlen has proposed the following definition of sustainable development for the forthcoming draft CS Vision Document.

Dec. 1, 2003: Rainer Kuhlen's language is being expanded upon as follows:

The Summit, Phase 1, Geneva

Core partners are working on four side-events: Member SERI is presenting at the same event as Thomas Ruddy (IRFD on 9.12.03).

December 11: The Civil Society declaration is now available on http://www.worldsummit2003.de/ in English, espanol et français with Highlights.

On page 9-10 of the above document is the section on environmental aspects. Our input influenced it along with input from other groups:
"2.1.8 Development of Sustainable and Community-based ICT Solutions
In order that communities and individuals may fully enjoy the benefits of the information and communication society, ICTs must be designed and manufactured according to environmentally sustainable principles. Technological solutions must also be sustainable in the sense that communities are able to support their use and evolution.
Equipment recycling must meet environmental standards. The production of technologies must not consume an unsustainable amount of energy or natural resources.
It is essential to develop concrete proposals and policies to improve resource efficiency and develop renewable energy resources. This involves 'dematerialising' (for example, using less paper) and reducing ICT-related waste; increasing the useful life of hardware; improving recycling conditions; ensuring safe disposal of discarded ICT hardware and parts; and encouraging the development of alternatives to toxic ICT components. This also implies giving the highest priority to creating and using renewable energy resources to address the basic needs of populations living in developing countries. Renewable energy resources should be used for ICT-based dissemination of information and communications, including radio and television. Africa can particularly benefit from solar power due to its high level of exposure to direct solar radiation. By mobilising regional synergies, complemented by the necessary technical and financial cooperation, Africa could play a leading role in this strategic domain in the next decade."

Results of WSIS, Phase 1

At WSIS Thomas Ruddy got involved in this event, Interactive "Networkshops", which hopes to continue the networking beyond WSIS Geneva to Tunis 2005.

WSIS produced a government declaration and action plan, which we take as a starting point for listing further conferences and the networks represented at them as one way of implementing the official action plan.

There is a hypertext action plan, listing the summit themes. Thomas Ruddy set up an environment subgroup there, the themes of which fall under the main heading “ICT applications”
and the subheading ICTs and Environment (with 27 "Related content items" behind it) and the sub-subheadings

We want networks focussing on those themes to interact. One document (2 pages in RTF) is being jointly edited to show events and networks.

Readers of this Website are invited to propose additions to the four questions in the document:

Submit your proposed additions to thomas.ruddy@empa.ch

Feb. 2004: The Civil Society Content and Themes Group is releasing its Civil Society Declaration entitled "Shaping Information Societies for Human Needs", in which the section relevant to our group now reads as follows: 2.1.8 Development of Sustainable and Community-based ICT Solutions

"In order that communities and individuals may fully enjoy the benefits of the information and communication society, ICTs must be designed and manufactured according to environmentally sustainable principles. Technological solutions must also be sustainable in the sense that communities are able to support their use and evolution."

"Equipment recycling must meet environmental standards. The production of technologies must not consume an unsustainable amount of energy or natural resources."

"It is essential to develop concrete proposals and policies to improve resource efficiency and develop renewable energy resources. This involves 'dematerialising' (for example, using less paper) and reducing ICT-related waste; increasing the useful life of hardware; improving recycling conditions; ensuring safe disposal of discarded ICT hardware and parts; and encouraging the development of alternatives to toxic ICT components. This also implies giving the highest priority to creating and using renewable energy resources to address the basic needs of populations living in developing countries. Renewable energy resources should be used for ICT-based dissemination of information and communications, including radio and television. Africa can particularly benefit from solar power due to its high level of exposure to direct solar radiation. By mobilising regional synergies, complemented by the necessary technical and financial cooperation, Africa could play a leading role in this strategic domain in the next decade."

Plans for WSIS, Phase 2

October 23, 2004: The Executive Secretariat appears to welcome news of how the Plan of Action is being, or could be, implemented. Therefore an informal, spontaneous meeting was held at Enviroinfo2004.org. April 2005: The East Asian Tsunami and how the Internet Can Rise to the Challenge of Public Warning: Click here to add your endorsement of the Public Warning Network Challenge.

November 2005: Currently the revised text of the WSIS Tunis operational document (implementation and follow-up: WSIS-II/PC-3/DT-26 Rev. 1), http://www.itu.int/wsis/docs2/pc3/working/dt26rev1.doc contains the following paragraph with relevance to us as a follow-up to the Geneva Phase:

Paragraph 11 - o

"strongly encouraging ICT enterprises and entrepreneurs to develop and use environment-friendly production processes in order to minimise the negative impacts of the use and manufacture of ICTs and disposal of ICT waste on people and the environment. In this context, it is important to give particular attention to the specific needs of the developing countries; "

It also contains a new paragraph 12 as a .

Further commitments 12. We recognize the intrinsic relationship between disaster reduction, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty and that disasters seriously undermine investment in a very short time and remain a major impediment to sustainable development and poverty eradication. We are clear as to the important enabling role of ICT at the national, regional and international levels including:

a) Enhancing the capacity of developing countries in utilizing ICT tools for national disaster early warning, management and emergency communications, including their integration in the global network;

Analysis of WSIS

Critiques of WSIS progress by other members/ partners/ friends of ours



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Update: 2 Dec. 2008

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