Report on the the First Consultation Meeting of IFAP National Committees
Moscow, December 7-8, 2008
A meeting of national committees of the UNESCO Information for All Programme was held in Moscow on December 7–8 (see Appendix 1 for the programme of the meeting). The meeting was organized by the Intergovernmental Council for IFAP, the UNESCO Secretariat, the Russian IFAP Committee and its working body – the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre of – with support of the Commission for UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.
Taking part in the meeting were the chairs and representatives of 17 national IFAP committees – from Austria, Chile, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Lithuania, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Thailand, and of Moldova, whose IFAP Committee is being established (see Appendix 2 for the list of participants). English and Russian were the working languages.
Grigory Ordzhonikidze, Executive Secretary of the Russian Commission for UNESCO, greeted the meeting at its opening session on behalf of Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia. Ekaterina Chukovskaya, Secretary of State and Deputy Minister of Culture, greeted the meeting on behind of Alexander Avdeyev, Russia’s Minister of Culture.
Karol Jakubowicz, Chair of the Intergovernmental Council for IFAP; Boyan Radoykov, Programme Specialist, Information Society Division, UNESCO Communication and Information Sector; and Evgeny Kuzmin, Chair of the Russian IFAP Committee and President of the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre were moderators of plenary meetings.
The Russian IFAP Committee and the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre had prepared a Russian- and English-language information and analytical press kit for the meeting. It covers the implementation of UNESCO Information for All Programme in Russia since 2000, and materials pertaining to the meeting agenda. The Kemerovo State University of Culture and Arts and its Research Institute of Information Technologies in the Social Sphere published the booklet UNESCO Information for All Programme in Siberia in Russian and English for the meeting.
The meeting was accompanied by an exhibition of publications by the Interregional Library Cooperation Centre, the Russian IFAP Committee and their partners.
The cultural programme of the meeting included a concert of Chopin, Mendelssohn, Brahms and Schumann by brilliant pupils of Professor Irina Shubina of the Moscow State Pedagogic University – Irina Levina, Inna Zakharova and Evgenia Sardaryan – all winners of national and international piano contests.
The meeting ended with a gala reception sponsored by Xerox Russia on behalf of the Russian IFAP Committee.
December 7, 2009
The first plenary session opened with presentations of the national IFAP committees.
Evgeny Kuzmin made a survey of Russian IFAP Committee work, and Committee members made detailed communications on its basic aspects. The speakers were:
· Vyacheslav Yudin, deputy head, Department of Legal Information, Spetzsvyaz of the Russian Federation – The Establishment of a Network of Legal Information Access Centres in Russia
· Irina Mironova, Vice-President, Codex legal information consortium – The Business World’s Contribution to the Implementation of UNESCO Information for All Programme in Russia
· Nadezhda Zaikova, First Deputy Minister of Culture, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) – The Preservation of Linguistic Diversity and Its Development in Cyberspace: Yakut Experience
· Ekaterina Kudrina, Rector of the Kemerovo State University of Culture and Arts – The Kemerovo State University of Culture and Arts as the Siberian Heart of Implementing UNESCO Information for All Programme
· Natalya Gendina, Director, Research Institute of Information Technologies in the Social Sphere, Kemerovo State University of Culture and Arts – The Research Institute of Information Technologies in the Social Sphere as the Vehicle of IFAP Ideas
· Valery Ponomarev, Vice-Rector of the Kemerovo State University of Culture and Arts – UNESCO Information for All Programme in the Mirror of Arts.
Then followed presentations of the work and activities of National IFAP committees. Below follow highlights from these presentations (in alphabetical order):
The Polish National IFAP Committee was established in September 2008. It concentrates on two areas of activity. The first consists of adopting recommendations on issues of importance. The first such recommendation concerned the adoption of open standards in Digital Terrestrial Television and was sent to the Minister of Infrastructure. The second called for the introduction of media education into school curricula and was submitted to the Council for Information and Media Education, attached to the Ministry of National Education. Currently, the Committee is debating the issue of open access to scientific education and open standards in education, with a view to adopting a document on these issues.
Another strand of activity is the holding of conferences, In June 2009, the Committee organized a high-level conference, under the auspices of the Speaker of the Lower Chamber of the Polish Parliament and the relevant government departments, devoted to the topic “Digital Heritage: Culture for the Future”. It brought together 150 participants representing all the institutions involved in the digitization of the cultural heritage and reviewed all the major programmes and activities in this field.
The second plenary session was devoted to:
1. Presentation and discussion on Guidelines for the establishment and operation of a National IFAP Committee, their development and improvement
2. Defining a procedure by which the Bureau can recognize the National IFAP Committee that best contributes to implementing IFAP goals and promote Information for All;
The original Guidelines were drafted by the UNESCO Secretariat some years ago. It was felt that in the light of experience accumulated since then, it was time to take another look at the document and potentially revise it.
It was concluded that despite major organizational, administrative, economic and political differences in their work, the national IFAP committees share major challenges – in particular, search of sources for project and expert remuneration funding, enhancing the publicity of the committees and the entire Programme, and extending the information of decision-makers in information, communications, education and culture about IFAP ideas and achievements.
In this connection, all participants stressed the importance of stepping up information exchanges about practical achievements, work forms and methods, and available and blueprinted projects.
Points made during the discussion on this subject were subsequently introduced into a draft new version of the Guidelines (see Appendix 3). Following an online consultation with meeting participants, it will be submitted to the IFAP Bureau meeting in January 2010 for its consideration, and then to the Council meeting in March 2010 for approval.
As for developing a possible a procedure by which the Bureau could recognize the National IFAP Committee that best contributes to implementing IFAP goals and promote Information for All, meeting participants were of the opinion that the procedure should concentrate on single projects or activities of National IFAP Committees, rather than on assessing the work of Committees as a whole. It was additionally agreed that the procedure should concentrate on assessing projects and activities that best contribute to the promotion of Information for All in the five priority areas of IFAP: information for development, information literacy, information preservation, information ethics and information accessibility.
Points made during the discussion on this subject were subsequently introduced into a draft Council decision (see Appendix 4). Following an online consultation with meeting participants, it will be submitted to the IFAP Bureau meeting in January 2010 for its consideration, and then to the Council meeting in March 2010 for approval.
December 8, 2009
On the morning of the second day, the participants divided in two ad hoc groups to discuss the following issues:
· Implementing the IFAP Template for National Information Society Policy;
· Prospects for new synergies and enhanced multilateral collaborations in the framework of IFAP;
· Publicity and visibility;
Group 1 was chaired by Divina Frau-Meigs (France), with Verena Metze-Mangold (Germany) serving as its Rapporteur. Group 2 was chaired by Srisakdi Charmonmen (Thailand), with Niv Ahituv (Israel) and Ludovit Molnar (Slovakia) serving as Rapporteurs.
During the third plenary session on the afternoon of the second day, Rapporteurs of the two groups presented the conclusions of their groups on the subjects under discussion. They are summed up below:
· Implementing the IFAP Template for National Information Society Policy
· Prospects for new synergies and enhanced multilateral collaborations in the framework of IFAP
· Publicity and visibility
The most salient conclusions from these group discussions were subsequently introduced into a draft new version of the Guidelines (see Appendix 3).
During the closing session the IFAP Council Chair and all participants expressed high appreciation to the Russian National IFAP Committee for its hospitality, generosity in covering all the accommodation and other local costs, and excellent organization and care. The meeting participants also unanimously recognized the Russian IFAP Committee as the most active and effective of all.
These feelings were also expressed in the letter later sent by the IFAP Council Chair to Mr. Evgeny Kuzmin, Chair, Russian IFAP Committee, President, Interregional Library Cooperation Centre (ILCC) (see appendix 5).
First Consultation Meeting of National Committees for the Information for All Programme
Moscow, 7-8 December 2009
First Consultation Meeting
of National Committees for UNESCO’s Information for All Programme
December 7-8, 2009, Moscow
List of Participants
Guidelines for the creation AND OPERATION of national Committees of the Information for All Programme
IFAP Goals and Mandate
The Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme was established in 2000 as – in the words of the Executive Board – ‘a key participant in the fulfillment of UNESCO’s mandate to contribute to “education for all”, to the “free exchange of ideas and knowledge” and to “increase the means of communication between peoples”’. The Programme is to contribute to narrowing the gap between the information rich and the information poor and to provide a platform for international policy discussions and guidelines for action on the preservation of information and universal access to it, on the participation of all in the emerging global information society and on the ethical, legal and societal consequences of ICT developments.
As a transverse UNESCO programme, the Information for All Programme is to provide a framework for international cooperation and international and regional partnerships and support the development of common strategies, methods and tools for building a just and free information society.
In order to achieve its objectives, the Information for All Programme requires effective collaboration and liaison with a diverse and increasing number of interested parties. Therefore, the Programme should to emphasize and enhance the role of external collaboration and partnering in its work within UNESCO and in its support of external programmes. Collaboration with stakeholder NGOs and the private sector should be established in order to create a multiplier effect from improved communication and collaboration to contribute to achieving the objectives of the programme.
At its origin, the Programme was composed of five areas: development of international, regional and national information policies; development of human resources and capabilities for the information age; strengthening institutions as gateways for information access; development of information processing and management tools and systems; information technology for education, science, culture and communication.
The IFAP Strategic Plan for 2008-2013, endorsed by the UNESCO Executive Board, defines the main focus of the Programme’s activities as execution of UNESCO General Conference resolution 34 C/Res.48 for Major Programme V, contained in the Approved Programme and Budget 2008–2009 (34 C/5) that authorizes the Director General to “assist in the formulation of national information policy frameworks, in particular within the framework of the Information for All Programme (IFAP)”. Resulting from IFAP’s work so far, and that envisaged for the entire planning period, these frameworks will be complemented by more detailed policy orientations in five priority areas – information for development, information literacy, information preservation, information ethics and information accessibility. This standard-setting policy-oriented approach and these foci of interest are the distinguishing features of IFAP.
National IFAP Committees should be established in all UNESCO Member States, and especially in those that are elected to the Intergovernmental Council of IFAP.
The following Guidelines were developed, based on the results of discussions during the First Consultation Meeting of National Committees for the Information for All Programme (Moscow, 7-8 December 2009).
Role and Tasks of National IFAP Committees
The role of National IFAP Committees is to pursue the goals of IFAP as a whole at the national level. Given the fact that many government, private sector, academic and civil society bodies are already involved in developing, implementing and analysing information society policies, or their particular elements, a National IFAP Committee can provide added value by:
· Serving as a meeting point for these diverse stake-holders and thus creating a pool of expertise for the purpose of consolidating existing knowledge as a basis for formulating advice on policy and its implementation;
· Serving as an avenue for the transfer of knowledge and expertise from the international to the national level, and across borders, by drawing on the work of National IFAP Committees in other countries (e.g. in the form of expert missions);
· Consolidating existing sectoral plans and programmes of action in the Information/Knowledge Society field into a comprehensive, future-oriented vision, promoting public understanding of the unfolding process of change and its ramifications for society and individuals;
· Developing an action plan, including short- and long-term goals, as well as benchmarks of success, focussing on the needs of the country in the area of core IFAP priorities, as well as on forms of regional and international cooperation within the Programme;
· Developing the capacity of undertaking projects in areas of interest for the administration and other stake-holders;
· Spreading information and knowledge about Information Society issues, and publicising its own activities, as well as those of IFAP in general, to ensure visibility for the Programme and for the National Committee in order to generate interest in, and support for, the Committee’s work.
Forms of activity undertaken by National IFAP Committees should include:
1. Contributing to the implementation of IFAP’s National Information Society Policy template, adjusted to the needs and circumstances of their countries;
2. Engaging in a constant dialogue with government agencies and other stakeholders on the development and implementation of information and knowledge policies and strategies; facilitating (or engaging in) high level collaboration amongst government agencies to help develop national information policies;
3. Creating multistakeholder forums (with the involvement of government officials, private sector, NGOs and academia) for an ongoing debate on national information and knowledge policies and strategies, their development and implementation; establishing partnerships with civil society and private sector organizations;
4. Convening multistakeholder conferences or thematic discussions on IFAP priority areas, information for development, information literacy, information ethics, information accessibility and information preservation;
5. Involvement in the international debate on Information and Knowledge Society issues, contributing ideas developed at national or IFAP Programme level; promotion of a public dialogue on these issues, inter alia by recognizing or awarding the work of media or journalists specializing in them;
6. Identifying and undertaking national or regional projects that respond to the needs of other stakeholders in their countries or regions;
7. Maintaining contacts and cooperation with other IFAP National Committees on questions of mutual interest, for the purposes of exchanging best practices and creating, and participating in, regular or task-oriented networks of National IFAP Committees;
8. Participating in, and contributing to, the IFAP Working Groups;
9. Raising funds for their own activities and for supporting IFAP projects;
10. Providing information and data for inclusion in the online IFAP Information Society Observatory;
11. Regularly disseminating information about IFAP objectives and activities provided by the UNESCO/IFAP Secretariat, including via a national IFAP webpage, separately and on a common website designated by the IFAP Bureau, so as to create inter alia an information bank on work conducted by National IFAP Committees and its results and on national experts who could assist institutions or other countries with their expertise;
12. Organising periodic national IFAP meetings and preparing an annual report on national activities to be addressed to the UNESCO/IFAP Secretariat for publication by UNESCO and consideration by the IFAP Intergovernmental Council;
13. Facilitating appropriate national inputs to, and participation in, as a member or as an observer, the sessions of the IFAP Intergovernmental Council, and IFAP-related international and regional meetings;
14. Maintaining relations and cooperation with UNESCO Field Offices.
Structure and location
1. The IFAP National Committee should include representatives of all major national stakeholder groups in the Information Society, including ministries; parliamentary committees; libraries and archives; informatics, telematics and telecommunication infrastructure entrepreneurs and service providers; education and training institutions in the areas of information science and informatics; users of information and Information and Communication Technology services in education, science, culture and communication; producers of information and digital content; local communities and civil society.
2. Given the transversal and multisectorial nature of Information Society policy and programmes, and the need for the National IFAP Committee to incorporate all stakeholders and operate across administrative and other divisions, it would be best if it could be established and operate under the auspices of a government body of equally comprehensive competences.
3. The secretariat for IFAP National Committee could also be established, for example:
· within a national advisory board or committee on the information society, information resource development, or ICTs;
· as a specialized committee of the National Commission for UNESCO.
4. Many UNESCO National Commissions already have committees dealing with communication and information. An IFAP National Committee is needed to: i) concentrate on Information Society issues, ii) have a mandate and resources to contribute more substantively to IFAP, and iii) as a platform for regular informal as well as formal consultation with the UNESCO/IFAP Secretariat and with other IFAP National Committees.
5. For a national coordination framework to be effective, specific responsibilities should be agreed in terms of information flow between national coordination entities and UNESCO, the expected contributions of the national coordination entities to IFAP, and the support function of UNESCO vis-à-vis these entities.
6. The IFAP National Committee should have Statutes which clearly define its membership, mandate and procedures.
1. The IFAP National Committee needs a budget to fund its own functioning and activities. This should, where possible, come from a central government allocation.
2. The Committee also needs funds for national IFAP activities and national participation in regional and international IFAP meetings.
3. Any of several methods of financing could be used, depending on national circumstances, alone or in combination, for example:
· allocations from concerned ministries and public agencies (including, in industrialized countries, the agency responsible for international development assistance); this should be oriented towards the implementation of the Committee’s action plan;
· contributions of institutions represented on the National Committee (though this should not be a condition for their involvement in the work of the Committee for institutions unable to make such contributions);
· fees, where appropriate (and again not as a barrier to participation), for attendance at national IFAP activities;
· voluntary sponsorship, including of the private sector, especially in relation to joint projects;
· funding from government and other institutions for sector-specific projects in their areas.
IFAP Council decision on a procedure for recognizing projects and activities of National IFAP Committees that best contribute to the promotion of Information for All in the five priority areas of IFAP
The Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme,
Recalling the mandate, programme objectives and implementation principles laid down for the Programme in the Decision 3.6.1 of the Executive Board that established it at its 160th session,
Recalling that the Programme’s specific objectives are set our in its Strategic Plan (2008 – 2013) endorsed by the Executive Board at its 180th session in October 2008,
Mindful of the central importance of National IFAP Committees in implementing the Information for All Programme,
Taking into account the revised Guidelines for the Creation and Operation of National Committees of the Information For All Programme as adopted at this session of the Council,
Taking also into account the results of discussions on this topic during the First Consultation Meeting of National Committees for the Information for All Programme (Moscow, 7-8 December 2009),
Decides that IFAP should recognize each year activities or projects of National IFAP Committees that best contribute to the promotion of Information for All in the five priority areas of IFAP: information for development, information literacy, information preservation, information ethics and information accessibility;
Invites National IFAP Committees to inform the IFAP Bureau by the end of each calendar year of forms of activity or projects in each of those areas that best contribute to implementing IFAP goals and promote Information for All;
Requests the Bureau to assess entries sent in by National IFAP Committees and recognize the best accomplishments or projects of excellence in each of the five priority areas from the previous year by the end of March of the succeeding year;
Requests the Bureau to seek partners from among international institutions, private sector or NGOs in establishing awards for projects or activities of National IFAP Committees that won special recognition in this procedure.
Warsaw, December 15, 2009
Mr. Evgeny Kuzmin
Russian IFAP Committee
Interregional Library Cooperation Centre (ILCC)
Following our very successful First Consultation Meeting of National IFAP Committees (Moscow, December 7-8, 2009), I wish, on behalf of the IFAP Bureau and all participants in the meeting, to extend heartfelt thanks to you and your colleagues at the Russian National IFAP Committee and ILCC for hosting the event and for providing excellent facilities. This meeting was a milestone in the history of IFAP, made possible by your Committee and ILCC and their generous sponsors and supporters.
For the first time, National IFAP Committees had an opportunity to meet and discuss their role in the Programme. Everyone was greatly impressed with the work of your Committee, its many publications, and the fact that your activities extend across the country, including large areas of Siberia.
Participants in the meeting had nothing but praise for the organizers and felt very well looked after. We could not have wished for better care and organization. Everything was done expertly and efficiently.
I hope that the Russian National IFAP Committee will continue its good work and contribution to IFAP as a whole.
With kind regards,
Chair, IFAP Council
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