The fifty-ninth session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe

Item 7: Preparation of and follow-up to world and regional conferences

Statement by
Mr. Petru Dumitriu
Ddelegation of Romania

Geneva - 26 February 2004

Mr. Chairman,

My delegation associated itself to the statement of the European Union on item 7. Our brief intervention is related to the follow-up to the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society.

1. The role of regional structures in the implementation of the documents adopted by the Summit is succinctly, but clearly defined in those respective documents.

The Declaration of Principles emphasizes the importance of the contribution of the regional integration to the development of the global Information Society and the need for a strong cooperation within and among the regions. Regional dialogue should indeed contribute to national capacity building and to the alignment of national strategies, as appropriate, with the goals of the Declaration of Principles.

In its turn, the Plan of Action invites regional organizations to mainstream ICTs in their work programmes and to be involved in the preparation and implementation of national action plans to support the fulfilment of the goals indicated in the recommendations adopted by the Summit.

In addition, in particular in the context of WSIS, the international cooperation among all stakeholders is vital and needs to be strengthened with a view to promoting universal access and bridging the digital divide. A special attention is to be given to the paradigm of partnership represented by the United Nations Global Compact.

2. As the most specialized protagonist in the implementation of the WSIS recommendations, based on its core competence in ICTs, ITU started already its work. Given the limited nature of the existing resources, the ITU key concept for implementation is that of synergies. Yesterday, the ITU Council Working Group on WSIS recognized the need to use regional structures in order to take advantage of the existing and potential synergies. From the perspective of our own Commission, in our future work, we need to take into account the existence of the ITU regional dimension and its potential to coordinate with relevant stakeholders at the regional level and to assist Member States in developing regional action plans, such as E-Europe.

Against this background, my delegation believes that UN/ECE could play an active role in the follow-up to WSIS Geneva, and its action should reflect the dynamics and far-sightedness of other developments in the region, not only in terms of integration, but also in terms of existing e-strategies.

3. The issue of resources is as relevant for UN/ECE as it is for all objectives and actions envisaged as steps in the implementation of the Summit on the Information Society. My delegation believes that actions, which may be considered, should start from a few nuts and bolts:

  • Be innovative in particular in stimulating enhanced partnerships between governments and private sector, with a view to generating new, non-official resources. We start from the assumption that, in the implementation of the Plan of Action on the Information Society, there is a considerable difference, as compared with Plans adopted by other Summits. This difference stems from the real stake and interest of the private sector. Unlike other domains relevant for UN Summits, there is indeed a broader room of coincidence between the global public goods promoted by the United Nations and the purposes pursued by the business community. It is in this direction that our efforts might be focussed.
  • Take fully into consideration the need for synergies and engage in constant coordination with ITU regional projects. In this respect, I would recall that during the Preparatory Pan-European Regional Ministerial Conference in Bucharest it has been agreed that UNECE and the ITU Telecommunications Development Bureau would cooperate in order to bring the positive results accruing from the implementation of e-policies and e-regulations to the benefit of Member States, with special attention to the digitally marginalized sectors and countries. Better coordination may lead to a meaningful distribution of roles at regional and country level with other UN protagonists, as suggested by the Executive Secretary.
  • Identify and develop the comparative advantages of the region, which is one of the most advanced, from the perspective of ICTs and their use as a tool for development, good governance and accountability. In this respect, we would respectfully argue that the adoption of the World Summit documents does not imply at all that we may ignore the principles and priorities we agreed ourselves at the regional level in the November 2002. The Bucharest document may not be as ambitious and comprehensive as the World Summit ones, but it certainly reflects the specificity and the comparative advantages of our region. The provisions we agreed in Bucharest were meant to have a life of their own, in addition to the contribution to the preparation of the Summit as such. I am grateful to the Executive Secretary for having emphasized that concept, in her introduction.
  • Focus on the concrete dimensions of the implementation of the Plan of Action. I refer mainly to the indicative targets contained in chapter B, paragraph C, but also to other objectives and targets that might emerge as relevant for our region. My delegation really believes that the responsibility of our region in the implementation of WSIS recommendations is not only regional, but also global. If our region fails to produce convincing results, the fulfilment of those commitments at global level will certainly appear as implausible. A significant contribution to the implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action should match the contribution to the preparation of the first phase of the Summit. We believe that in a Summit with two phases, the best preparation of the second phase is the implementation of the first one.
  • At a more specific level of detail, the UNECE may look for a few areas on which there is a need for studies or surveys. For instance, for my country studies on issues such as the mobility of the human resources specialized in ICTs or the development of small and medium software enterprises, would be of high interest.

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