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   Table of Contents  
Executive Summary
Acronyms and Abbreviations
1. Introduction
2. Strategic Framework - Introduction
--> Strategic Framework - Main Areas of Focus
--> Startetgic Framework - The Arab ICT Strategy
--> Strategic Framework - Action Lines
--> Programmes - Programme Details
4. Projects
--> Strategic Framework - Main Areas of Focus

Building the information society and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by ICT presupposes inherent capabilities in a number of areas.  With this in mind, the strategic framework aims to streamline actions at the regional level and promote the development of national capacities for achieving the transition to the information society.  It puts forward a plan with a number of strategic action lines to achieve significant changes in various areas and at a number of levels of intervention, with a view to serving women, youth, the elderly and special segments of the population such as impoverished communities and the disabled.

The ten areas at the core of the strategic framework address a multitude of issues and will ultimately contribute to the creation of adequate indigenous capabilities for harnessing ICT for socio-economic development and pave the way for the development of the information society.  An overview of the ten areas is summarized below (see E/ESCWA/ICTD/2003/12).

1. Policies and strategies.  This is a preliminary area for the promotion of ICT for development.  The process of adopting proper policies and formulating strategies are essential for mobilizing all stakeholders from a cross-section of the public and private sectors and disseminating the opportunities created by the information society.

2. ICT infrastructure.  This infrastructure is essential in order to reduce the digital divide by providing universal, sustainable and affordable connectivity and access to all, in particular remote and marginalized areas at national and regional levels.

3. Access to information and knowledge.  ICT is a tool that enables and facilitates access to information and knowledge and, so, empowers individuals, organizations and communities.  This area aims to promote public domain information and increase access to information and knowledge.

4. Capacity-building.  This area develops the skills necessary in order to benefit fully from the information society.  Capacity-building with regard to ICT is a main pillar of sustainable development of the information society and encompasses all people.

5. Building confidence, trust and security.  The sensitivity and value of digital information and the need to protect it are increasing.  This area tackles specific requirements with regard to security and privacy, in particular the protection of personal data in the case of individuals and confidential information in the case of enterprises.

6. Enabling environment.  The provision of an enabling environment is crucial in order to mobilize resources and create a climate conducive to the acquisition and dissemination of ICT.  Moreover, legislative and regulatory frameworks constitute essential bases for cooperation between the public and private sectors.

7. ICT applications.  This area acknowledges the importance of developing ICT thematic applications for building the information society in the fields of e-government, e-commerce, e-learning, e-health, and

8. Cultural, linguistic and local content.  Digital content, particularly on the Internet, preserves the language, facilitates its evolution and promotes cultural diversity while sustaining socio-economic development.  In addition, digital content development can play a major role in preserving national heritage.

9. Media.  The media plays an important role in promoting the information society and contributing to freedom of expression and plurality of information as it reaches wide audiences and disseminates information.

10. International and regional cooperation.  The successful implementation of the information society requires cooperation among all stakeholders at both an international and regional level.  This area strengthens the establishment of multi-stakeholder dialogue and promotes private and public partnership as well as multi-sector partnership.

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