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Published: 24 July 2014


UN-ESCWA discussed “Digital Content for Inclusive Knowledge Society” during the WSIS+10 High Level Event

 

Nine panellists from international, regional and national organizations discussed the advances made in digital content and multilingualism in cyber space, and shared their opinions and recommendations on the role of digital content in the development of inclusive knowledge societies, during the recent thematic workshop held in Geneva on the 13 of June 2014 as part of the WSIS+10 High Level Event.

 

On 13 June 2014, during the WSIS+10 High Level Event in Geneva, Switzerland, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, organized a thematic workshop on "Digital Content for Inclusive Knowledge Society". The goals of this workshop were to discuss various aspects of digital content and multilingualism, debate the current challenges and how they could be addressed in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and share best practices and experiences from around the globe.

Ms. Nibal Idlebi, Chief of the Innovation Section at UN-ESCWA, chaired this workshop and set the stage by highlighting the various aspects of digital content and multilingualism. She then presented UN-ESCWA’s efforts in promoting the digital Arabic content (DAC) industry in the Arab region. She stated that the DAC market is estimated to reach 28 billion dollars in 2015, according to ESCWA’s studies, thus it is an industry the offers numerous new job opportunities for entrepreneurs and young people.

The panellists of this workshop presented selected experiences on digitization and preservation of cultural and historical heritage. UNESCO’s representative stressed on the importance of the sustainability of digital content especially with the rapid changes of the technologies. He explained that there is a need to develop mechanisms and tools for encouraging multilingualism on the cyberspace. The show-case from Brazil highlighted the importance of Interactive Digital TV for reaching people in rural and disadvantaged communities.

The speakers also elaborated on the high significance of infrastructure and especially broadband for bridging the digital divide and building the Information society. The ISOC representative discussed the impact of location of digital content on the affordability and accessibility by end-users. He suggested hosting local content as close as possible to the community using it. Several panellists touched on the complexity of measuring digital content and multilingualism and they stressed that serious efforts are needed to specify the best set of indicators for measuring multilingualism on the Internet. The representative of the Partnership for Measuring ICT4D also highlighted the growing importance of automated translation and user-generated content in fostering linguistic diversity.

Ms. Noha Adly, First Deputy to the Minister of Communication and Information Technology in Egypt, presented the objectives and main components of the new National Digital Arabic Content Strategy in Egypt for the period (2014-2020) and stressed the need to develop an appropriate eco-system for promoting the digital content industry. She also provided an overview of selected Egyptian cultural heritage digitization projects.

During this thematic workshop, the ITU launched the report on “Digital Arabic Content” which was prepared in collaboration with UN-ESCWA. This report captures the current status of digital Arabic content, analyses the opportunities and obstacles it faces, and proposes practical recommendations for enhancing digital Arabic Content addressed to all stakeholders especially policy makers. Mr. Karim Abdelghani, representing ITU on the regional level, delivered a short presentation on this report.

At the end of the workshop, the panellists agreed that digital content is of high relevance in WSIS+10 review process, and it will certainly be in the Post-2015 development Agenda. They also emphasized the need to enhance the enabling environment in developing countries to stimulate digital content industry.

For more information about this thematic workshop, please visit the following link:
http://www.itu.int/wsis/implementation/2014/forum/agenda/#?se=253

 


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