Youth, French, DSF and More…

Good ol' plenary sessions...

Yesterday went quite well, especially noting the wonderful discussions at the Youth Caucus meeting at 7pm where we looked at the 3 major issues (main WSIS process, side events, publications and the ICT4All exhibitions).

For the main process, we discussed the email sent to the civil society plenary list on overpasses and nomination of speakers; considered the different side events that youth will host at the Tunis Summit — including the World Summit Youth Awards, display of outsomes of the Rural Youth National Information Society Campaigns (RYNICs) and a 4-hour roundtable. For the ICT4All exhibitions, the Youth Caucus will have a Youth Pavillion, that will be home to events, RYNICs exhibitions, access, and more. The Youth Caucus will also produce a Source Book (featuring Tunis events, participating organisations, general information, etc) and a report/publication on the National Youth Campaigns.

From this morning’s African Group meeting, the major lesson for me is to move from the level of picking a few words to conducting a sound conversation in French. And now, I continue blogging from the Digital Solidarity Fund (DSF) meeting in Room 23… Okay, coming back from the offline world now… the DSF meeting was quite enlightening — not that the story of the fund’s development is new to anyone. For more information on the DSF, please see the DSF website. See also DSF Inaugural Ceremony and the DSF Inaugural Ceremony Keynote Address (by President Olusegun Obasanjo). I also find the Statistical Data on the Digital Divide interesting.

The DSF discussion brought up the major indices again, including the fact that funds come from a 1% contribution on procurement contracts on ICT markets (from local authorities). Also of importance is the fact that allocation will be such that 60% of the funds will go to Least Developed Countries (LDCs), 30% to developing countries and 10% to countries in transition and developed economies. Projects that will be supported should be community-based (not infrastructure); address insolvent demand in order to create new activities, jobs and markets; respect cultural diversity and local contents; be easily replicable; be (when possible) managed by women organisatuions.

The session didn’t come to an end until the speaker shared his thoughts, stating that ICT tools are not gadgets, but tools for development (to fight ignorance and poverty). He closed his presentation with the following, “The DSF should be seen as a concrete manifestaton of our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and to seek innovative sources of financing for development… Action speaks louder than words. With political will, the DSF is a reality, even from the beginnig as a sugestion from the Senegalese President.”

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