The Second Stage of WSIS is being held in Tunisia between November 16th and 19th, 2005, and has been established as a forum to assist all nations meet one of the major global challenges of the new Millennium – building an inclusive and development-oriented Information Society, where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information and knowledge.
The aim is to bring governments and interested private sector organizations together to share their experience and knowledge in order to enable individuals, communities and nations achieve their full potential and improve their quality of life through the effective application of ICT. It is therefore in this spirit that Qatar’s top level delegation will travel to Tunis to share its experience and compare tactics and methodologies for implementing the WSIS Plan of Action in the context of the rapid development of the Information Society worldwide.
The ictQATAR masterplan, which is currently being implemented, encompasses the WSIS Principles declared in the first phase of the summit held in Geneva in 2003. In this way ictQATAR has assured Qatar’s position at the forefront of the digital revolution, and global ICT development.
HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Prime Minister of Qatar and Leader of Qatar’s delegation to WSIS, is clear that Qatar’s objective in attending the Summit is to support the WSIS Principles and Plan of Action agreed in Stage I of the Summit held in Geneva in 2003 in order to create an advanced information based society that will improve the life of everyone in Qatar and enhance the social and economic development of the country.
One of the more important aspects of this lies in managing cyber security risks and responding to security vulnerabilities in order to protect the interests and integrity of all ICT users. To deal with these risks, ictQATAR is partnering with Carnegie Mellon University’s CERT Coordination Center to establish Q-CERT. Q-CERT will be the national organization for conducting and coordinating the comprehensive set of cyber security activities that will be needed to adequately protect Qatar’s critical infrastructures as ICT facilities increasingly become central to Qatar’s government, business and education operations. The Q-CERT goal, therefore, is to collaborate with government and industry to develop and lead a multi-pronged approach to managing cyber security risks. The establishment of Q-CERT will make Qatar the third country in the world (after N America and Korea) to take such a visionary and proactive step to protect its citizens and businesses.
By creating a base for advanced ICT skills and expertise , by connecting societies across the nation as well as internationally and by establishing systems to protect against cyber security risks, Qatar is clearly taking a leadership position in global ICT development. Dr Hessa Al Jaber, Secretary General of ictQATAR explains ictQATAR’s role,
“ICT is quickly becoming such an integral part of contemporary life that a well-structured national ICT agenda is essential to ensure optimal progress against development goals. In creating and managing such an agenda, ictQatar will facilitate and enable economic and social gains by creating an environment in which e-health, e-government, e-finance and e-tourism services can prosper and world-class cyber-security is assured.”
Qatar has already undertaken a number of initiatives in the spirit of the WSIS Plan of Action and with the aim of improving and enhancing quality of life and developing ICT skills of the less fortunate. The ‘Doha Plan of Action’ was approved at the G77 Coalition’s second South Summit, held in Doha on 12-16 June 2005. This document supports the principles of the WSIS by stressing the need for developing countries to build scientific capacity and close the technological gap between them and industrialized nations. In support of the Doha Plan of Action, His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifah Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, donated $20 million dollars to set up the South Fund for Development and Humanitarian Aid, which is being used for development projects in less developed countries (LDC’s). In this way, and as indicated by the Strategy and vision of ictQATAR, Qatar is clearly well advanced in making the principles of WSIS a reality.
Qatar will further its leadership position in bridging the digital divide when it hosts the World Telecommunication Development Conference – 2006 (WTDC-06) in Doha next March. 1,200 top-ranking delegates from government, the private sector and international and regional organizations are expected to attend the conference to consider projects and programmes to support ICT development. WTDC ’06 will give ICTY leaders and opportunity to consider practical ways to achieve the WSIS goal of connecting the world by 2015. The purpose of the Conference in march 2006 is to agree on development priorities in view of the high-level recognition of the Digital Divide between developing and developed nations created by the rapid but uneven expansion of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Another objective of the Conference is to promote international cooperation and partnerships that can sustain and strengthen telecommunication infrastructure and institutions in developing countries.
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