Bucharest Conference: Portugal underlines importance of Information Society in Democracy

Application of new technologies to democracy and good governance, translated by the concept "Best Democracy, Better Government", are the two key ideas of the Portuguese delegation representative's speech, Diogo Vasconcelos, presented in the Bucharest Pan European Regional Inter-ministerial Conference, which met between 7 and 9 November, within the scope of the preparatory process of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

The Portuguese speech, with the title "Better Government, Digital Cities and Innovation", within the scope of the "Ministerial Debate on Policies", has also focused on the "Digital Cities Programme", oriented to the creation of competitiveness and innovation platforms - currently in application by the national government - as well as "info-inclusion approximation", with the promotion of multi-linguistic and cultural contents, skills for everyone, special provisions for disabled people and accessible broadband, based on an environment of living competitiveness in the telecommunications industry.  The Portuguese contribution finishes by recommending WSIS to focus on the Citizen, as the core and main actor of a universal and accessible Information Society.

The Conference final result, the "Bucharest Statement", is mainly composed of two parts, respectively related to e-Inclusion and e-Strategies.

The e-Inclusion chapter, on the subject "A vision of an Information Society beneficial for everyone", integrates 7 principles, of which the three first ones are of general nature - "to ensure the access to information and knowledge", "to promote universal access at affordable costs" and "to promote linguistic diversity and cultural identity" -, followed by a transition principle for more technical subjects: "to develop human skills through education and training".

The two following principles have mainly a technical nature: "to build a favourable environment, including legal, regulatory and political frameworks" and "to build trust and safety in the use of Information and Communication Technologies (TIC)".

This set of principles is closed with generalization aiming at "dealing with global subjects", including exchange of national and regional experiences, transfer of technology and other developing approaches.

The second part of the Bucharest Statement - e-Strategies - establishes the priority of essential themes for the future strategic development:

: more efficient and liable;
E-Business: more competitiveness and better jobs;
E-Society: broader local contents and applications;
E-Learning and E-Education: better skilled people.

The "Bucharest Statement" constitutes the regional contribution for the WSIS preparatory process. The second preparatory meeting (PrepCom2) will be held between 17 and 28 February, in Geneva, Switzerland. In turn, the World Summit on the Information Society first phase will be held also in Geneva, in December 2003, and the second and final phase in Tunes, Tunisia, in 2005.

See also:

Further information: