The UAE is represented by some of its most influential organizations and significant governmental departments and offices, including the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) at the World Summit of the Information Society Forum 2012 taking place from May 14-18, in Geneva, Switzerland. The event is organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Conference of Trade & Development (UNCTAD).
An international summit that convenes like-minded organizations and institutions around the world, the WSIS aims to bridge the digital gap globally by tasking member nations with the responsibility to develop institutions, infrastructure and regulations that will allow all members of the community the opportunity to partake in the information society.
As the strategic partner for the event, the UAE has the distinction of participating in the opening ceremony of the Forum to deliver a keynote address. Speaking on behalf of the UAE, HE Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA Director General and Chairman of the WSIS National Committee for the country commented on its strategic partnership, “The UAE has proven its dedication to the objectives of the WSIS through its second consecutive strategic partnership of this summit. The commitment to this agenda is further evidenced by the initiatives we have undertaken to achieve and implement these action lines stipulated by the WSIS.” The WSIS has defined a host of action lines that each nation endeavors to implement in order to bring about social inclusion and harmony, environmental benefits, higher security measures related to cyber security, humanitarian efforts, education, and ICT infrastructural developments. The year 2015 marks the global review that each nation will undergo by the ITU to assess the achievements and progression that has been made for each of these defined action lines.
The UAE will discuss several of its achievements highlighting its successful developments related to eGovernment, Emirates Identity Authority, and educational initiatives such as Ankabut. These topics will be covered in two Thematic sessions and a Country workshop respectively. Other significant achievements by the country include the Hamdan bin Mohammed eUniversity (HBMeU); environmental and society related achievements through Etisalat and du; cyber security and overall security with the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) Partnership and “Tawajudi” service for UAE nationals, the humanitarian work of Dubai Cares, and many other implementations covering the full scope of the WSIS action lines. Through the national efforts, the country’s ranking was elevated from the 99th place on the eGovernment service index in 2010 to 7th rank on the same index for 2012. On the eParticipation Index, referring to the adoption of government services by customers and users, the UAE’s level increased from the 86th rank worldwide in 2010 to 6th rank in the report of 2012.
“We had established our own UAE WSIS National Committee as a result of the implicit understanding of the task that was laid before us; its purpose is to track and support the work towards implementing the WSIS action lines. The formulation of this committee and its overall function has been a great tool and resource for the country. The UAE has accomplished many milestones with regard to many different action lines related to education, infrastructure, society, security, capacity building, and so on. As evident from our elevated ranking as compared to just two years ago, we have made truly remarkable strides to increase our services in eGovernment. The world has taken notice of this achievement, and we look forward to maintaining our strong foothold among our international peers,” HE Al Ghanim concluded.
The UAE will further enhance its cooperation relationships and exchanging expertise and knowledge with its international peer countries, entities and organizations through VIP dialogues throughout the event as well as through a high level lunch sponsored by the UAE in the First day of the forum.
The WSIS Forum 2012 will also extend awards to the most successful project implementations with regard to the action lines. This award will not only serve the purpose of highlighting the achievements of the victors, but will also allow other participating nations and member organizations to benchmark those success stories and develop their own successful outcomes.
The overall premise behind the WSIS is to bridge the digital and knowledge divide that separates wealthy nations and developing nations. One of its principle aims is to augment the living conditions, infrastructure, and opportunities through ICT related developments to lesser developed countries in order to create a society that includes a greater proportion of the community on a worldwide scale.