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December 03, 2003

e-Evaluation. As if WSIS didn't have enough problems, civil society and private sector representatives are starting to question the role of communication technology in development. Speaking this week to representatives of the UK delegation, Daily Summit was surprised at the frustration felt at the lack of evidence proving the information society benefits places where even electricity is hard to come by.

The problem of evaluation is unlikely to be solved in the short-term, but media coverage in advance of the summit is illustrating real world appplications of these technologies. The BBC (more below), is looking at tangible benefits of both the serious and social aspects of the new society, while the summit organisers are working to gain publicity for successful real-world projects. But ungrounded talk of one-off applications of technology preaches only to the converted - will WSIS be the point where the technology industry realises that the rest of the world needs cold, hard facts?

Aaron Scullion @ December 3, 2003 12:40 PM | TrackBack

Comments (2)
Later this week the World Bank InfoDev will come out with a rather long background study on poverty and ICT by Kerry McNamara that addresses this issue.

It's not just the technology industry but also the development industry that must provide facts, or better yet rigorous evaluations.
Steve Cisler @ December 3, 2003 01:38 PM
It's the failures of the infrastructures that are the root of most issues that will be looked in on at the WSIS. The problem is that nobody seems to want to admit that they have these infrastructure problems, and perhaps that is because of who are representing the involved countries.

Even in countries without running water and electricity, people who have these things - who benefit from the present infrastructure of their country - are the 'stakeholders', instead of the people without running water, electricity, and so on. That's a bit of a performance contradiction in countries where, to get these commodities/necessities, jobs with the government are the way to get a hold of running water and electricity.

Sadly, the WSIS won't address these facts and the UN's work in these areas has been less than stellar where the rubber meets the road. Of course, statistics may prove that they were successful - but how many times have these statisticians hiked through areas of the 'have-nots'?
Taran @ December 3, 2003 03:27 PM

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