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[ossig] FOSS Movement Voices Heard-We are now one voice: The Global FOSS Movement has been officially announced at the WSIS 2005




UNIDO and UNDP Help SMEs and NGOs Narrow Information Divide at WSIS

Tunis, 18 November 2005 – ICT access and applications have come a step 
closer for small- and medium enterprises (SMEs) and non-governmental 
organizations (NGOs) here this week. As the focus of the joint United 
Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)-United Nations 
Development Programme (UNDP) initiative “Sharing the Future”, during 
the World Summit on the Information Society (15-19 November 2005), 21 
SMEs from private industry and 60 NGOs—representing a total of 60 
countries worldwide—were able to claim a larger stake in the global 
information society. 

SMEs, for example, held some 475 one-to-one negotiations with 
potential Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) partners, 
of which more than 100 are likely to lead to formal working 
relationships. In addition, three memoranda of understanding are 
expected to be signed here before the end of the World Summit.

Cross-fertilization has characterized this joint initiative, with 28 
NGOs and ten SMEs forging closer cooperation in the context 
of “Sharing the Future”. South-South partnership opportunities were 
explored by participating NGOs, who committed themselves to an ongoing 
exchange of knowledge and potential expansion of joint activities. 
Nine NGOs have already formulated the “Global Movement for Promoting 
the Free and Open Source Software”, which has attracted the support, 
in principle, of a number of other international development and donor 

As part of the Summit’s parallel ICT4all exhibition, the UNIDO/UNDP 
initiative has presented the hands-on experience of ICT for industry 
and sustainable development from the perspective of these two key 
players in the development challenge.

The Summit’s action plan emphasizes ICT as a means to bridge the 
poverty gap, a tool to achieve sustainable development and to build an 
inclusive information society based on effective partnerships. 
During “Sharing the Future”, these private-sector SMEs have been 
joined by NGOs from developing countries, and particularly least 
developed countries, to give a practical perspective on the challenges 
they face in entering the information highway as well as to seek 
partnerships in e-business for industry and exchange views on the 
creative use of ICT.

In the context of applying ICT to achieve the Millennium Development 
Goals, UNIDO and UNDP organized three workshops and two high level 
panels, as part of “Sharing the Future”, to pinpoint the particular 
ICT challenges confronting SMEs and NGOs. These include the need to 
progress through three fundamental ICT stages: from computer literacy 
through informative literacy to knowledge literacy. The dimensions of 
the ICT-for-development challenge were identified at a variety of 
levels: individual e-learning; social inclusion in ICT; national e-
governance; regional e-networks; industrial e-business and global 
Internet citizenship.
Participants have also had the opportunity to tap the experience of 
experts presenting cutting edge ICT products in support of development 
including demonstration of the $100 OLPC (One laptop per child) 
initiative, developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology to be 
implemented in partnership with UNDP. 

“Sharing the Future” has been supported by the Governments of the 
Netherlands and Tunisia.

More information is available at: www.unido.org/wsis

Note for editors

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is a 
specialized agency of the United Nations that focuses its efforts on 
relieving poverty by fostering productivity growth. It helps 
developing countries and countries with economies in transition in 
their fight against marginalization in today’s globalized world. UNIDO 
promotes sustainable industrial development by mobilizing knowledge, 
skills, information and technology. The Organization has 171 member 
states. For more information, please visit www.unido.org.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN's global 
development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to 
knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better 
life. UNDP helps developing countries attract and use aid effectively 
and integrates information and communications technology for 
development into its work in democratic governance and poverty 
reduction. UNDP promotes the protection of human rights and the 
empowerment of women. For more information, please visit www.undp.org.

Contact for further information:
Hans Pruim, UNIDO, Vienna
Tel.: +43 1 26026 4755
E-mail: h.pruim@unido.org or wsis@unido.org

Maria Orfanidou, UNDP Tunis
Tel.: +216 71 564 011 (ext. 215)
E-mail: maria.orfanidou@undp.org

   Fouad Riaz Bajwa
   General Secretary 
   FOSSFP: Free & Open Source Software Foundation of Pakistan
   Tel: ++923334661290
   URL: www.fossfp.org
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