On 15 January 2020, the Internet Universality Indicators (IUIs) assessment was officially launched in Tunisia, breaking ground by making Tunisia the first country in the Arab region to initiate this assessment at national level. The launch was convened on the occasion of the first meeting of Tunisian Multi-stakeholder Advisory Board (MAB), participated by 11 prominent members of the Board.
“The Tunisian MAB endorsed the use of UNESCO’s Internet Universality Indicators and the proposed methodology for the assessment in Tunisia and encouraged all other concerned stakeholders, on a voluntary basis, to support the national assessment of Internet development in Tunisia with the Internet Universality Indicators. Such engagement is crucial to formulating and implementing UNESCO recommendations that can help improve Internet development in the country”, said Ms. Golda El-Khoury, Director & Representative - UNESCO Cluster office for the Maghreb.
The launch event highlighted the role of the newly created MAB, responsible for overseeing the research process through a truly inclusive and multi-stakeholder manner. The 11 MAB members are leading experts representing different groups and government branches including the Ministry of Communication Technologies and Digital Economy, the High Independent Authority of Audiovisual Communication (HAICA), the National Agency for Information Security (ANSI), Access Now, the Research and Studies Telecommunications Centre (CERT), University of Sfax, Forum DSI, and the National Telecom Regulator in Tunisia (INTT).
UNESCO staff Nejib Mokni presented an overview of UNESCO’s IUI project. Ms Karima Mahmoudi, Director at INTT and Ms Wafa Ben Hassine, UNESCO commissioned consultant, presented the assessment process conducted by the National Telecom Regulator of Tunisia (INTT) who is the leading national organization, the data collection, and methodology in Tunisia. They discussed the methodology suggested for the assessment of the IUIs in Tunisia, which was the main objective of this first meeting.
In their presentation on the progress of IUIs in Tunisia, they also described the process, and explored some of the challenges faced including “some data which availability was still unclear,” and policies in development that may affect the applicability of the indicators.
After the presentation, a discussion was held during which board members expressed their views on the topic presented and shared some of their own reports and statistics. By participating in the meeting and helping with the process from data collection to methodology, members have shown interest and enthusiasm in the process.
The Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators framework is a set of 303 indicators that aims to assess how well national stakeholders including governments, companies and civil society perform in adhering to the ROAM standards of Rights, Openness, Accessiblity, Multistakeholder participation. Developed over a three-year process of global and inclusive consultations with stakeholders, it was endorsed in November 2018 by the 31st Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC). Since then, UNESCO has been working with stakeholders and encouraging more countries to implement national assessments of Internet development using the Indicators.
The first assessment of Internet Universality indicators was completed in Brazil and has been published by UNESCO as the first edition of the newly created Series of National Assessment of Internet Universality Indicators.