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UNESCO’s Executive Board acts on progress report of Internet-issues study

UNESCO’s Executive Board this week considered progress on UNESCO’s Internet-issues study and decided to recommend the Outcome Document adopted by multistakeholder participants of the CONNECTing the Dots: Options for Future Action Conference.

The Board also called for the conference Outcome Document to be forwarded to the UN General Assembly as part of the overall World Summit on the Information Society review process, and as a non-binding input to the post-2015 development agenda.

Their decision further appreciated the “open, inclusive and transparent process that UNESCO had engaged in” and recognized the insights of the CONNECTing the Dots conference. 

The conference was organised specifically to review the draft of a comprehensive study on Internet-related issues and options for future action requested by UNESCO’s 195 member states during its 37th General Conference in 2013.

The draft study covered the four fields of (i) Access to Knowledge and Information, (ii) Freedom of Expression, (iii) Privacy, and (iv) Ethics of the Information Society, and proposed options for future action related to these fields.

It was based on extensive global consultations with civil society, academia, the technical community, private sector and Member States during a year and a half long deliberation process, encompassing outreach at 20 international and regional conferences and 200 online submissions to an open questionnaire launched by UNESCO.

These results were recognized in the conference Outcome Document, where the multistakeholder community commended UNESCO’s work in regard to 38 possible options for future action, and looked forward to UNESCO Member States deliberations on these.

The finalized Study will be published in advance of the General Conference of UNESCO’s 195 Member States in November, and will be reported upon as part of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society.