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The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) held in Geneva (2003) and Tunis (2005) brought together governments, civil society and the business sector to discuss a broad range of subjects related to ICT for development. In the end, governments agreed on a set of commitments and actions to foster the establishment of an inclusive information society. In particular, ten targets were identified in the Geneva Plan of Action, along with numerous recommendations based on different action lines (Acti on Lines C1 – C11). The targets, to be achieved by 2015, are:

1. To connect villages with ICTs and establish community access points

2. To connect universiti es, colleges, secondary schools and primary schools with ICTs

3. To connect scientifi c and research centres with ICTs

4. To connect public libraries, cultural centres, museums, post offi ces and archives with ICTs

5. To connect health centres and hospitals with ICTs

6. To connect all local and central government departments and establish websites and e-mail addresses

7. To adapt all primary and secondary school curricula to meet the challenges of the informati on society, taking into account nati onal circumstances

8. To ensure that all of the world’s populati on has access to television and radio services

9. To encourage the development of content and put in place technical conditi ons in order to facilitate the presence and use of all world languages on the Internet 10. To ensure that more than half the world’s inhabitants have access to ICTs within their reach

The year 2010 marks the midpoint between the Tunis phase of WSIS (2005) and the deadline for achieving the WSIS targets (2015), in line with the target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report presents a mid-term review of the progress made towards achieving the ten WSIS targets. The overall objective of the report is to provide policy-makers with a comprehensive assessment of the WSIS targets to date and, based on the findings, make suggestions on the types of policy measures required to meet them. The report also highlights the need for formal monitoring of progress towards achieving the WSIS targets. Currently, there are no agreed indicators for the targets which countries could use for monitoring purposes.

The WSIS outcome documents make reference to quantitative review, monitoring and evaluation of progress. The Geneva Plan of Acti on calls for the establishment of comparable indicators, and the Tunis Agenda provides suggestions related to the “periodic evaluati on” of the WSIS outcomes. In particular, it acknowledges the efforts of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development (hereinafter referred to as the Partnership) to develop a core list of ICT indicators and to build stati sti cal capability in developing countries in order to monitor their evolution towards becoming information societies. It also requests the United Nations General Assembly to make an overall review of the implementation of the WSIS outcomes in 2015.

Although some stakeholders, notably the members of the Partnership, have addressed the important task of monitoring progress, the WSIS targets are very broad and cover areas which go beyond the Partnership’s core list and which are parti cularly challenging to measure and compare internati onally. The report reviews these challenges and proposes quanti tati ve indicators for monitoring the targets, along the lines of the internati onally agreed indicators used for tracking the MDGs.

Download the report here.