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Workshop on Novel Telecommunication Technologies for Socio-Economic Development - Beirut, 11-13 July 2005

Preliminary information noteDownload in PDF format

ı1.ı Introduction

The Second Regional Preparatory Conference for the World Summit on the Information ıSociety (WSIS) held in Damascus, on the 22nd and 23rd of November 2004, set the stage for regional ıcooperation to close the existing digital divide in ESCWA member countries while involving all ıstakeholders in building an inclusive information society. The Conference was preceded by a ıPartnership Forum, held on 21st of November 2004, which aimed of bringing donors, technical experts ıand beneficiaries together in order to discuss and agree on a number of projects and form partnerships ıfor their implementation. The Conference resulted in the launching of the "Damascus Call - Towards ıPartnership ııfor Building the Arab Information Society," and the "Regional Plan of Action for ııBuilding ıthe Information Society (RPoA)" The RPoA outlines a comprehensive strategic framework that is ıbased on ten key areas, ten partnership programmes and thirty-eight regional projects. The latter ıincluded three projects that were proposed by Alcatel, a world leader in telecommunications and ıInternet technology. These projects ı are:ı

ı•ı Market information systems for agriculture and fishing businesses
ı•ı Partnership space for incubating telecommunications projects
ı•ı Enhanced broadband access through pilot national applications

Acting within its mandate, ESCWA has a key role towards building the information society in ıWestern Asia. In this respect, one important action was the signature on 26 January 2005 of a Letter of ıUnderstanding (LOU) that defines the framework of cooperation between Alcatel and ESCWA. . As a ıresult, ESCWA and Alcatel are organizing a joint workshop in order to promote and launch the above-ıproposed three regional projects.ı

ı2.ı Objectives

This workshop aims at launching concrete actions for the implementation of the three regional projects ıproposed by Alcatel through partnership mechanisms.ı

For this purpose the following immediate objectives are sought from this workshop:ı

ı•ı Regional awareness raising for "Market Information Systems" targeting the farming and ıfishing sectors with the aim to launch one or more pilot projects in the region according to a ıbusiness model that was successful in other developing regions;ı

ı•ı Elaboration of a regional blueprint for broadband deployment with the aim of developing ıbroadband access in the public (connectivity of schools, hospitals, government and local ıgovernance agencies) and private (development of broadband access for business and ıindividuals) sectors;ı

ı•ı Development of added-value applications and services responding to specific local needs ıoffered through mobile networks infrastructure; Alcatel through its regional partnership center ıin Cairo will contribute to this immediate objective through providing guidance and training to ıdevelopers of such applications. ı

ı3.ı Issues

The main issues to be dealt with at this workshop are: ı

ı•ı Enhancing living conditions of rural communities living from agricultural and fishing ıactivities through ICT-based market information systems;ı

ı•ı Increasing the efficiency of educational, health and governmental (national and local) ıinstitutions, improving competitiveness of enterprises, and building citizens’ capabilities ıthrough broadband penetration within the region;ı

ı•ı Improving the service offered by telecom operators and leveraging the benefits of those ıservices for the local socio-economic development through developing applications with high ılocal added-value.ı

ı4.ı Outcomes

ıThe most important outcomes of the workshop will be creating awareness and launching activities for ıimplementing pilot projects pertaining to the following:ı

ı•ı Market Information System (MIS) project:ı
i.ı Raising awareness of success factors and difficulties to overcome in order to ıdevelop MIS projects based on experience acquired by Alcatel and its ıpartners;ı
ii.ı Identification of areas of intervention where MIS could be most helpful for ıthe local economic development of rural communities;ı
iii.ı Identification of stakeholders (representatives of farmers and fishermen ıcommunities, telecom operators, developers of added-value services) willing ıto develop together consortia for pilot experimentation of MIS. ı

ı•ı Broadband project:ı
i.ı Awareness raising regarding the impact of broadband access on telecom ınetwork service provision and the impact on the business model of telecom ıoperators;ı
ii.ı Evaluation of the status of broadband penetration within ESCWA countries ıand of experimentations to provide schools and/or other public institutions ıwith broadband connectivity;ı
iii.ı Gathering of the elements needed to establish national blueprints for ıbroadband deployment with an evaluation of the needed experimentations.ı

ı•ı Partnership Center project:ı
Raising awareness regarding the possibilities offered by the Alcatel partnership ıspace of Cairo to incubate projects related to the development of added-value ıapplications through mobile network operators. ı

ı5.ı Organization

The workshop is jointly organized by Alcatel and ESCWA and will be held in the United Nations ıHouse in Beirut, during 11-13 July 2005. ı

Each project will be introduced by Alcatel, followed by presentations from international and regional ıactors on real case studies and a discussion whose aim is to come up with concrete actions that could ıbe carried out in the short term. ı

Participants are expected to be potential actors, including service providers and beneficiaries, related ıto at least one of the workshop themes. Alcatel and ESCWA will ensure a close follow-up process to ıassist in the materialization of subsequent actions.ı

ı6.ı Participants/registration

Participants from regional development banks, government agencies in charge of ICT for development ıpolicies, telecom operators, service providers and representatives of professional and civil society ıorganizations are invited to attend as potential stakeholders. ı

Pre-registration can be performed by filling and returning the registration form by email to: ı

Mansour Farah farah14@un.org
and Souheil Marine souheil.marine@alcatel.fr

A username and password will be issued for on-line registration to allow updating of information in ıthe participants central database. The login information will be sent to the registrants by email upon ıreceipt of the pre-registration form.ı

A limited number of fellowship grants to attend the workshop are available for participants with ıproven potential to become active partners/stakeholders in one of these projects. Special attention will ıbe given to participants located in least developing/post conflict countries and those with limited ıfinancial means to support their travel and subsistence expenses. The pre-registration form includes a ıfield for applying for fellowship.ı

ı7.ı Language

The working language of the workshop will be English. Therefore, no simultaneous translation from ıArabic to English or vice-versa will be provided during the sessions.ı

ı8.ı Additional Information

Submissions, inquiries and requests for additional information should be addressed to:ı

Mansour Farah
Senior Information Technology Officer & Team leader
ICT Division
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
Email: farah14@un.org
Tel: +961-1-978541ı
Fax: +961-1-981510ı


Souheil Marine
Digital Bridge Manager, France, Africa, Middle East, and South Asia.ı
Alcatel CIT
Email: souheil.marine@alcatel.fr
Tel: +33 1 30 77 81 92ı
Fax: +33 1 30 77 25 50ı

Inquiries regarding logistics, including travel and accommodation,
should be directed to:ı

Sukaina Al-Nasrawi
Research Assistantı
ICT Division
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
Email: al-nasrawi@un.org
Tel: +961-1-978546ı
Fax: +961-1-981510ı