ANSI - American National Standards Institute
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Bucharest Conference to Address International Standards and Policy in the Information Society

New York, Nov 01, 2002

An emerging international concept of "the information society" - where telecommunications, broadcasting multimedia and information and communication technologies play a central role - promises to have important effects on international standards. Because the information society has political, economic, social and cultural consequences, it becomes clear that international standards must fit into an efficient and coordinated framework of technologies that is supported by harmonized global policy providing access and participation for all, regardless of borders, gender considerations or social distinctions.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) released updated information on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Pan European Regional Conference to be held in Bucharest on November 7-9, 2002. A result of several key resolutions produced by the International Telecommunications Union Standardization Department (ITU) and the United Nations (UN), the World Summit on the Information Society is intended to provide an opportunity for key stakeholders to assemble at a high-level gathering and develop a better understanding of the information society and its impact on the international community, and ultimately produce "an action plan to lay out a roadmap to bridge the digital divide." The World Summit will be held in two phases, with the first taking place in Geneva, Switzerland in 2003 and the second phase in Tunis, Tunisia in 2005.

The conference in Bucharest is one of several preparatory Regional Conferences prior to the two phases of the World Summit. Tasks of the Regional Conferences include conducting regional assessments of relevant challenges, opportunities and constraints, and developing a plan for an information-based society in the respective region and a strategy to achieve that vision. Organized with the support of ITU and UN/ECE, the Bucharest event will comprise a wide range of meetings, plenary sessions, seminars, round tables and presentations. On November 8, a session entitled "Defining the Information Society," will discuss the role of open and global standards for achieving an inclusive information society. Mr. Oliver Smoot, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) chairman and 2002 ISO president-elect, has been invited to speak at the conference.

"In today's rapidly developing society, international standards play a greater role in helping to maximize the benefits of information and communication technologies for developing countries," said Smoot.

ISO, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the International Telecommunications Union Standardization Department (ITU-T), and the United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Europe have agreed to work together to support WSIS efforts to raise awareness about the contributions that international standards can make to the information society. With a common aim and vision - to provide an environment in which all key international organizations can cooperate and contribute to the delivery and promotion of an evolving set of standards for electronic business - the four organizations have committed themselves, through a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to avoid divergent and competitive approaches, to eliminate duplicative efforts, to provide a clear roadmap for users, and to ensure coherence.

For more information on the Pan European Regional conference, please click here.