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A UNESCO meeting in Paris reviewing progress since the landmark World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva 2003 has urged further research and debate on the ethical challenges of information and communication technologies. A delegation was among the 800 delegates at the 25-27 February UNESCO WSIS +10 review meeting.

Heads of UNESCO, WTO, UNCTAD, ICANN, WIPOWSIS – which met in two sessions in Geneva (2003) and Tunis (2005) – aimed to promote access to information and knowledge through new communications technologies and to tackle the digital divide separating the northern hemisphere from the global South.

The recommendations of the Paris meeting will feed into further United Nations deliberations on WSIS and into follow-up plans for the Millennium Development Goals. The UNESCO meeting brought together participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs, intergovernmental organisations and other groups.

Recommendations from the meeting included the need to:
• encourage international and interdisciplinary reflection and debate on the ethical challenges of emerging technologies and the information society;
• facilitate the open access to scientific information in all parts of the world, especially in least developed countries;
• encourage research and facilitate frameworks to favour open access to information and knowledge while respecting intellectual property rights;
• recognise the importance of maintaining an open Internet based on open standards development processes.

In the coming months, will provide input into the WSIS+10 review process, focussing in particular on the ethical challenges of the information society, and the ability for all to access and contribute information, ideas and knowledge within an inclusive information society.

The idea for building emerged during WSIS in 2003. Representatives from the global South identified the need to strengthen ethical institutions, especially in developing and transition countries, through strengthening the production and dissemination of, and access to, information and knowledge using information and communication technologies. This led to the creation of the Global Digital Library on Ethics, as well as the networking and workgroup facilities of

The delegation included Christoph Stückelberger, Executive Director, Stephen Brown, Programme Executive Theological Library and John Miller, Senior Librarian African Law Library.

Further information about the UNESCO WSIS +10 event: