WSIS Champions 2018: ISIF Asia recognized on its 10th anniversary
The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2018 represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. The annual WSIS Forum is a global multi-stakeholder platform facilitating the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines for advancing sustainable development. The Forum provides an opportunity for information exchange, knowledge creation and sharing of best practices, while identifying emerging trends and fostering partnerships, taking into account the evolving Information and Knowledge Societies.
The WSIS Prizes contest, an integral part of the WSIS stocktaking process, serves as a mechanism to evaluate and recognize individuals, governments, civil society, local, regional and international agencies, research institutions and private sector companies for outstanding success in implementing development-oriented strategies that leverage the power of ICTs.
90 Champions of the prestigious WSIS Prizes contest while the 18 Winners, out of these 90 Champions, were recognized at separate ceremonies at the Geneva International Conference Centre today, as part of the annual WSIS Forum 2018. The submission phase which began from 11 September 2017 to 10 January 2018 received a record number of 685 project submissions, out of which 492 exceptional projects were nominated for WSIS Prizes 2018. Close to a million online votes were cast from 29 January till 18 February 2018 for these projects and following a comprehensive review by the Expert Group lead to the selection of 90 extraordinary ICT-related projects and initiatives for the seventh edition of the WSIS Prize contest.
ISIF Asia was recognized among other 4 projects as a Champion on Category 18 for International and Regional Cooperation. The winner on the category was the Internet Society Digital Schools Chapterton. The other Champions on the category are: African fiber optic Backbone Trans-Saharan (BTS); IST-Africa Institute; and the Satellites for Sustainability project from Inmarsat and the UK Space Agency.
We are honored to share the recognition among such distinguished organizations and we remain committed to champion regional and international collaboration around Internet for development.
National Portal Delivers eServices for Bangladesh Citizens
The Government of Bangladesh has made substantial strides towards achieving its long-term Perspective Plan (2010-2021) by introducing the National Portal, or NP, which is primarily intended to serve as an information dissemination mechanism for the population, especially the underserved.
The National Portal’s journey started in 2007 when the government introduced a central portal by way of a preliminary endeavour. In 2010, a countrywide initiative was undertaken to introduce portals for all of the country’s 64 districts. Based on the lessons learned from these experiences, the ‘Guidelines on Content Preparation’ and ‘Training Guidelines’ on the same subject were prepared to widen the portals’ scope and reach.
Subsequently, some 22,000 government officials were trained on developing and maintaining the Portal, which created an enabling environment to further advance the effort. Finally, in 2013 and 2014, some 25,000+ websites, adhering to a common architecture, design, and structure in terms of their contents, were integrated within the National Portal and introduced in all tiers of public offices (Union Parishad, the lowest tier of local government, Upazila or Sub-district, district, division, directorate and ministries).
In the new National Portal, citizens are finding a convenient channel for obtaining information from public offices at lower cost and with less hassle. The Portal is also mobile-friendly, thereby ensuring greater access to information since the country enjoys over 70 per cent mobile penetration, with over 80 per cent of Internet access happening over mobile phones. Citizens who are unable to access the websites directly can go to the nearest digital centre, of which there are some 5000+ countrywide.
It is worth noting here that there are complementary initiatives in progress to upgrade the Portal further so that it can host all electronic versions of government services. Mobile applications are also being developed to make it easily accessible to persons with disabilities.
At present, some 100+ services (selected on the basis of importance and public demand), including online passport applications and electricity bill payments, have already been incorporated, and more services will soon be fully automated and provided via the Portal further to a mandatory government directive that will shortly be coming into effect.
Complied from WSIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2015