The Capacity-building Workshop on Information Society Measurement: Core Indicators, Statistics, and Data Collection
The Capacity-building Workshop on Information Society Measurement: Core Indicators, Statistics, and Data Collection (Beirut, 7-10 June 2005) was organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Arab Regional Office and the Arab Institute for Training and Research in Statistics (AITRS). The Workshop was the first on building the capacity for statistical measurement of the information society in Western Asia and the Arab region. Moreover, it represents the first of a series of capacity-building workshops planned by the United Nations regional commissions, leading to the Tunis phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). The Workshop focused on developing capacity in terms of defining, adopting and collecting information and communication technology (ICT) indicators in Arab countries. Within that context, the Workshop considered the definitions and data collection methodologies of core ICT indicators in a number of areas and sectors, including infrastructure, access, household, individual, business and ICTs. Techniques and recommendations for the design of model questionnaires and surveys aimed at collecting ICT statistics were also considered. The ESCWA Statistical Information System (ESIS) was demonstrated, and its application was discussed with regard to capacity-building endeavours for both ESCWA sub-programmes and ESCWA member countries. The Workshop provided a forum for disseminating case studies, thereby highlighting the successes and challenges of countries engaged in building capacity in indicator collection. The sharing of relevant information by Egypt, Iraq, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar and Tunisia provided practical insight into actual needs of Arab countries, and helped identify the critical dimensions and recommended actions for capacity-building planning in Western Asia and the Arab region. The recommended actions form a capacity-building plan for stakeholders in order to promote the adoption and collection of core ICT indicators in support of policymaking at both the national and regional levels. The capacitybuilding plan is an ESCWA contribution aimed at fulfilling the mandate of the global “Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development”, which in turn seeks to enhance the capacities of national statistical offices (NSOs) in developing countries and to build competences to develop statistical compilation programmes on the information society, based on international indicators.