Standardizing Information Society Measurements in the ESCWA Region
Closing the digital divide and bringing the benefits of the Information Society is very important to member countries of the ESCWA region. For policy makers to accurately determine which developmental strategies will be the most effective, promoting comparability and clarity of the measurement model is vital. In order to pursue these goals in the most effective manner possible, it is necessary to define key indicators and develop statistical models which are able to assess the current status, measure the many facets of the information society, and monitor the progress towards realizing it. Determining which key performance indicators will be of greatest value is a difficult exercise, combining many points of data into actionable information. In order to be maximally effective, standardized indicators must be relevant to a wide variety of national circumstances and cultural contexts.
The importance and complexity of this task was highlighted by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the Geneva Plan of Action, called upon all countries and regions to develop tools to provide statistical information on the information society, with basic indicators and analysis of its key dimensions. Priority was to be given to setting up coherent and internationally comparable indicator systems, taking into account different levels of development. Furthermore, the Tunis Agenda stressed that all indices and indicators must take into account different levels of development and national circumstances, and that the further development of these indicators should be undertaken in a collaborative, cost-effective and non-duplicative fashion. As a result the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development was formed to accomplish several of these goals: first, the definition of internationally comparable ICT indicators, together with data collection methodologies; second, to serve as a capacity-building resource for developing countries; third, to create a global database where these indicators can be effectively collected and used.
The meeting uses the work of this partnership as the basis for development. The most recent models pertaining to measuring the Information Society will be discussed. Further, specific models, such as ITU’s ICT Development Index will be taken into consideration. It should be noted, that while these mechanism form the basis for discussion of this meeting, extensive focus on international comparability will be part of the agenda. Individual areas of consideration will include adapting benchmarking thresholds to account for national demographics as well as the appropriate sourcing for data such as population figures and so forth.
The main objective of the EGM is to examine the data collection methodologies and measurement models presently available to the ESCWA region, with particular emphasis on regional and trans-national comparability. The analysis will focus on identifying difficulties in accurately representing context-sensitive, real-world conditions in a measurement model which can be applied at the global, regional and national levels. Issues such as data collection, survey methodology and dimensional analysis will be included as relevant.
The EGM will also aim at providing a platform for sharing experiences and best practices of the participants, discussing the requirements for utilizing available information to create suitable measurement models on a going-forward basis as well as available remedies for identified issues.
Arabic and English are the working languages of the EGM. Simultaneous interpretation between both languages will be provided if needed.
C. Final report