Standardizing Information Society Measurements in the ESCWA Region Skip to main content

Standardizing Information Society Measurements in the ESCWA Region

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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.