27 September 2005 - Reintroduce cultural diversity

Cultural diversity and Indigenous caucus have called for the reintroduction of culture diversity in the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) process.


It should be observed that all women and men delegates to the WSIS PrepCom III have a culture which makes the issue of cultural diversities an issue for everyone.


Under the implementation as an operational part of the cultural diversity and indigenous caucuses, it was suggested that efforts should be made to utilize successful approaches to inclusion of indigenous peoples, gender mainstreaming, promotion of cultural diversity, in order to bridge the digital divide, reduce technological dependence and rural poverty.


Issues affecting both men and women in the world’s cultural diversities and indigenous societies continue to be side lined in the WSIS process.


Analysing the WSIS process it may be noticed how definitions and actions on cultural diversity were gradually being left aside. Texts aimed at the promotion of cultural diversity included in the WSIS declaration of Principles were lost amidst the fulfilment process of these general goals both at global level, Geneva Plan of Action 2 as in the Regional Action Plans 3.


The caucus observed that that there has been neither real interest nor conviction within the WSIS process of the importance of considering cultural diversity as an essential focal point for building an equitable information society and knowledge society. While some countries never agreed to and systematically opposed this perspective, others have been neglectful in defending their citizen’s rights.


Governments and private companies as main protagonists and citizens as consumers of contents and technologies. In May papers on the WSIS process there is no reference to cultural diversity and triumphs the reductionist idea that the solution to the digital divide lies increasing connectivity. At the same time, it is stressed that the only important thing is the development of infrastructure and the need of enabling environments, which may eliminate barriers to investment in the communications sector 4.


Cultural diversity is one of the main concerns of indigenous peoples regarding the evolving information society. For indigenous peoples, the promotion and protection of cultural diversity means to be able to shape their future without risking losing their cultural identity. Knowledge, information, communication and information communication technologies (ICTs) the core elements of the information society are culturally defines concepts and technical expressions originating from non indigenous world.


Indigenous peoples have their won approaches, protocols and proceedings with a view to sharing, disseminating and communicating knowledge and information. Thus it is vital for indigenous peoples to develop culturally appropriate ICT applications and content that balso reflect their modes of communication.


ICT use among the indigenous peoples should aim to strengthen indigenous cultures while increasing the quality of their lives as Kenenth Deer and Ann Kritin Hakansson from the indigenous Media network proposes.

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