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The G8 committed itself to creating a Digital Opportunities Task Force (DOT Force), based on the Okinawa Charter on Global Information Society, to investigate the “digital divide” in the developing world and report its findings and recommendations at the next G8 meeting in Genoa, Italy.
We agree to establish a Digital Opportunity Taskforce (dot force) with a view to integrating our efforts into a broader international approach. To this end, the dot force will convene as soon as possible to explore how best to secure participation of stakeholders.
DOT Force Report
The DOT report focused on the following areas:
In May 2001, the final DOT Force report, Digital Opportunities for All: Meeting the Challenge, was released to G8 Sherpas and over the Internet in May 2001 and included a proposal for a Genoa plan of action. The plan of action outlined nine initiatives:
Structure of DOT Force
The DOT Force is composed of members from government, business and civil society sectors of the G8 and participants from developed and developing countries. Additional members include the World Economic Forum, Global Business Dialogue, and the Global Information Infrastructure Commission.
The DOT Force is supported by a Secretariat located in the World Bank and is jointly staffed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank.
All DOT Force meetings are attended by one government and one private sector representative from each G8 country (and one from the European Commission), representatives from developing countries, and non-profit organizations.
First Meeting of the DOT Force (November 27 and 28, 2000) - Tokyo, Japan
Discussions centred on the stocktaking of the current situation of the international digital divide and the future work schedule of the DOT Force.
Second Meeting of the DOT Force (March 1 and 2, 2001) - Cape Town, South Africa
Draft report of the DOT Force released over the Internet: Global Bridges, Digital Opportunities.
Key recommendations included:
Third DOT Force Meeting (April 23 and 24) - Siena, Italy
A draft report of the DOT force, Digital Opportunities for All: Meeting the Challenge, version 3.0 completed and released over the Internet.
Proposal for a Genoa Plan of Action was discussed.
Follow-up to the Plan of Action was also discussed but no conclusion was reached.
OECD Dubai Emerging Market Economy Forum on E-Commerce (January 18, 2001) – Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
DSE Policy Forum on “Digital Inclusion” (January 23-24, 2001) – Berlin, Germany.
World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (January 29, 2001) – Davos, Switzerland.
IDSC/Egyptian Cabinet Conference on E-Business and Development (February 12-15, 2001) – Cairo, Egypt.
Third Global Forum (March 14-17, 2001) – Naples, Italy.
Following the Okinawa Charter on Global Information Society, many countries initiated general discussions and policies surrounding the digital divide and ICT. While these activities addressed the digital divide, the compliance section will focus exclusively on initiatives G8 countries pursued that relate directly to the DOT Force report.
In addition to specific country initiatives, compliance also included attending the DOT Force meetings and submitting comments on the DOT Force drafts. As all G8 members fulfilled these requirements, their actions will not be included in the main body of this section.
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Industry Canada, and Bellnet created a Canadian Civil Society Consultation website to discuss the DOT Force initiative.
EU Representatives attended DOT Force meetings.
The French government requested VECAM (a non-profit organization) to create a forum to generate debate among the non-governmental organization (NGO) sector and other interested participants surrounding the DOT-Force.
VECAM created a website where all relevant DOT Force documents are archived as well as organized consultations with French civil society organizations.
In February 2001, the ZEF Centre for Development Research, Bonn University, organized a consultative workshop on the DOT Force for NGOs and think tanks in Bonn.
A report was prepared following the workshop: Priorities and Proposed Actions for the G8 DOT Force: NGO and Think Tank Perspectives.
Italian authorities organized a series of national consultations surrounding the digital divide and DOT Force.
In February 2001, the Centre for Global Communications (GLOCOM), International University of Japan, established a consultation committee with experts from academia, research institutions, industry, and public third sector non-profit organizations in Japan.
GLOCOM facilitated outreach and consultations among the Japanese Non-Profit Organization (NPO) community, and was a conduit for information to and from DOT Force and interested participants. GLOCOM also conducted outreach and consultations with experts in the Asia and Pacific region.
In April 2001, GLOCOM co-hosted a session on DOT Force and related issues at the Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Russia established a DOT Force website that highlights information about digital divide activities in Russia.
The United Kingdom established a DOT Force website that highlights information about DOT Force activities in the UK.
In January 2001, an informal DOT Force consultative event was held at 10 Downing Street.
In February 2001, the UK DOT Force hosted a meeting with private sector companies to discuss the DOT Force and how the UK might help to close the digital divide.
In February 2001, the Markle Foundation and Hewlett Packard hosted a meeting with the private and non-profit sector to advance US thinking on the DOT force and ICT. A summary of discussion was submitted to the DOT Force secretariat on February 23, 2001.
The Markle Foundation sponsored the Digital Opportunity (DIGOPP) Online Working Group on February 12 - April 20, 2001, that examined the relationship between digital divide issues and development policies, poverty reduction and reduction of inequalities at the global level.
Prepared by: Jason Wong, University of Toronto G8 Research Group, June 2001.
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