Since the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, the DOT Force has made impressive progress in meeting its commitment to implement the Genoa Plan of Action. This Plan identified nine priority areas, each assigned to a separate team, to be addressed in order for the DOT Force to be judged as fulfilling its mandate. For the Kananaskis Summit, a DOT Force Report Card was published that outlined the achievements of the DOT Force as well as the proposed initiatives for bridging the Digital Divide.
The development of these initiatives was based on an elaborate balance between multiple levels of government and civil society, and between the public and private sectors. For instance, the proposed DOT Force Entrepreneurial Network (DFEN) is rooted in a partnership of public, private and civil society organizations that is led by the private sector. In another example, the E-Government for Development initiative was launched and championed by the Government of Italy, in association with the private sector and civil society. In addition, the DOT Force Report Card clearly articulated that e-Readiness in developing countries must be preceded by the development of national e-Strategies. To further implement these strategies, there must first be an investment in electronic infrastructure, consisting of e-Governance capabilities, regulatory standards, skills development, entrepreneurship and several other components. To this end, the DOT Force has proposed several initiatives, to be pursued multilaterally or through implementation at a national level, that target this kind of infrastructural investment. In addition to DFEN and E-Government for Development mentioned above, the DOT Force has proposed the establishment of an International e-Development Resource Network (IeDRN), which will facilitate the supply of regulatory, policy and strategy expertise from both North and South. The proposed Open Knowledge Network (OKN) would facilitate the dissemination of local information to regional or international access points. Public Health information, especially on HIV/AIDS, forms a key component of the content to be disseminated to areas without ready access medical textbooks. To meet this objective, the DOT Force has established The Health InterNetwork to provide health care workers access to accurate information on public health. These are only a few of the deliverables outlined in the Report Card. For more information, this document is available at http://www.dotforce.org.
The Kananaskis Summit also produced a natural synergy between DOT Force objectives and those of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). Several initiatives were outlined that focused on meeting this continent's special needs. Among these is ADEN, a US$6.5 million project by the Government of France to set up a network of Internet community access points in Africa, and the CAR Project, in which Edu-Telecentres will be established in Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.
With the operational framework in place, the G8-led DOT Force has begun the work of concrete implementation, including making fiscal investments and distributions to bridge the digital divide. Based on its following through on implementation of the Genoa Action Plan, defining special e-Government initiatives, and adapting its recommendations to harmonize with the G8 Summit's other themes (ie. Africa), a grade of A is warranted for judging G8 performance in this issue area.
Prepared by Robert Bacinski, Ryan B. Lavallee and Andrew Morgan
University of Toronto G8 Research Group
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