Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force) and Nonprofit Organizations
By GLOCOM - Japanese NPO Representative
What is DOT Force
At the G8 Kyushu-Okinawa Summit in July 2000 leaders of the major industrialized countries focused on the impact of information technologies and the growing challenges and risks of a global "digital divide". The Okinawa Charter on the Global Information Society detailed these challenges and called for the creation of a Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force) to look into activities aimed at eliminating this threat to global development. It is chartered to complete a report and recommendations to be submitted to the G8 head of states at the next G8 Summit to be held in July in Italy this year.
The DOT Force is composed of members from public, private and not-for-profit (NPO) sectors of the G8 countries, some international inter-governmental organizations, a secretariat run by the World Bank and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Nine developing nations have been invited to participate and are represented with single "seat" held by their government: Bolivia, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania.
The first plenary meeting of DOT Force was held on November 27, 2000 in Tokyo. There have been two further plenary meetings, one in Cape Town, South Africa, March 1-2, where the draft report was reviewed, and a final preparation meeting was convened in Sienna, Italy, April 23-24. The Sienna meeting finalized the draft report and created a "plan of action" for submission to the G8 countries in time for their annual meeting to be held in Genoa, Italy in July 20-22, 2001.
DOT Force Program of Work
The Okinawa Charter on the Global Information Society, planning meetings and the first DOT Force plenary meeting all emphasized the importance of a broad, participatory approach to all DOT Force's activities, and the international NPO community has been invited to play a full role in this G8 work. Through a series of formal plenary meetings, informal meetings, and public consultations, the DOT Force will prepare a report with concrete recommendations on how the G8 can contribute to creating digital opportunity for all and bridging the global digital divide.
Japanese NPOs, GLOCOM and DOT Force
In December 2000, Mr. Yoshiji Nogami, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs appointed Dr. Shumpei Kumon, Executive Director of the Center for Global Communications (GLOCOM), International University of Japan as the Japanese NPO member of DOT Force.
In February, GLOCOM established a consultation committee with experts from academia, research institutions, and industry and public third sector non-profit organizations in Japan. As the consultation committee's secretariat, GLOCOM will facilitate outreach and consultations among the Japanese NPO community, and be a conduit for information to and from DOT Force and interested participants. GLOCOM will also conduct outreach and consultations with experts in the Asia and Pacific region.
The goal of the consultation process is to provide inputs into the DOT Force deliberations. The Japanese NPO consultation committee will coordinate the consultation process in Japan, and to the extent possible, in the Asian and Pacific region.
Themes and questions
The Tokyo plenary meeting identified four major themes for the DOT Force work:
- Policy and regulatory frameworks;
- Infrastructure and access to ICTs;
- Knowledge and human capital, and
- Locally relevant, sustainable applications
And DOT Force suggested that consultations consider these themes against a set of indicative questions addressing three general areas:
1. About our current knowledge and what more we need to know about
- the impact of ICT on sustainable development
- the scope/nature of digital divide
- barrier to broader access and use of ICTs
- what has worked and not worked addressing the four themes ("lessons learned")
2. What are the appropriate roles for government, industry, NPOs and international organizations; the four sectors represented in the DOT Force activity. What partnerships between or among the four would be effective in addressing the themes?
3. What specific initiatives could the international community (including G8) take to help bridge digital divide.
The conclusions and recommendations from any particular consultation will not automatically be included in DOT Force's report, the consultations are input to the process not an end in themselves.