Global Information Society Watch 2010: Focus on ICTs and environmental sustainability

Title: Global Information Society Watch 2010: Focus on ICTs and environmental sustainability
Author Editor:
Pages: 234 pp.
ISBN: 92-95049-96-9
Publisher:Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (Hivos)
Date (published):December 2010
Date (accessed):17/01/2011
Type of information:report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf - 5,7 MB)
Abstract:
"covers ICTs and environmental sustainability in 53 countries, six regions and ten expert thematic reports. This fourth edition questions the assumption that information and communications technologies (ICTs) will automatically be a panacea for climate change while also looking at the potential of ICTs to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as are the roles of international institutions, the global research agenda on ICTs and climate change and “sustainability” as an evolving concept.

As with all editions, GISWatch does not take a reflect a single point of view. Instead there are counterpoints, arguments and implicit or explicit disagreements that show a vibrant and critical arena that has started to receive attention in recent years.

GISWatch 2010 makes an important contribution to both the environmental and the ICT movement as the voice of global civil society – and is aimed at both beginners and experts in the field of ICTs and climate change, e-waste and the use of ICTs for environmental good generally."

Peacebuilding in the Information Age: Sifting Hype from Reality

Title: Peacebuilding in the Information Age: Sifting Hype from Reality
Editors: Daniel Stauffacher, Barbara Weekes, Urs Gasser, Colin Maclay, Michael Best
Pages: 48 pp.
Publisher: ICT4Peace Foundation
Date (published): 10/01/2011
Date (accessed): 14/01/2011
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML + pdf)
Abstract:
"Going beyond the current debate and positive hype about ICTs, this paper probes difficult questions and provides concrete recommendations concerning:

* the effectiveness of current systems of crisis information management;
* the need for a comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of the use of ICTs in crisis response by the academic community;
* the need for better coordinative mechanisms amongst the key players, including the UN and its various agencies;
* the humanitarian responsibility of various actors, in particular new players such as crowdsourcing providers and social media;
* the serious challenges that still need to be overcome in terms of underlying political, hierarchical and traditional resistance to information-sharing amongst diverse organizations;
* the negative potential of ICTs in compromising the security of persons at risk in conflict situations;
* the lessons learned from the earthquake in Haiti on the use of new ICTs in disaster response situations and,
* the big picture of what this shift to an ICT-focused approach really means for existing humanitarian response systems."

Haiti One Year On: Technology and the Future of Humanitarian Aid

Title: Haiti One Year On: Technology and the Future of Humanitarian Aid
Author:Mark Leon Goldberg
Source:UN Dispatch
Date (published):12/01/2011
Date (accessed):14/01/2011
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The disaster response operations of 2010 taught the humanitarian community hard lessons in how to communicate more effectively both with each other and with disaster affected communities. In reports reflecting on the year since the Haiti earthquake, key members of our community (see Internews and the ICT4Peace Foundation) are pointing to the need to adapt practices in the humanitarian response system to new realities, including policies to protect the security of data about vulnerable populations.
Turning these recommendations into implementable practices is going to require input from many stakeholders, including humanitarians from large agencies as well as representatives of the volunteer technical community. The United Nations Foundation & Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have partnered with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative to conduct these consultations and propose both a framework developing this long-term dialogue and defining how new tools and practices can be integrated into the realities of the work in the field."

New media helped, but radio delivered for earthquake-struck Haiti

Title: New media helped, but radio delivered for earthquake-struck Haiti
Author: Matthew Lasar
Source:Ars Technica
Publisher:Condé Nast Digital
Date (published):12/01/2011
Date (accessed):14/01/2011
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"When Haiti's devastating earthquake hit last January, the world responded with a wave of humanitarian relief efforts. But unlike previous disasters, they also deployed new communications systems—text messaging, digital crowd sourcing, and social networking, among other platforms.

The Haiti earthquake "marked the beginning of a new culture in disaster relief," notes a report on the phenomenon just released by the Knight Foundation. "Occurring several years into a revolution in communications technology, the event attracted legions of media specialists bearing new digital tools to help."

Yet the electronic medium most successfully deployed was not the newest, but one of the oldest. "Although much of the attention has been paid to new media technologies, radio was the most effective tool for serving the needs of the public," Knight concludes."

Sudan's First SMS-Powered Voting Monitor Tracks "Violence," "Intimidation"

Title: Sudan's First SMS-Powered Voting Monitor Tracks "Violence," "Intimidation"
Author:Jenara Neremberg
Source:Fast Company
Date (published):10/12/2010
Date (accessed):11/12/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„While Sudanese vote about the fate of South Sudan's independence, one Sudan-born Texan supports the voting process from afar with a historic mobile-powered monitoring tool.
...
SVM is Sudan's first SMS-based voting monitor. The model is simple: People text a coded short message to SVM translating into either "violence," "intimidation," or any number of categories--and that information is then verified by SVM's team, published to their site and made public for the world to see in both English and Arabic. Based in the U.S., the group works with local civil society partners on the ground in Sudan who have certified observers able to verify whether the reports are true or not.”

No Victim Voiceless: Africa Uses Tech to Shine a Light on Genocide

Title: No Victim Voiceless: Africa Uses Tech to Shine a Light on Genocide
Author:Curt Hopkins
Source:ReadWriteWeb
Date (published):10/12/2010
Date (accessed):11/12/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„"Technology is the equalizer," Fareed Zein told Fast Company. Zein has built the Sudan Vote Monitor as a platform people can use to monitor and cover next month's independence vote in that northeastern African country.

To the south and east, another technological experiment has risen, that one to commemorate the fait accompli of the Rwandan genocide. The Genocide Archive of Rwanda, hosted by the Kigali Genocide Memorial, will document the 100 days and 800,000 lives lost in the brutality of 1994.”

The Philippines government has devised a new roadmap for its Community eCentres

Title: The Philippines government has devised a new roadmap for its Community eCentres
Author:Pia Rufino
Source:FutureGov
Date (published):18/11/2010
Date (accessed):03/12/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„The Philippines government has devised a new roadmap for its Community eCentres programme to help bridge the digital divide, focusing on infrastructure and capacity building.
...
A draft of the CeC Roadmap for 2011-2016 has been completed, focusing on CeC development and management, content development, capability building, technology solutions and advocacy and promotion.”

ICTs and development in Zambia: challenges and opportunities

Title: ICTs and development in Zambia: challenges and opportunities
Author:David Souter
Pages: 8 pp.
Publisher:Panos, london
Date (published): November 2010
Date (accessed):03/12/2010
Type of information:blog post/policy briefing
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly important in achieving development goals and promoting citizen participation. Zambia is one of a number of countries in the Southern African region that have sought to include ICTs in their national development plans. This policy brief summarises a review of the successes and failures of this approach in Zambia, and considers the next steps that are needed to meet the information and communication needs of the coming generation.”
via http://lindaraftree.wordpress.com

Open data in development – the missing debate?

Title: Open data in development – the missing debate?
Author: Tariq Khokhar
Source:aidinfo.org
Date (published):03/12/2010
Date (accessed):03/12/2010
Type of information:blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„After reading an earlier post on the role of open data in development, Tobias Denskus calls for more critical debates around open aid data. His article is really worth reading first; he draws our attention to four issues in the current state of aid transparency:

Everybody in the aid sector seems to be on board with it. This suggests that the ideas of aid data and transparency are too broad, no longer innovative or don’t challenge the fundamentals of development. Where’s the debate around the small print?
Many international development decisions are political: better aid data leading to more convincing arguments is unlikely to change this.
Data and numbers can only have a limited effect on the fundamental issues of how development “thinks, reports or learns” and aid transparency favours the quantitative over the qualitative.
Most aid data is old data and its usefulness beyond research is limited. Complex bureaucracies might struggle to respond to outsiders engaging with their data and even if we have more current data, how much “real-time” influence is actually desirable?”

ICTs: Digital divide or digital bridge?

Title: ICTs: Digital divide or digital bridge?
Author:Aloyce Ndeleio
Source:www.thisday.co.tz
Publisher:
Date (published):30/11/2010
Date (accessed):02/12/2010
Type of information:article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
„ Fifteen years ago, the only option used to send an urgent two-paged document from Dar es Salaam to London was the fax. But, it was laborious, time consuming and sometimes difficult to send the documents, not to mention the costs.

Today, without worrying about time and costs, one sits behind a computer and send messages along with documents by electronic mail. On the other hand, in as much as it was difficult to engage yourself in debates and other discussions with people far away, nowadays, everything has changed for the better.

You can log on different websites and get a good picture of the current discussions and debates. The new information and communication technologies (ICTs) mean little less than a revolution when it comes to cost and convenience of communication for development organisations in most parts of this world.

This is a revolution that left a question that, revolution for how many? Nearly 90 per cent of all internet users are in industrialised countries according to the International Labour Organisation’s World Employment Report 2001.

In contrast, internet users in all of Africa and the Middle East together account for only one per cent of the global internet users, – the digital divide. Yet, the highest growth rates in internet users are found in Africa.”

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