1 May 2012

Two Day World IT Forum begins tomorrow Delegates from 30 Countries to participate

Curtain Raiser 

16-April-2012 ,India is all set to host World Information Technology Forum (WITFOR) 2012 tomorrow in Vigyan Bhawan,New Delhi . The fifth edition of the coveted event is being organised by the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), in partnership with the Department of Electronics & Information Technology (DEITy), Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Government of India. 

The Forum opens tomorrow with the inaugural address by Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of Communications and IT & HRD, Government of India. Other key speakers at the inaugural function are Mr. Janis Karklins, Assistant Director General, Communication and Information Sector, UNESCO, Shri Sachin Pilot, Minister of State for Communications and IT, Government of India, Mr Leon Strous, President, IFIP and Shri J Satyanarayana, Secretary, Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India

WITFOR will focus, on use of ICT in agriculture, education, health and e-Governance, within the overall theme of ‘ICT for Sustainable Human Development’. Representatives from over 30 countries will share their knowledge, views and best practices in the use of IT for governance and delivery of key public services, brought together on a common platform that will allow them to showcase successful, working models of the use of ICT for development. 

WITFOR was born out of the need for emerging economies and developed countries to collaborate and harness the potential for digital technologies for sustainable development. Since its inception in 2003, World IT Forums have been held four times–in Vietnam (2009), Ethiopia (2007), Botswana (2005) and Lithuania (2003). The activities of the Forum are broadly guided by the World Summit on the Information Society's (WSIS) Plan of Action, in order to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The participation in WITFOR has risen from 600 to 1,500 in six years, bearing testimony to its robust content and the diversity of attendees. The WITFOR conferences help bring together a variety of stakeholders to discuss, debate and analyse ways in which ICT is powering the engine of growth and development in the emerging economies for policymakers and practitioners to share knowledge on ‘ICT for development’ with their international counterparts who are facing similar challenges in their countries. 

With over 80 speakers from around the world, WITFOR 2012 aims to bring together a unique mix of policymakers and political leaders, social entrepreneurs, academic researchers, practitioners and executives, both from the private and public sector. Leaders from multilateral organisations like UNESCO, UNDP, the World Bank and from regional bodies like the West African Health Organisation will share their experiences in meeting the challenges of globalisation and sustainable development. 

Other attendees include high-level dignitaries from the governments of Bangladesh, Canada, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Moldova, Paraguay, as well as senior members of academia and from across South Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa. The Forum, aimed primarily at fostering an informed debate among policymakers, will also bring together senior bureaucrats and technologists from South Korea, Canada, Nigeria, Kenya, Malaysia, Estonia, Moldova and Secretaries to the Government of India – both from the Centre and the states. 

WITFOR is an important international event that places the host country on an international platform to showcase its achievements. So far, India has hosted only regional ICT/e-Governance international events and partnering in WITFOR 2012 will give Indian Policy Makers as well as Industry and opportunity not only to learn from other countries but will also open avenues for further cooperation and business development especially for innovative products such as Aakash and value added services delivered on Mobile Platforms. Also, WITFOR 2012 will give Indian States an opportunity to showcase their premier e-Governance projects and give international delegates an opportunity to visit such projects across India

The Forum will discuss the role of IT interventions in bringing about greater transparency in governance, issues of privacy and security while dealing with public databases, financial inclusion and ways of leveraging wireless technologies. It will also debate challenges related to the training of health workers, capacity building, evidence-based decision making to improve health outcomes, the role of government in primary healthcare, and the role of ICT in creating digital content, bridging the skills gap and the digital divide, as well as improving productivity, food security, knowledge transfer in the agriculture sector. 

As a country with enormous ICT capabilities and equally immense socio-economic development challenges, India attracts significant international attention for its efforts to exploit the developmental potential of ICT. At the same time, Indian policymakers and practitioners can learn from the experiences of other countries. WITFOR 2012 will provide a unique opportunity for sharing knowledge on mobilising ICT for development, among a diverse range of professionals engaging in this effort in many countries with a variety of development challenges. WITFOR 2012 will provide a valuable forum for understanding how the power of ICT can be harnessed for sustainable development. 

With nearly 1200 registrations , delegates are drawn from the public and private sectors across India, as well as from Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia, including participants from Greece, Poland, Finland, Croatia, Paraguay, South Korea, Zimbabwe, Liberia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa. Indian delegates include senior government officials from various states, public enterprises, private sector and academia, from all across the country, as well as independent researchers, ICT enthusiasts, students, entrepreneurs and members of the academia and development practitioners. 
WITFOR 2013 will be held in Paraguay.

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