Wednesday, August 25, 2004

An Intergovernmental meeting will be held in Geneva on FOSS under UNCTAD coordination: Expert meeting on Free and Open Source Software: Policy and development implications
Geneva, 22–24 September 2004
Resources available on UNCTAD webpage on FOSS linkaged to some issues and aplications:
For who from developing and LD countries has good relationship or contacts with key people in its Governement and also can be considered an expert on FOSS by the Government there are fellowships available.
The Expert Meeting on Free and Open Source Software, convened in accordance with the decision taken by the Commission on Enterprise, Business Facilitation and Development at its eighth session, will be held from 22 to 24 September 2004. The Meeting will open at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 22 September 2004.
Background and purpose of the Meeting
An increasing number of countries are developing national policies and strategies to promote the digital economy. Many have recognized the important role of software - in addition to hardware, affordable access and human capacities and skills - as the medium that enables people to use technology productively.Because social and economic activities are heterogeneous and human and natural environments are varied and different, the role of software as the interface between this human diversity and, often ubiquitous, hard technology is fundamental to the wide adoption of information technologies and to closing the digital divide. Given this singularly important role of software, the increasing prominence and use of so-called free and open source software (FOSS) has encouraged a debate about its ability to help, in particular, developing countries overcome the digital divide and increase the use and productive effects of information technology in commercial activities, governance and other fields. FOSS is software whose source code - its set of instructions - has been made open to the public and freely available under a license that prevents its appropriation. It is not necessarily free, as in "gratis" or free-of-charge. It is "free" and "open" because it can be used, changed and redistributed in a relatively unhindered manner. This Expert Meeting will bring together experts from both developed and developing countries, from international and regional bodies involved in FOSS issues, from the software technology industry and from civil society organizations. The objective of the Expert Meeting is twofold. First, it will provide the UNCTAD Commission on Enterprise, Business Facilitation and Development with a substantive basis that could support discussions about FOSS at a higher policy level. Second, it will allow an assessment and exchange of experience among experts from UNCTAD member States, while benefiting from inputs from participating FOSS specialists from academia, business and civil society.
Experts are expected to include officials from government offices responsible for information technology strategy, including software and FOSS policy and implementation. Representatives from other public or private institutions, the academic world and NGOs, with proven expertise in the subject, will also be invited to participate. Experts are nominated by their national governments but will participate in the Meeting in their personal capacities. Nominations should be submitted to the UNCTAD secretariat no later than 26 July 2004. (I've just got this info yesterday though! A.T.) In addition, experts from international and regional organizations dealing with FOSS issues will be invited. Specialized agencies and intergovernmental bodies wishing to participate in the Meeting, as well as non-governmental organizations in the General Category and those in the Special Category wishing to participate as observers, are requested to inform the UNCTAD secretariat of the names of their representatives.Financial assistanceFunds will be made available to finance the participation of a limited number of officially nominated experts from developing countries and economies in transition. Governments of developing countries and countries with economies in transition requiring funding are therefore invited to explicitly request financing in their letters of nomination. The Secretary-General of UNCTAD will base the decision as to which experts should receive financing on the principle of equitable geographical representation, beneficiary needs, in particular LDCs, and the expertise of the experts concerned. Changes in nominated experts will be considered as new nominations. Nominations with requests for financing should be received no later than eight weeks before the meeting (i.e. by 26 July 2004 at the latest), and should be accompanied with the following information about the nominee:
Curriculum vitae; Mailing address; Telephone and fax number; E-mail address; and Name of a contact person in the Permanent Mission in Geneva.
It should be noted in this connection that once the list of experts to be financed has been finalized, the Secretary-General of UNCTAD will have all travel arrangements made in accordance with United Nations rules and regulations, though use of the least costly travel fare will be authorized.
Background documents and contributed papers
The provisional agenda for the meeting, together with the secretariat´s annotations, is being circulated as document TD/B/COM.3/EM.21/1. The UNCTAD secretariat has prepared, as official documentation for the meeting, a background paper entitled "Free and open source software" (TD/B/COM.3/EM.21/2), aimed at facilitating the discussions. Experts are encouraged to submit written contributions on experiences with FOSS at the national level, focusing on the following items:
(i) overall familiarity with FOSS and the FOSS debate in the Government;
(ii) what strategic, administrative or normative approaches are being considered or implemented;
(iii) the extent of FOSS use in business and households;
(iv) examples of significant localization efforts and applications;
(v) possible economic effects and influence on related sectors and issues such as education and intellectual property regulation.
These papers will be made available to other participants in the form and language in which they are received.
The meeting will take place at the United Nations Office of Geneva, Palais des Nations. Simultaneous interpretation will be provided in the six official languages of the United Nations.Upon arrival, participants are requested, before entering the Palais des Nations, to collect their badge at the UN Security Service, Villa Les Feuillantines, 13 Avenue de la Paix (close to the main entrance to the Palais on the Place des Nations, on the opposite side of the road). The Security Service is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (non-stop). Due to the existing security measures in force, participants are strongly advised to arrive before 8.30 a.m. in order to complete procedures and reach the Meeting in good time. Walking from Villa Les Feuillantines to the E-Building (B√Ętiment E) of the Palais takes about 10 minutes. Participants are requested to carry a passport or similar national identity card with them. There is a general interdiction on the entry of taxis to the grounds of the Palais des Nations, and visitors will be dropped off at the requested entrance gates. Further, luggage is not authorized inside the buildings unless the Security Service grants special clearance.Further information and contact detailsLinks to information and details can be accessed at:
Nominations and related communications concerning representation at the Meeting should be sent to the UNCTAD Secretariat, Intergovernmental Affairs and Outreach Service, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10; fax: + 41(0)22 917 0056; e-mail:
Substantive and other enquiries should be addressed to Mr. Dimo Calovski, Economic Affairs Officer, as the coordinator in the Services Infrastructure for Development and Trade Efficiency Division; E.7063, Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10; tel: +41(0)22 917 9946 or 917 5912 or 917 5515, fax: +41(0)22 917 0052, e-mail: (signed)Rubens RicuperoSecretary-General of UNCTAD

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