Outcomes of the High-level Policy Sessions and Conclusion of High-Level Track -WSIS

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Olga Cavalli, SSIG Session One

Amali de Silva Mitchel; Session Two

William Njoroge Session Four

Nino Letteriello Session 5 President DAMA Italy and EMEA coordinator.

Rachel Sibande, Session 6 Senior Director, Country Outreach Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) at the United Nations Foundation.

Ms. Meera Das Session 7 on inclusiveness, access to information and knowledge for all with the media

Dr. ASan. Session Eight Digital capacity and e-learning.

Kristin Little, IEEE Session Nine WSIS Action and Sustainable Development

Kirthi Jaykumar, Session Ten Gender Security Project

Mr. Cuss Session 11 Founder and Executive Director AMPLIO

Ms. Eleanor Sarpong, Deputy Director and Policy Lead Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI)/Web Foundation

The session I moderated was bridging the digital divides. Some of the emerging trends we saw is that digital inequalities fall along many line, especially gender, income, geography and as it was during the COVID-19. We also noticed that collaboration between private and public sector, particularly with non-ICT sectors is crucial in bridging the digital divide. Affordable devices and Internet are robbing people from the opportunity to have the access and thereby perpetrating the inequalities. To close digital gaps we need reliable data. We need data that is open and can be easily shared and one that can be measured as well, in order to track progress. Finally, we saw that the homework gap was something that has shown up in a lot of countries, even developed countries. A lot of children are left behind because they don’t have the chance to have devices or computers. So that needs to be addressed. I was particularly — there were a lot of challenges that came up. One that struck me is about how COVID-19 is affecting women more disproportionately. In Chile a 38% of women were forced to leave the workforce. I was particularly encouraged because the Chilean Government is working hard to address some of the connectivitygaps that they’ve seen. In terms of opportunities, I think that what really came across from the session was the need for more creative financing, especially with payment systems to ensure they’re affordable rates. And also to tackle the issues of infrastructure gaps. Already, you know, we have seen the ITU saying they need $48 billion to get everyone covered. Creative financing is very important. I think the ITU has already taken the road on that. Secondly, we need for agile policy and regulatory frameworks to make sure we can meet the new challenges that are coming up. In order to address the digital divide.