At the invitation of International Telecommunication Unit (ITU) Secretary-General, Mr. Yoshio Utsumi, and the Minister of Information and Communications (MIC) of the Republic of Korea, Dr Dae-je Chin, and with the close co-operation of the Korea Agency for Digital Opportunity (KADO), a WSIS Thematic Meeting on Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships for Bridging the Digital Divide was held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 23-24 June 2005. The purpose of the meeting was two-fold:
- to provide a showcase for successful multi-stakeholder partnerships from around the world, and
- to develop a methodology for monitoring the digital divide through a composite ‘digital opportunity index’.
Some 125 participants from 36 countries participated in the meeting. The participants were welcomed by Mr. Hun-Hyong Rho, Vice-Minister of Information and Communication, Republic of Korea and Dr Tim Kelly, Head of the Strategy and Policy Unit, ITU. They explained the background to the meeting in the context of the overall WSIS preparation process for the Tunis Phase and of the ‘Digital Bridges Initiative’, which is jointly-run by ITU, MIC and KADO. In particular, this meeting is part of the planned implementation of the Geneva Plan of Action, which is one of the three areas of focus of the Tunis Phase. In the Plan of Action, each country is urged to have at least one multi-stakeholder partnership or public/private partnership to announce at the Tunis Phase, as a basis for future action.
In the opening ceremony, opening remarks were presented by Mr. Yeon-gi Son, President/CEO of KADO, the host of the meeting; Mr. Hak-su Kim, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), which had hosted the Asian regional meeting in Teheran, 31 May