Providing Access to Information, Building Knowledge Societies in Myanmar


Within the framework of its Intergovernmental Information for All Programme (IFAP) and in concert with the United Nations University’s (UNU) International Institute for Software Technology, UNESCO is organizing a five-day Executive Workshop in Government Information Leadership for the South Asia sub-region. The event, which is being held under the Patronage of the Government of Myanmar’s Ministry of Information and Ministry of Science and Technology, will take place in Yangon from 4 to 8 November 2013. It is expected to attract participants from Mongolia, Thailand and host country Myanmar.

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), through its Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action, recognized that the appropriate use and application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) presents unparalleled opportunities for individuals to develop and access content relevant to their lives and to support the achievement of international human development goals. However, this potential will not be realized unless governments and stakeholders map out comprehensive, forward looking and sustainable national information and knowledge strategies that are well integrated into their national development plans.

The Yangon executive training therefore seeks to promote ICT policy development along these lines and contribute to enhancing regional cooperation and the sharing of experiences and lessons. Specific attention will be given during the training to enhancing the effectiveness of policies and leveraging national Electronic Governance (EGOV) initiatives in building knowledge societies. Participants will also be enabled to apply the methodologies of the National Information Society Policy Template, which was elaborated by IFAP to support Member States in developing, reviewing and implementing their national information policy frameworks.

When asked about the significance of this capacity-building event, Ms Rosa Gonzalez, UNESCO’s Advisor for Communication and Information in the Bangkok Regional Office explained: “the highly interactive dialogue and exchange amongst the 30 senior policy makers participating in the event will enable emerging national and regional trends to be identified. The insights generated from these reflections will also provide valuable inputs to the Government of Myanmar as they begin crafting their first national E-Governance Master Plan and allow them to benefit from the experiences of their regional peers. Furthermore this training will also provide useful inputs to the ongoing WSIS+10 review process in which UNESCO has responsibility for the global coordination of six Action Lines”.

The Yangon event is the second in a series of ongoing IFAP regional training events organized by UNESCO and UNU in 2013. The first event which targeted East African countries was held in July and attracted participants from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Similar training events are being planned for other regions in 2014.

The intergovernmental Information for All Programme was established in 2001 to provide a platform for international policy discussions and guidelines for action in the area of access to information and knowledge and to support Member States in the development of national information policy and strategy frameworks.