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First Plenary Meeting of the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force)
Secretariat DOT Force
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Tokyo, Japan, November 27-28, 2000

summary of the meeting



The first plenary meeting of the Digital Opportunity Task Force (DOT Force) convened in Tokyo, Japan on the morning of November 27, 2000. The meeting, hosted by the Government of Japan, was chaired by Mr. Yoshiji Nogami, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan. A full list of participants by delegation is included in Attachment A. After introductory administrative remarks and welcoming remarks by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, the Task Force spent the majority of its two-day meeting in substantive discussions of the issues before it and clarification of the process and outcome of its work. A detailed agenda of the meeting is at Attachment B. A summary of the major issues discussed and major decisions taken follows.

1. Objectives of the Task Force

Referring to the Okinawa Charter on the Global Information Society and the mandate for the DOT Force contained therein, participants broadly agreed that the objectives of the Task Force are

  • to enhance global understanding and consensus on the challenges and opportunities posed by information and communication technologies, and the role that these technologies can play in fostering sustainable, participatory development, wealth creation and empowerment;
  • to foster greater coherence among the various initiatives, both G8 and other, currently underway or proposed to address these challenges and opportunities,
  • to enhance the effective mobilization of resources to address these challenges and opportunities.

2. Basic Principles of the Task Force's work

Participants agreed that several basic principles undergird the work of the Task Force:

  • the G8 Governments and other participants must feel and demonstrate active ownership of the DOT Force process in order for the process to be credible and effective;
  • the DOT Force process should be as inclusive as possible given time constraints and the desire to balance inclusiveness with effectiveness and coherence;
  • the DOT Force should yield concrete, action-oriented results and recommendations that can lead to concrete cooperation on the part of all relevant actors;
  • there is no dichotomy between the "digital divide" and the broader social and economic divides at the heart of the development process; the digital divide needs to be understood and addressed in the context of those broader divides, and the DOT Force needs to articulate approaches to the digital divide that take into account and actively address those broader divides;
  • all major stakeholders -- public, private and nonprofit, from both developing and developed countries -- need to be engaged in the process through a variety of consultative mechanisms;
  • the DOT Force needs to focus on identifying gaps in existing initiatives and finding ways that new or more well-coordinated action by its members and others could make a concrete and measurable difference in addressing the challenges posed by the digital divide;
  • the outcome of the DOT Force should not simply be a report but a substantial strategy backed by political and institutional commitment and resources.


3. The Unique Opportunity Facing the Task Force

Participants acknowledged that there have been several other serious and important efforts to address these issues in the international arena, and that the DOT Force should learn from and build upon those efforts. At the same time, several participants suggested that the DOT Force initiative represented a unique opportunity, in a unique moment in time, for several reasons:

  • the multi-constituency, participatory nature of this Task Force could help to set the standard for international policy-making bodies on the digital economy at a time when international policy frameworks and mechanisms are still fluid in this area;
  • likewise, the business and regulatory models for the digital economy are still fluid but moving in some respects towards greater specificity, and this Task Force could help to assure that those models take into account the interests of all stakeholders;
  • the relatively modest penetration of information and communication technologies in many developing countries at this point, while a challenge, also means that the opportunity now exists to steer the growth of these technologies in those countries in ways that combine effective and sustainable local wealth creation with attention to the broader social and economic dimensions of development (including human capital development);
  • the tripartite, participatory, iterative, experimental nature of the process, with developing countries at its center, permitted a degree of informality, speed and creativity that might not always be possible in international fora.

4. Major Themes of the DOT Force's work

There was considerable consensus on the major themes of the DOT Force's work, which would form the major components both of the final Report and the major focal points of the broad consultative process planned for the coming months. These themes, emerging from the Okinawa charter and discussed at the Tokyo meeting, are:

  • policy and regulatory frameworks to foster the growth of the digital economy and the spread and effective use of information and communication technologies, including policies and regulations that create a favorable environment for private sector investment;
  • infrastructure and access to ICTs, including strategies to expand access for rural and poor communities, technical innovations that expand access or lower its cost, and innovative financing models (and public-private partnerships) for ICT infrastructure development;
  • knowledge and human capital, including strategies and tools for building the skills necessary for the digital economy, for fostering innovation and knowledge generation at the local and national levels, and for developing regional and global sharing of knowledge and innovation;
  • locally-relevant, sustainable applications of ICTs that address the specific needs of local communities and individual nations in ways that are culturally and linguistically appropriate.

During the Tokyo meeting, several proposals were made for additions, changes or recombinations of these themes, and the Secretariat will take those discussions into account in preparing a revised version of the outline of the DOT Force final report.

5. Roles and Motivations of the Various Stakeholders

Participants agreed that it was inevitable and natural that different stakeholders in this process should have different motivations, interests, and views on the issues being addressed by the DOT Force. The role of the DOT Force process is not to create an artificial uniformity of views and interests but to identify and build support for areas of common interest, opportunities to bridge differences, and strategies that effectively balance competing interests in a way that benefits all stakeholders.

6. Methodology and Outcomes of the DOT Force process

Participants agreed that the DOT Force process should be an iterative, participatory process that leads to a final report which represents and energizes a continuing collaboration among the various stakeholders in ways to be identified subsequently. The DOT Force report, as presented to the G8 next summer, should be a crisp, tightly-written high-level document aimed at senior decision-makers. It should be action-oriented, with specific recommendations focused on addressing identified gaps in current initiatives. It should identify clearly the priorities, roles and relationships among the various actors, so as to give a clear "roadmap" for how the interested parties could act upon the recommendations of the report. It should be clearly "owned" by and supported by the entirety of the DOT Force, and reinforced by a wider consensus in the various stakeholder groups, developed through a broad consultative process.

7. The Broader Consultative Process

Participants agreed that, to the extent feasible given time constraints, and bearing in mind the need to balance inclusiveness with effectiveness and coherence, the DOT Force members and the Secretariat should make every reasonable effort to consult broadly with various stakeholder groups. Given time and resource constraints, it was agreed that these consultations should primarily take place in the context of already-scheduled meetings and conferences at which a DOT Force informal meeting or consultation could be scheduled, and through a variety of electronic consultations and organizational networks with which the DOT Force members were affiliated. An indicative list of several already-scheduled international meetings was prepared (Attachment C) The Secretariat was invited to prepare for the Task Force more detailed recommendations on how to organize the consultative process.

8. Future Plenary Meetings of the DOT Force

Participants agreed that a minimum of two additional Plenary meetings of the DOT Force would be necessary; one in February/March to review a draft of the Report, and another in Spring to review the final draft report before submission. It was also agreed that one of these meetings should be held in a developing country and another in Europe (presumably in Italy given its role as the G8 Presidency as of January 1, 2001.) The Chair took note of proposals from various members as to the possible venue of the next meeting, and informed the participants that he would make a proposal on this matter based on further consultation with parties concerned.


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