Mr. Maynard was speaking ahead of the first in a series of preparatory meetings, to set the stage for the creation of a “National Information For All Committee” which is expected to take place shortly, following a recent conference on Building Caribbean Knowledge Societies.
According to Maria Crawford, National Commission member, who attended the conference, the concept of a knowledge society is one which uses information and communication tools and resources so that people are empowered to improve their quality of life.
UNESCO’s Information For All Programme (IFAP) is an intergovernmental body created in 2001 to foster the creation of Knowledge Societies in Member States. “It is a society in which people are encouraged to value knowledge rather than the gadgets that are the conduit of information.”
Ms. Crawford said the knowledge society takes the focus off the availability of Information Technology and places it on the possibility for advancement which the knowledge accessed through this technology can give to users.
The conference, said Crawford, also had the objective of opening a new discussion platform to regional political and implementation mechanisms on ICT for Development; for example CARICOM, OECS, ECLAC and OAS, to present their contribution to Caribbean Information and Knowledge Societies.
Meantime, Maynard added that unifying and streamlining attempts by all such organizations could result in a more workable and organized arrangement which has the potential to reduce wastage and minimize duplication of efforts both within territories and the wider region.
The first step in creating the National IFAP Committee is in identifying organizations that contribute significantly towards the development of IFAP’s five priority areas including Information Accessibility, Information for Development, Information Preservation, Information Literacy and Information Ethics.