SIDSnet Project described
(On 24 April, during the 6th meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Alliance of Small Island States and UNDP's Sustainable Development Networking Programme hosted a demonstration of the new SIDSnet, a Web site dedicated to "building virtual global communities on island issues from the Barbados Plan of Action." Readers are encouraged to visit the Web site at http://chacmool.sdnp.undp.org/ and to read over this reprint of the background sheet that was distributed at the time.)
Small Island Developing States Network (SIDSnet)
1. The Action Plan of the Regional Technical Meeting for the Atlantic / Caribbean / Mediterranean preparatory to the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS, Barbados - May 1994) made the following recommendations on Information Management:
In view of the vast primordial importance of information and the volume which already exists in regional and international organizations and institutions, which represent great value in time and experience in the different areas of sustainable development, efforts must be made to tap these databases and avoid the duplication of studies and wastage of scarce resources. The following actions should be taken:
improve the availability of existing information in databases in regional and international organizations and institutions by indexing relevant information for SIDS under a new index entry for SIDS; and
promote and facilitate inter-island exchange of information on experiences, research and development in the area of sustainable development between the SIDS.
2. A 1994 case study and a follow-up in 1996 further emphasized the importance of information exchange between SIDS. The 1996 report highlighted the rapid development (since 1994) with Internet connectivity of participating SIDS.
3. In March 1997, the SDNP and TCDC unit of UNDP jointly funded a full-time coordinator to develop the Pilot SIDSnet programme currently based in New York. SDNP and TCDC agreed that an oversight committee would be appointed from AOSIS, the regional bureaus, SDNP and TCDC to guide the SIDSnet pilot project.
4. May 10, 1997, the oversight committee from AOSIS and other UNDP organizations approved a proposal for SIDSnet that included the development of a global SIDSnet internet networking site, SIDSnet news wire and a plan for pilot connectivity projects in six SIDS to ensure all SIDS can eventually participate in global SIDSnet. This was later endorsed by AOSIS.
5. October 6, 1997, A special SIDSnet presentation outlining SIDSnet activities for the next 18 months was made to an AOSIS plenary meeting in New York. AOSIS has committed to assist in securing additional funding to ensure that SIDSnet meets its objectives.
6 SIDSnet Activities
6.1 SIDSnet Global Network
The new SIDSnet is an Internet based network and will include WWW calendars, forums, web directories and access to important SIDS databases. The SIDSnet network will enable the TCDC SIDS experts and institutions databases to be updated online and will provide tools for other relevant databases to be accessed and updated by SIDS stakeholders worldwide. The network will allow users with only e-mail accounts to actively participate in all discussions/features. Regional and local stakeholders (e.g. UWI, CARICAD, CCA) will manage all aspects of the network.
Hewlett Packard has agreed to develop the SIDSnet Global Network and the SIDS News Wire. Work on these projects began February 17 and will deliver 90% of the features required on completion of phase 1 by 13 March 1998. This will enable us to begin training and implementation of SIDSnet at a regional and national level in April 1998.
The network will initially focus on 3 chapters of the Barbados Plan of Action: Coastal and Marine Resources, Energy and Sustainable Tourism. Eventually all the issues from the POA will be included and hosted on SIDSnet.
6.2 SIDS News Wire
The Internet based news wire submission and distribution. This will be developed together with the Global SIDS Network in item #6.l. This will enable relevant sustainable development press releases to reach stakeholders in all the SIDS via email or WWW access. Regional news services will be invited to participate in disseminating island news throughout the SIDS. Management of regional submissions will remain with the major regional/national stakeholders.
Hewlett Packard has agreed to develop the SIDSnet Global Network and the SIDS News Wire. Work on these projects began February 17 and will deliver 90% of the features required on completion o f phase 1 by 13 March 1998. This will enable us to begin training and implementation of SIDSnet at a regional and national level in April 1998.
SIDSnet is working with the UNDP SDNP to ensure that all SIDS will have a minimum of e-mail access by December 1998. Joint ventures with a local telecom or ISP will enhance long term sustainability in small island markets.
To date, SIDSnet is working with the Pacific Islands Internet Project to enable connectivity in 3-4. In the Caribbean, SDNP projects in Jamaica and Guyana and the Dominican Republic are near completion and a Haiti SDNP underway. The islands around Africa will include projects in Sao Tome and Principe and Cape Verde which will begin in 1998. National network programmes are underway in Papua New Guinea and Trinidad that will ensure that internet based information and national databases will be available to government, private sector and schools nationwide.
Regional meeting will be held with key stakeholders to determine regional needs and to discuss the most relevant approach for implementation of the SIDSnet global network in their regions.
National 2-day workshops promoting SIDSnet, teaching web publishing skills and providing general Internet overviews will be held in 30 SIDS. This will exclude developed SIDS and focus on assisting those SIDS that require additional assistance.
6.5. SIDSnet Utilities Fund
A fund to assist critical organizations in the SIDS to jump-start their participation in SIDSnet. Funding will be for small items such as a modem or 12 months Internet account.
6.6. SIDSnet Inter-island Specialists
Initiating cross-regional interaction between SIDS organizations is essential for the SIDSnet vision to materialize. SIDSnet will provide independent funding to jump-start such interaction and support similar activities by Capacity 21 enabling a SIDS expert (from another SIDS region) to address a relevant regional SIDS seminar in a different region.
6.7. SIDSnet Hosting/Mirror - Currently available
Web pages serve as a vital information outlet for SIDSnet stakeholders. Access to these locally hosted pages are limited by the small bandwidth (size of Internet link) available to many SIDS. SIDSnet will provide mirroring and hosting of websites on a faster Internet link in the USA.
If you are interested in participating in the SIDSnet Project, please contact;
Fax: +1 212 9066952