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UN-ESCWA Meeting to Tackle Open Source Software Solutions for the Public Sector


An Expert Group Meeting on Open Source Software Solutions for the Public Sector in the Arab Region is being organized by UN-ESCWA and the Information and Communication Technology for Development in the Arab Region (ICTDAR) – a regional programme of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from 19 to 21 December 2006.

Opening at 10:00am at the Nile Hilton Hotel, Cairo, Egypt, the meeting will bring experts and policy makers who have undertaken or are in the process of undertaking the implementation of free and open source software (FOSS) solutions, together with regional stakeholders contemplating such initiatives. The main goal of this meeting is the development of strategic approaches, methodologies and modalities for the adoption and development of FOSS solutions for the public sector.

The meeting will help organizations streamline the process of implementing FOSS solutions, in accordance with the goals of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). It will allow experts and decision makers in the region to exchange the information they need to meet the challenges of adopting FOSS at the national level, and the good practices for its deployment at the sectoral and/or institutional levels. It will identify the major challenges facing the deployment of FOSS solutions and suggest strategic directives to overcome these obstacles, while identifying the actions needed for facilitating the use of FOSS in the Arab region.

The meeting will include a number of presentations and case studies from selected developed and developing countries. Contributions from regional and international organizations that have carried out FOSS projects will enrich the meeting, namely those from the Asia Pacific Development Information Programme (APDIP) and UNESCO. The topics set to be covered include the challenges for using FOSS at the institutional or national level in developing countries; experiences and success stories related to the adoption of FOSS by developed and developing countries; FOSS solutions for government and higher education sectors; strategic approaches for the adoption of FOSS; regional needs for the deployment of FOSS solutions nation-wide and regionally. The final session of the meeting will be dedicated to recommendations and follow-up mechanisms.