The Future of Open Systems Solutions, now

UNESCO WSIS+10 review

The Future of Open Systems Solutions, Now.

Stephen Kovats

r0g_agency for open culture and critical transformation

(Berlin, 06 May, 2013)





The aim of this report is to provide an overview and analysis of WSIS Action Line C3 ‘Access to Information and Knowledge’, with regards to the effects and applications of free and open ICTs and their related methodologies, referred to hierupon as ‘Open Systems’ on mitigating the effects of four identified United Nations global challenge areas: • Climate Change and Environmental Responsibility • Access to Quality Education and Knowledge • Post-Conflict and Post-Disaster Response • Gender and Minority Empowerment The report focusses on action, implementation and connections between open systems solutions, particularly in regions of rapid societal and political transformation where simple access to technology and the internet are limited or infrastructurally challenged. It outlines the needs and means with which to interconnect a wide range of free and open ICT tools, frameworks, concepts and methodologies to create comprehensive open systems solutions to tackle the identified challenges. The report encompasses three levels of detail. In the first or basis level, it introduces the leading concepts and historical frameworks behind the notion of ‘open’ that have emerged of the free and open source software (FOSS) movements, and their subsequent application in much broader realms of activity and social enterprise. It identifies the open source model as one of sustainability and collaborative practice based on publicly available knowledge and content which in turn acts as a key resource to social development, freedom of expression and self-determination. As such it provides rationale for governments, communities and its citizens to recognize the value of open systems in addressing their development, education, ICT literacy goals and challenges. The second level of detail links the defined notions of open systems to the actual implementation of solutions and strategies. It emphasizes the ways in which open systems help cultivate new competencies for citizens to access and participate in global knowledge societies, thus breaking down the lingering effects of digital divides and promoting greater equality in dialogue between South and North. Innovative cross-disciplinary cases studies that show the interconnectivity between the identified challenges and how open systems solutions, rapidly moving from policy theory to implementation fact, have the potential today to address the mitigation of some of the most complex problems, particularly in the contexts of international development. The concluding segment regards the possibilities to create a comprehensive Open Systems Strategy for the newly independent state of South Sudan. Presented in the form of a very specific challenge that brings together the aims and elements of WSIS Action Line C3, applying these in an exemplary manner in which the international community has the opportunity to address the mitigation of deep-rooted conflict, bypassing the digital divide and helping set the scenarios for tangible freedom of expression and access to knowledge. Seven recommendations are set forth to support universal and pro-active access to open knowledge and technology. As urgent calls to policy makers, the recommendations capitalize on the global acceleration of the technologies that have become the generators of prosperity and progress for many parts of the world. They emphasize the need to create comprehensive knowledge commons that, especially in conjunction with the rapid development of Open Educational Resources (OER) have the ability to become the ‘libraries of the future’, today. The vast and cross-disciplinary forms of knowledge and content that have been generated by the collaborative enterprise that has emanated of network culture must now be reaped to support the active participation of all players in strong, open and pluralistic knowledge societies.


Read the full report: UNESCO WSIS+10 Review (PDF)




UNESCO hosted the 1st WSIS+10 Review meeting ‘Towards inclusive Knowledge Societies for Peace and Sustainable Development’, Paris, 25-27 February 2013. This first multi-stakeholder review event looked at the WSIS Action Lines’ achievements, and analyzed recent developments as well as forecasts. Recommendations were also made to the post-2015 process. r0g_agency was invited to participate and to lead the session on Open Solutions for Addressing Global Challenges.