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Towards Knowledge Societies

The first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) took place in Geneva hosted by the Government of Switzerland from 10 to 12 December 2003.
At WSIS in Geneva UNESCO introduced its concept of Knowledge Societies, stressing plurality, diversity and inclusiveness. The concept underlines that the use of information and communication technology (ICT) must take into account universally recognised human rights, with special attention to four principles: freedom of expression; universal access to information and knowledge; cultural and linguistic diversity and quality education for all.

Following the Geneva phase, UNESCO has been active in articulating these building blocks of Knowledge Societies and seeks to realize the potential for knowledge to empower local communities, to accelerate economic development and to become the force of social transformation. To this end, UNESCO has already been successful in putting a wide range of projects into action, which also correspond to the WSIS Plan of Action.