A UNESCO report urges governments to expand quality education for all, increase community access to information and communication technology, and improve cross-border scientific knowledge-sharing, in an effort to narrow the digital and “knowledge” divides between the North and South and move towards a “smart” form of sustainable human development.
The rise of knowledge societies is the subject of the UNESCO World Report which was launched on November 3.

The work is the first in a new series of UNESCO reports, to be published every two years, focusing on subjects at the heart of the Organizations mission such as cultural diversity and sustainable development. Towards Knowledge Societies clearly makes the distinction between knowledge societies and the information society. While the information society is based on technological breakthroughs, knowledge societies encompass broader social, ethical and political dimensions.

The report focuses in particular on the foundations on which knowledge societies that will optimize sustainable human development are constructed. The Report analyses the increasingly important role played by knowledge in economic growth and advances that it can serve as a new springboard for development in the countries of the South. It also presents a detailed analysis of the factors blocking the access of many countries to the opportunities offered by information and communication technologies, especially the growing digital divide and restrictions on freedom of expression. Finally, the report makes a series of recommendations to improve the situation.

The Report comes two weeks ahead of the second phase of the World Summit on Information Societies, which will be held in Tunis from November 16 to 18.

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