Select Committee on Environmental Audit Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 24

Memorandum from Dr G Alexander "Earth Summit for All" Project

1.  INTRODUCTION

  This submission is notifying the Committee of the Earth Summit for All Project. The Project is using Internet technology to develop online tools for sustainable development, and is making an innovative contribution to the UK's response to the forthcoming World Summit. The Project Manager is Dr Gary Alexander of Department of Telematics, the Open University. He pioneered the use of large-scale, on-line collaborative learning at the OU, which is the world's leading distance learning university.

2.  SUMMARY

  Earth Summit for All is an on-line discussion tool being set up by Dr G. Alexander of the Open University, in preparation for the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Second Summit Preparatory Committee ("PrepCom 2") put great emphasis on the need to develop partnerships between stakeholders, including governments and civil society. Earth Summit for All aims to be a catalyst for such partnerships, and a new means of facilitating the development of global-scale projects.

3.  DESCRIPTION OF PROJECT

  Earth Summit for All is designed as an interactive web portal. The format of the website is that of a collaborative, on-line journal, with discussions attached to each article. The purpose is to build a community of interest based around each discussion, which can lead to the development of proposals for the World Summit, with global-scale, practical projects as an intended outcome.

  The subjects to be discussed will emerge from the interests of the participants. A starting set, which indicates the hopes of the Project, includes:

    —  Global Green Information Networks with Green Ratings.

    —   Co-operative and Community Networks.

    —  Fair Trade Networks.

    —  Global Emergency Aid and Development Fund.

    —  Media Initiatives for Peace.

    —  Schools for Sustainability.

  Some further explanation of these projects is given on the Project's preliminary website at earthsummit.open.ac.uk. They have been chosen for their potential to use Internet technology as a means of promoting sustainable development in theory and practice.

  Earth Summit for All will be recruiting a panel of Partners and Associates drawn from NGOs and other stakeholders to run the site. The Project builds on the Open University's experience of developing large-scale, on-line learning facilities, and extends it to the needs of the Johannesburg Summit. A team of delegates from the University's International Development Centre will be attending the Summit, and also contributing to Earth Summit for All as partners.

February 2002



 
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