ISSS--Local and regional information society
March 23--25, 2003
Prague & Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic
Local and Regional Information Society
LORIS--Local and Regional Information Society

ISSS 2003: Responses and Evaluations
Presentations of CEEC Associations, 23rd March 2003

ISSS/LORIS 2003 Conference

The international Local and Regional Information Society Conference--LORIS 2003 organized by Vysocina Region in co-operation with Triada Ltd., the City of Prague and Union of Towns and Communities of the Czech Republic took place in Prague and Hradec Kralove from March 23rd to 25th, 2003.

LORIS was held parallel with the National Conference "Internet in Public Administration"--ISSS 2003. ISSS/LORIS conference is the most significant eGovernment event in the Czech Republic and CEEC. The number of participants in this sixth year of the ISSS/LORIS Conference--more than 1.800 from 26 countries (representatives of European Commission, state, regional and local administration--including some ministers from the Czech Republic, State Secretaries from Slovakia and Hungary, Members of Parliaments of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Lord Mayor of Prague, representatives of European networks, IT specialists, representatives of private companies from the field of Information and Communication technologies, and 72 companies taking part in the accompanying exhibition) and increasing interest of media partners is the best evidence. The Conference was opened by video recording of Prime Minister inaugural address.

According to representatives of European Commission such a major European event has been very significant for the possibility not only to share experiences and good practices between representatives of local and regional government of Central and Eastern Europe Countries, but also to define common vision and a sound approach for shaping the knowledge--based economy and society together.

"It was a privilege to join so many distinguished people--decision-makers at all government levels, industrialists, experts, users, local associations and networks--at the Conference," said Mr. Gérald Santucci, Head of Unit Trust and Security of DG Information Society European Commission. "I was personally glad to note that the Ministers and State Secretaries from the accession candidate countries, as well as all the high level participants from local and regional governments, were genuinely committed to shaping the enlarged Europe we live in with a common purpose and sense of community, the latter being for me a founding ideal of Europe."

The main goal of the ISSS/LORIS 2003 was to promote the information society technologies and services in public administration; evaluate the progress in eGovernment; preparation of the framework for virtual twinning between EU cities and cities from CEEC; to implement best practises to stimulate and increase the number of local authorities willing to participate in European projects promoting partnerships in the process of European integration.

On Sunday 23rd March 2003 afternoon at the common meeting of representatives of capital cities of candidate countries with Lord Mayor of Prague a Prague Declaration on the Information Society Development was adopted in which delegates recognised the EU's strategic objectives related to Information Society development (eEurope 2005) and committed themselves to strengthen mutual co-operation with international networks and associations and to exchange best practises.

During Meeting of representatives of CEE Associations of Municipalities, which took place in Hradec Kralove on Sunday late afternoon, all associations provided participants with short presentation of Association focused on current status of the Association and level of electronic access to services.

On the occasion of Sunday evening Cultural Programme Mayors from Central and Eastern European Cities Zakopane--Poland, Moldava nad Bodvou--Slovakia, Kuressaare--Estonia, Panagyurishte--Bulgaria, Jagodina--Serbia and Montenegro, Bratislava--Slovakia, Sopot--Poland, Hluboka--Czech Republic and Pardubice--Czech Republic signed the Declaration of the Global Cities Dialogue, thus giving impetus to closer information society dialogue Central and Eastern European countries with countries of the European Union. The signatories will then act as champions in shaping the rules and the long-term agenda of the Global Cities Dialogue initiative.

On Monday 24th March CEEC Associations Specific Workshop and Global Cities Dialogue Event for Eastern Europe was held with objective to optimise the presence of local authorities to ISSS/LORIS Conference in offering them a specific "seminar" aiming at raising their awareness on EU programmes/opportunities and related decision and lobbying process regarding the binomial "Regional Development and Information Society". The workshop intended to address in the most integrated way the following topics: European affairs management/lobbying, Regional development and Information society.

During Monday evening festive programme the EuroCrest prizes for the best web presentation of European towns and communities were awarded to the towns Praha--Czech Republic, Vranov nad Toplou--Slovakia, Tartu--Estonia, Jurbarkas--Lithuania, Ventspils--Latvia, Sopot--Poland and Rousse--Bulgaria. The Conference was accompanied by the exhibition of the best practises of the web sites. virtual vernissage