V4DIS--Visegrad Group for Developing Information Society
April 3--5, 2005, Prague & Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic
Conferences ISSS/LORIS/V4DIS

ISSS/LORIS/V4DIS 2005 Conference -- a success of the prestigious conference

The annual ISSS/LORIS/V4DIS (Internet in Public Administration/Local and Regional Information Society/Visegrad for Developing Information Society), which took place between April 1 and 5 in Prague and Hradec Kralove, yet again confirmed the unique status of this event not only in the Czech Republic but also in the entire Central and Eastern European region. According to preliminary estimates, the conference was attended by approximately two thousand participants from 26 countries. Within the programme running in parallel in six halls, more than 250 lectures were given. Nearly one hundred exhibitors presented their products, solutions and services for public administration.

"Two thousand domestic and foreign representatives of public administration, politicians and specialists in information and communication technologies, who visited the conference, are living proof of the ISSS/LORIS/V4DIS conference's unique position in the new Member States of the European Union," says Tomas Rencin, the conference executive director. "We are pleased by the fact that the event was attended by a host of ministers and other personalities from Czech political life and that the participation in the conference was also positively appraised by all foreign guests."

The international part of the conference-LORIS/V4DIS-took place under the high patronage of Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). Mr. Oldrich Vlasak, the CEMR Executive Director, and Ms. Angelika Poth-Moegel, CEMR Head of Policy, presented the CEMR at the conference. The conference was also actively supported by the European Commission and the International Visegrad Fund.

This year, the conference's international part has been prolonged by two days. Accordingly, in collaboration with Prague City Council, the Vysocina Region and the association Cesky zavinac, the meeting of the Global Cities Dialogue and the session of the GCD Steering Commitee and Sherpa's Meeting took place in Prague starting on Friday, April 1--2, 2005. After that the Vice-Chairman of the Committee and Senator from Bremen, Willi Lemke, arrived in Hradec Kralove on April 4, as did representatives of other global and European networks and initiatives.

On Sunday April 3, 2005 at 5 p. m., on the eve of the opening of the Internet in Public Administration/Local and Regional Information Society/Visegrad Group for Developing Information Society (ISSS/LORIS/V4DIS) 2005 conference, representatives of associations of municipalities and representatives of cities of Central and Eastern European countries held a meeting at the Amber Cernigov hotel in Hradec Kralove. Also present were representatives of the European Commission, TeleCities and Global Cities Dialogue networks. The meeting's main issue was recognized as "ONE YEAR AFTER THE DECLARATION". It directly refers to the eV4+/LORIS Declaration on joint action in building up information society at the regional and local level adopted at the meeting of associations last year.

As has already become a tradition, the Minister of Informatics, Vladimir Mlynar, together with Stanislav Gross, Czech PM, took the patronage over the ISSS/LORIS/V4DIS Conference. During the course of the conference's two days, a number of other eminent guests arrived in Hradec Kralove – for example, within the gala opening alone no less than four ministers of the Government of the Czech Republic appeared and gave speeches and the Minister of Informatics, Vladimir Mlynar, who also gave several other lectures and presentations during the two days of the conference.

As regards foreign guests, representatives of the European Commission again took part in the event, this time headed by the Czech Republic's European Commissioner, Vladimir Spidla, who also conveyed greetings from the EU Commissioner for Informatics and Media, Vivien Reding, who despite her original plans unfortunately could not be in Hradec Kralove in person. A pleasant surprise for many conference participants was the appearance of the Ambassador of the USA to the Czech Republic, William Cabanis, who expressed the conviction that informisation of public administration in the Czech Republic, was undoubtedly heading in the right direction.

Members of the traditionally large delegations of Visegrad Four countries, whose working teams this time mainly devoted themselves to discussions about "e-policy" within the V4DIS Conference, included Beata Brestenska, Stanislav Janis and Maros Kondrot from the National Council of the Slovak Republic, Tibor Papp from the Ministry of Transport, Post and Telecommunications of the Slovak Republic, and Miroslav Kukucka, the government representative for information society, the Polish experts Andrzej Janicki from the Alfa-Omega Foundation, Anna Slupina from the Silesia Region and Piotr Muravski from Gdansk, while Hungary was represented by Gyorgy Nagyhazi from the Office of the Prime Minister and Gyrgyi Nyikos from the National Agency for Regional Development.

The results of forth year of the EuroCrest competition was announced at the conference gala evening on Monday April 4. EuroCrest's objective is to reward outstanding projects, promote mutual exchange of experience and appraise the endeavors of local administration and self-government representatives for efficient use of information technologies with the aim of improving the quality and accessibility of public administration services. This year's prize-winners in the EuroCrest competition included the official websites of the cities and towns: Aizkraukle (Latvia), Siauliai (Lithuania), Gdansk (Poland), Nitra (Slovakia), Constanta (Romania) and Dobrich (Bulgaria).

As has become customary, the programme of the two conference days was very rich indeed. Discussed were a host of important topics aimed at developing information society mainly at local and regional levels. During this week and up to the end of April, we will offer on our website detailed information and statistical data on the course of the entire conference, including relevant materials.

At the present time, the conference proceedings and some audio and video recordings are already available. On the other hand, we would welcome your cooperation too. We will be grateful for any comments and suggestions you can send to the address isss@isss.cz. And we look forward to meeting you again at the ISSS/LORIS/V4DIS conference next year.