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PaperSmart paperless UN meetings use of W3C endorsed formats only drawing fire

From: ProjectParadigm-ICT-Program <metadataportals@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2012 14:05:09 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <1339707909.45975.YahooMailNeo@web113811.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
To: "public-lod@w3.org" <public-lod@w3.org>, semantic-web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Dear All

The upcoming Rio +20 Conference (www.uncsd2012.org) will be utilising PaperSmart, see papersmart.un.org to eliminate the use of paper.

However the conference is not using generally accepted industry standards such as DOC or PDF for paperless documents.

On the webpage http://papersmart.un.org/commitments we find the following text

The ISPS Mission on Accessibility
We, at the 
Integrated Sustainable PaperSmart Services (ISPS) Secretariat, are 
committed to making our portal as well as information available on it 
accessible. We strongly believe in making information usable for 
‘everyone,’ especially when digital information becomes the only crucial means of accessing information by persons with disabilities.
Every effort has been made to comply with the Web Content Accessibility 
Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) 
standards under the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
ISPS will 
make reasonable efforts to provide or recommend alternatives wherever 
non-compliant, non-W3C formats (Flash, PDF etc.) or multimedia will be 

When we contacted the Secretariat we were informed very bluntly this is a PaperSmart meeting and we do not use ANY Word Office or Adobe PDF formats. They did not specify which formats were supported.

This issue is drawing fire from many civil society areas as restricting open access to documents available during this and other UN meetings and not endorsing industry standards.

The real cause for concern is the way the mention of W3C in this context can be construed in an unfavorable form.

The World Wide Web and Semantic Web Technologies specify specific standards but in practice internet browsers support a myriad of industry standards.

It seems that the PaperSmart program of the UN is putting a new spin on how we should have access to documents through the internet and it is not being well received by many.

I wonder if the W3C is really aware of this issue and how it may affect the image of the W3C

Milton Ponson
GSM: +297 747 8280
PO Box 1154, Oranjestad
Aruba, Dutch Caribbean
Project Paradigm: A structured approach to bringing the tools for sustainable development to all stakeholders worldwide by creating ICT tools for NGOs worldwide and: providing online access to web sites and repositories of data and information for sustainable development

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Received on Thursday, 14 June 2012 21:05:44 UTC

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