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UN launches new intiative to bridge digital divide
DigitalMediaEurope (Sean Cornwell)Jun 21 2004original
Posted by giovaJun 25 2004 - 13:38
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which aims at the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy, is launching a new partnership on Information and Communication Technologies for Development.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which aims at the development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy, is launching a new partnership on Information and Communication Technologies for Development to build concrete strategies to improve access to and use of ICT applications to enhance the economic competitiveness of developing countries.

The partnership will focus on the following key areas: (a) measuring the information society, (b) e-tourism, (c) ICT policies in developing countries, (d) e-finance for small and medium-size enterprises, and (e) free and open-source software.

Led by UNCTAD, an effort is under way in the international community to collaborate in helping developing countries develop the ICT data and indicators necessary for monitoring and benchmarking their information societies, and for measuring the digital divide. This effort brings together key stakeholders involved in the statistical measurement of ICT, including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UNCTAD, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Regional Commissions (ECA, ECLAC, ESCAP, ESCWA), the World Bank and the United Nations ICT Task Force.

The partners have agreed to work together to define and collect a set of common ICT indicators and to assist developing countries in producing information society statistics. This will be key to measuring the socio-economic impact of ICT and their potential contribution to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

"Our collective challenge", says Richard Simpson, Director General, Industry Canada, on behalf of the UN ICT Task Force, "is to clearly demonstrate the contribution ICT makes to the global development agenda, notably to achieving the eight goals set by world leaders in 2000."

UNCTAD will contribute by assisting developing countries in their efforts to produce e-business statistics, and by developing a database on e-business in developing countries as an input to a global ICT database to be developed by partners, and to UNCTAD´s annual E-Commerce and Development Report.
 


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