Press Releases

    PI/1622
    17 November 2004

    UN Information and Communication Technologies Task Force to Meet in Berlin, 19-20 November

    NEW YORK, 16 November (UN Headquarters) -- “Promoting an enabling environment for digital development” will be the theme of the seventh meeting of the United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force, to be held on 19 and 20 November in Berlin, hosted by the German Foreign Ministry.

    The issue will be addressed at a Global Forum attended by nearly 300 practitioners from the public and private sectors, academia and civil society.  Among the participants are Italy’s Minister for Innovation and Technology Lucio Stanca; Mozambique’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Lidia Brito; China’s Vice-Minister of Information Industry Guo Hua Xi; Hewlett Packard Vice-President Maureen Conway and NOKIA Senior Vice-President Veli Sundback.  Also participating are Bernhard Rohleder, Chief Executive Officer of BITKOM-German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media; Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Chief Executive Officer, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organization; David A. Gross, Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy, United States Department of State, and other leading representatives of the ICT for development community.

    Task Force members feel that an enabling environment is indispensable for creating a global, development-oriented information society.  This involves establishing a legal and policy framework that encourages investment, innovation and entrepreneurship; promoting regulatory regimes conducive to the elimination of barriers for competition; supporting the creation of ICT-for-development policies and national e-strategies; and stimulating the application of ICTs in sectors such as education, health, e-government and e-commerce.

    The Forum will address two main areas -- policy and regulatory issues, and financing ICT for development.

    The event will open on 19 November at 9 a.m. with a statement by Jose-Antonio Ocampo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.  The first morning session will focus on the role of different parties in fostering an environment that encourages the use of ICT for development.  A panel discussion will then address policy and regulatory issues, including promoting competition and market development, supporting institution and capacity building, and reducing barriers to building infrastructure and providing affordable access.

    The afternoon session will address financing ICT for development, covering issues such as the effectiveness of conventional financing mechanisms, the changing roles of the public, private and non-profit sectors, and ways to maximize the impact of development financing.

    Participants will then break in three groups that will define proposals for policy and regulatory issues, new models for financing ICT for development, and promoting private-sector investment and entrepreneurship.

    Meeting again on 20 November at 9 a.m., participants will consider the outcome of the break-out sessions.  The final session will focus on future action, collaboration and partnerships to engage all interested parties.

    In the afternoon, the members of the Task Force will hold a closed meeting, which will include, among other things, the election of the Bureau for 2004-2005.

    The outcome of the Global Forum -- a summary of its proceedings and proposals for action -- will be submitted to the Secretary-General’s Task Force on Financial Mechanisms and to the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on the Information Society, which will hold its second meeting next February in Geneva.

    Established by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2001, the United Nations ICT Task Force brings together representatives of governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations in a global effort to harness the immense potential of ICT for promoting development.

    For more information, please contact:  Enrica Murmura, Task Force Secretariat, tel.:  +39 338 302 5554, e-mail:  murmura@un.org; Arne Molfenter, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.:  +49 177 777 1115 or +49 228 815 2773, e-mail:  molfenter@un.org; or the Task Force Secretariat, tel.:  +49 30 5000-2461/2462/2463.  Website:  http://www.unicttaskforce.org/.

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