Press Releases

    Note No. 5961
    9 September 2005

    Note to Correspondents

    United Nations to Hold High-Level Round-Table Forum on Science and Technology for Development, 13 September

    NEW YORK, 8 September (UN Headquarters) -- A high-level round table on the eve of the 2005 World Summit will bring together political and business leaders and other policy-makers to discuss the role that innovation and investment in science and technology, and especially information and communication technologies (ICTs), can play in achieving the internationally agreed development goals.

    The Global Round-Table Forum on Innovation and Investment:  Scaling science and technology to meet the Millennium Development Goals will be held on 13 September from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

    Confirmed participants include several Heads of State or Government:  Leonel Fernandez Reyna, President of the Dominican Republic; Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal; Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia; Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Prime Minister of Malaysia; Queen Noor of Jordan; Sir Martin Sorrell, Chairman of WPP; H. Brian Thompson, Chairman of Comsat International; Vinton Cerf, Senior Vice-President of MCI and one of the "fathers" of the Internet; Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University; Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid; Ana Maria Cetto, Deputy Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); John Gage, World Technology Ambassador of Sun Microsystems; and Muhammed Yunus, Chairman and CEO of Grameen Bank, Bangladesh.

    The Round Table will address, among other things, ways to mobilize untapped opportunities for ICT and science, technology and innovation (STI) in advancing development; using the power of private sector-led growth within a supportive public sector; putting STI and ICT to work for the Millennium Development Goals; and best practices and successes in developing countries in creating a favourable investment climate.

    "Science, technology, innovation and especially ICT can play a critical role in development and poverty eradication", said José Antonio Ocampo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Chairman of the United Nations ICT Task Force.  "The millennium development agenda is still achievable globally and in most or even all countries, but only if we break with business as usual and dramatically accelerate action until 2015, beginning over the next 12 months."

    The event aims at energizing world leaders about the role STI and ICT can play to address the needs of the poor and to achieve the goals of the Millennium Declaration, particularly in the areas of health, education, gender equity and good governance.  It seeks to engage the private sector and civil society and to create partnerships and support for STI and ICT for development.  The immediate goal is to generate action and support around a number of quick-win, fast-tracked or even large-scale initiatives for STI, ICT and the Millennium Development Goals.

    "Networks of connectivity and infrastructure, both physical and electronic, are stabilizing factors that lead to development, security and human rights", Mr. Ocampo said.  "And from Africa to East Asia,

    the challenge of scaling up physical connectivity, such as roads, water, sanitation, power, makes the goal of electronic connectivity -- telecommunications, ICT, media -- more vital than ever."

    The event is organized by the secretariat of the United Nations ICT Task Force and the United Nations Millennium Project, in association with the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP).

    For further information, please contact Enrica Murmura at the UN ICT Task Force secretariat, tel. (212) 963 5913, e-mail: murmura@un.org ; or Denis Gilhooly, e-mail: gilhooly@un.org .

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