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French Version

United Nations launch the Information and Communication Technologies task force

A United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force, to help build universal broad based partnerships and find creative means to spread the benefits of the digital revolution was officially launched and inaugurated by Secretary General Kofi Annan at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on November 20, 2001.

Mr. Annan called on the Task Force to 'help build digital bridges to the billions of people who are now trapped in extreme poverty, untouched by the digital revolution and beyond the reach of the global economy'.

The Task Force is an initiative that emerged from the Ministerial Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and was endorsed by over 150 heads of State who attended the Millennium Summit at the UN headquarters on September 2000, in their Millennium Declaration. The Task Force is designed to help bridge the digital divide and create digital opportunities for developing world. The Task Force will be an innovative public-private partnership under the United Nations umbrella, and the first body created by an intergovernmental decision in which Member States, the private Sector and the other stakeholders will participate as equal partners to place ICT at the service of development.

According to Mr. Annan, "the new technologies that are changing our world are not a panacea or a magic bullet. But they are, without doubt, enormously powerful tools for development." He added that they create jobs. They are transforming education, health care, commerce, politics and more. They can help in the delivery of humanitarian assistance and even contribute to peace and security.

The mission of the ICT Task Force will be to help harness the power of information and communication technologies for advancing the internationally agreed development goals of the Millennium Declaration. It aims also to provided a global forum for ICT Development related issues, including strategy infrastructure, enterprise, human capacity, content, applications, and smart partnerships together with sub regional, regional and international policy and governance issues related to the digital revolution, facilitating the effective participation of all countries in the decision making processes of international policy forum.

The Task Force's objective is to provide leadership to the United Nations in formulating strategies for the development of information and communication technologies and putting those technologies at the service of development. It is also to forge strategic partnerships between the United Nation's system, private industry, financing trusts and foundations, donors, programme countries, and other actors.

Mr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, the Chairman of Commission on Telecommunications, Information Technologies and E-Business at the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, & the founder & chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh International (TAGI), was recently chosen to join the UN ICT Task Force. "As a professional in the Arab World, I know what kinds of issues need to be addressed to bridge the digital divide," he said. " It requires widespread economic and structural reforms in the countries themselves, it demands the development of infrastructure and, perhaps most importantly, it requires education".

Mr. Annan stressed the important role played by all the stakeholders and that the taskforce won't be able to achieve its goals unless it is supported by all of them. He said, " The Task Force belongs to all of us—governments, civil society, the private sector, the organizations and agencies of the United Nations system. Let's nurture it together."

It is worth noting that the recently established task force is comprised of an unprecedented mixture of worldwide representatives from governments, the private sector, non governmental organizations (NGOs), foundations and United Nations bodies, of in a co-operative effort to build digital opportunities and leverage the multitude of efforts to bridge the digital divide.

TAGI Group
TAGI Group

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