Cities have a crucial role to play in making science and technology work for the common good, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message to a meeting of mayors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
"The global test of technology will be to connect all the world's peoples with more equitable opportunities, and with another - for, in the end, it is the human network that sustains our progress and defines our success," the Secretary-General said in the statement delivered on his behalf by UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Kenzo Oshima.
Mr. Annan said cities acted as "engines of industry" by generating the wealth that fuelled nations, and as "engines of democracy" by gathering people to take decisions about the peaceful application of science and technology. "It is up to us to make those engines as clean, green and efficient as we can," he said.
The Secretary-General underscored the importance of such programmes as the UN Information Technology Service (UNITeS) that aim to provide better access to information and communication for the developing world. "Better communication translates directly into new prospects for long-distance education, microcredit schemes for rural businesses, and improved access to health services," he said.
The 5th World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-city Solidarity is taking place in Hiroshima and Nagasaki from 4-9 August.