Information and communications technologies (ICT) are crucial in spurring “development, dignity and peace,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today told a gathering of technology experts, activists, corporate leaders and government officials.
“Let us turn the digital divide into digital opportunity,” Mr. Ban said in a video message at the opening of the Steering Committee’s meeting of the Global Alliance for Information and Communications Technologies and Development, a UN initiative.
Governments, civil society, the private sector, academia and others must join forces to “promote new business models, public policies and technology solutions in the global approach to development,” he added.
Members of the Alliance will brainstorm with Silicon Valley leaders tomorrow to determine how the UN and the business world can work in tandem to bring the benefits of ICT to developing countries.
“Increasing access to technology will be a critical driver of economic growth in emerging economies,” said Craig Barrett, Global Alliance Chair and Intel Corporation Chairman. “It’s time to focus on actions with results, not protocol. Our focus can improve people’s lives.”
The Alliance was formed last year, and is “well placed to promote the use of ICT in fighting poverty, illiteracy and disease, in protecting the environment and empowering women and girls,” Mr. Ban said, underscoring how technology can be utilized to meet the Millennium Development Goals, a set of globally agreed targets that aim to deal with a host of social ills – including eradicating extreme poverty – by 2015.
This session held in Santa Clara, California, is the third since the Alliance’s creation last year and will span two days. At least 250 people are expected to attend.