UN agency and Microsoft plan increased collaboration

26 June 2008

The head of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates have discussed enhancing their collaboration on using information technology to spur development around the world.

During a meeting with Microsoft officials in Redmond in the United States, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said that connecting the world and fulfilling everyone’s fundamental right to communicate could make the world a better and safer place.

“Connectivity must be our focus for the coming years to empower people everywhere with access to information on health care, agriculture and the environment,” Dr. Touré told Mr. Gates, according to a statement released by the ITU today. “My dream is to connect the world and I hope that Microsoft will join me in fulfilling this dream.”

Dr Touré highlighted the importance of internet safety for children and his plans to launch a global coalition to focus on protecting children in cyberspace. He is seeking collaboration with Microsoft to promote digital literacy in ITU’s Internet Training Centres and to make libraries of digital resources available in schools and other institutions in developing countries.

ITU also discussed ways to cooperate with technology companies such as Microsoft to explore the options for shared access and inexpensive information devices, including mobile smartphones and low-cost notebooks.

At the meeting, Mr. Gates emphasized that information and communication technologies are a key component for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He expressed interest in ITU’s standardization work, especially on audio and video coding.

In collaboration with Microsoft, ITU has developed an online information platform called “Global View.”

 

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