[Hpn] UN Technology Task Force seeks Internet & IT access for world's poor (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Sat, 24 Nov 2001 22:23:53 -0800

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20011120/tc/un_technology_gap_1.html FWD Associated Press - Tuesday November 20 2001 UN Task Force to Address Technology By ANICK JESDANUN, AP Internet Writer UNITED NATIONS (AP) - A new U.N. task force on technology pledged Tuesday to fight poverty, improve education and create jobs by expanding access to the Internet and other communications tools in the developing world. The task force joins scores of private and government initiatives already in place - but differs by tapping the United Nations' reputation and resources, members said during this week's inaugural meetings. ``In spite of the other initiatives, the task is still daunting,'' said Jose Maria Figueres, the task force chairman and former Costa Rican president. ``The U.N. has many additional, competitive advantages that the other initiatives don't have.'' Task force and U.N. officials believe technology will be important in fighting poverty, illiteracy, AIDS and societal ills identified during last year's U.N. Millennium Summit. ``The new technologies that are changing our world are not the panacea or magic bullet, but they are without a doubt powerful tools for development,'' U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in launching the task force. Officials were short on specifics. Figueres said the task force was still working on benchmarks by which to evaluate progress. One idea he identified involved giving developing countries free or subsidized access to the excess capacity the industrialized nations have in low-orbiting satellites. The task force also could help individual countries develop their technology strategies, he said. The 43-member task force is made of corporate executives, U.N. and government officials and leaders of nonprofit organizations that work on closing the gap between countries with and without access to technology. Members include John Chambers, chief executive of Cisco Systems Inc.; Zoe Baird, president of the Markle Foundation and James Wolfensohn, the president of the World Bank. The task force plans to work with a separate Digital Opportunities Task Force created by the Group of Eight - leaders of the seven richest industrialized nations and Russia. While the G-8 group focuses on specific initiatives, the U.N. task force is likely to address broader policies. The U.N. task force estimates it would need $5 million over three years for administrative operations. Though the task force won't fund initiatives directly, it hopes to find partners willing to contribute up to $50 million to such programs, according to a draft action plan. - On the Net: http://www.unicttaskforce.org END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** Visit HPN for CONSTANTLY UPDATING NEWS on Homeless People: *************************************************************** Over 10,000 articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people Been Homeless? Then JOIN! EMAIL Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***************************************************************