A recent U.N. Summit called
for an “inclusive information society,” and outlined a
goal for developing information technology in
undeveloped countries. Representatives of 176 countries
came together to endorse not only a Declaration of
Principles, but also a Plan of Action setting forth a
road map to get the job done.
The three-day Summit was the
first multi-stakeholder global effort to share and shape
the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs)
for a better world. It included more than 300 side
meetings, all geared to identifying the means of
manifesting the vision of a world in which all people
have access to information. A huge assortment of experts
attended the meetings, from policy makers to business
executives and IT wizards to non-governmental
organizations and scholars.
included Cisco, ITU, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, all
of whom offered solutions to move the project ahead.
Cisco and ITU plan to open 20 training centers for
information technology and Internet. Hewlett Packard
will provide low cost products to help overcome the
illiteracy barrier. Microsoft will provide a billion
dollar program to bring ICT skills to underdeveloped
The summit succeeded in its
main goal of making an inclusive information society a
top priority for both government and non-government
entities. Now the real work begins.
By 2015, the target is to
bring ICT to within reach of half the world’s population
by linking schools, villages, governments and hospitals.
A second Summit is planned for Tunis in 2005, at which
time progress will be measured.
The impact of this type of
communications growth looms large on the public
relations Richter scale. With the ability to reach
expanded markets at unprecedented levels, companies that
begin planning now will reap the largest rewards.