Today, UNCDF intervened at the 13th Infopoverty World Conference taking place on 25-26 March 2013 at the UN Headquarters in New York and in other centers connected by videoconference. This year’s Conference is co-organized by OCCAM, the United Nations (Division for Social Policy and Development – Department of Economic and Social Affairs), the European Parliament and the Infopoverty Institute at the University of Oklahoma, and focuses on: ‘ICTs for Nation Building and to Empower People’.
At the present stage of the incumbent digital revolution, facing dramatic events that are changing every aspect of society, from finance to economy, to development strategies, it is important to highlight the efforts of many Countries, which have launched or are launching national digital plans, regarded as strategic tools for development towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the empowerment of people and focused on poverty eradication, employment and decent work and social integration, in particular for women.
Even in recent times, many consider Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as an accelerator of old praxes, while now it is well understood that they have a strength of their own, which tends to upturn old paradigms and regimes, creating unprecedented forms of development. While industrialized Countries are struggling to fully exploit the potentials of the digital era, emerging Countries are reaping its most innovative aspect, which is the possibility to swiftly acquire competences at low cost so to empower people, with crucial implications in regards to poverty eradication.
The Infopoverty World Conference, at its 13th edition, also highlights the role digital revolution and innovation in general can have to play in the efforts of international organizations towards the achievement of their aims.
“At the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), we share the view that in the 21st century, Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) are a key enabling infrastructure for sustainable development,” said Marc Biclher, UNCDF Executive Secretary. “We understand that the access of individuals or organizations to ICTs alone is not a development outcome in itself. But like ports, access roads and cellphone networks before, ICTs carry the promise to accelerate the delivery of social services, especially into remote areas, and to establish and improve the link of local economic actors to markets and business opportunities, creating jobs and contributing to inclusive growth along the way. As such, an adequate ICT infrastructure can act as an important vector for socio-economic development.”
“On the basis of existing and field proven technology – and together with UNDP – UNCDF will explore in the months to come to what extent ICTs can be usefully integrated as an enabler in its development support programs to promote financial inclusion, social service delivery and economic development, at the local level. In doing so, we will also look out for positive implications that improved access to ICTs could generate with regard to other development challenges”, Bichler added.
Established in 2011 under the auspices of the United Nations, the Infopoverty World Conference has become an event of critical importance, devoted to the role the digital revolution can play in development strategies and contributing to the fight against poverty with innovative and appropriate use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs).