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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

ITU, Microsoft collaborate on MDGs

WORLD telecommunications regulatory agency of the United Nations (UN), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and software giant, Microsoft Corporation have concluded plans for collaboration to make the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This follows the meeting between the Microsoft Chairman, Mr. Bill Gates and ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun Touré in Redmond, WA, United States of America (USA) last Thursday.

Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU, Mr. Sanjay Acharya disclosed in a press statement made available to ITRealms that the meeting held among the two was along with a high-level ITU delegation including the Director of the ITU Standardization Bureau, Mr. Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Development Bureau, Mr. Sami Al Basheer, and Ms Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership.

According to him, it aimed at extending the collaboration between ITU and Microsoft, as such, discussions ranged from improving education through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), developing digital resources, providing access to low-cost ICT devices and building human capacity to expanding e-health services and other e-applications.

At the meeting, Mr. Bill Gates emphasized that ICT is a key component for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and expressed interest in ITU’s standardization work, especially on audio and video coding.

Dr. Touré explained that by connecting the world and fulfilling everyone’s fundamental right to communicate, the world could be a better and safer place.
“Connectivity must be our focus for the coming years to empower people everywhere with access to information on healthcare, agriculture and the environment,” he told Mr. Gates.

Toure stressed that his dream is to connect the world and he hopes that Microsoft would join in fulfilling this dream.

Focusing on ITU’s Global Cybersecurity Agenda (GCA), 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 reinforced the need to empower women and youth and to stimulate job creation in developing countries, saying that human capacity building is the cornerstone of development.

Dr Touré later sought for collaboration between Microsoft and his office 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.

ITRealms recalls that Microsoft under its Unlimited Potential Initiative (UPI), has a specific focus to enable sustained social and economic opportunity for those in the middle and the bottom of the world’s economic pyramid - the next five billion people.

Equally discussed was ways to cooperate with technology companies like Microsoft to explore the options for shared access and inexpensive ICT devices, including mobile smart-phones and low-cost notebooks.


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