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Broadband Commission for Digital Development
Photo credit: © Sean Gladwell 20/Alamy

A global partnership to promote high-speed connections

ITU and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) are in the process of establishing a Broadband Commission for Digital Development. The Commission will seek to promote the use of high-speed broadband communication networks worldwide to help accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs. Agreed by all United Nations Member States in the year 2000, most of the MDGs remain off track, particularly in developing countries, amid a climate of global economic downturn.

The Commission has the full backing of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and will be chaired by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, with ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré and UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova holding the vice-chairmanship. The Commission will be made up of a group of eminent global leaders from government, business, civil society and international organizations, who will serve as commissioners. ITU and UNESCO are currently finalizing the list of commissioners.

With only five months to go before the 2010 MDG Summit in New York in September, more efforts are needed to put on track the goals of poverty, education, gender equality, health and environmental protection. “In the 21st century, affordable, ubiquitous broadband networks will be as critical to social and economic prosperity as networks such as transport, water and power,” says Dr Touré.

A meeting of the Broadband Commission is planned in June 2010 in Geneva. The Commission plans to prepare a report to be presented at the 2010 MDG Summit.


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