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International Telecommunication Union
For immediate release
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Global Forum for Least Developed Countries (LDC)
Focus is on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as an Economic Catalyst

Geneva, 15 June 2004 — The First Global ICT Forum for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), co-organized by ITU and the Commonwealth Business Council will be held in Mauritius from 7-9 July 2004. It will bring together high-level decision makers to identify innovative development solutions and practical strategies for deploying Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) projects to help integrate the poorest countries into the global economy.

The Global Forum is an essential step in meeting the targets for improved access and connectivity by 2015, endorsed by 175 Member States at the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). In order to achieve the vision of a global inclusive information society, as outlined by the WSIS Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action, the needs of the least developed countries must be accounted for. The scale and magnitude of this challenge makes partnership building essential.

The Forum will include a mixture of plenary and multi-stakeholder roundtables. A panel discussion will provide LDC ministers with an opportunity to give a first hand account of the challenges they face in overcoming obstacles to achieving development objectives such as the WSIS targets and the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"To leverage the potential of ICTs for sustainable universal access, a coordinated approach by all those involved is of paramount importance," said Hamadoun Touré, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. "The Global Forum provides a platform for the sharing of experiences and ideas, and the mapping out and coordination of strategies that can help the least developed countries in their effort to attain and even go beyond the Millennium Development Goals set to be achieved by 2015. Our actions must be complimentary to each other if the outcome is to be successful."

The Forum will also focus on identifying ICT projects that have been successfully implemented, projects that need support to continue and proposals for new projects and exchange of views with the donor community. As well, the private sector, in its role in supporting government initiatives through public-private partnerships, will showcase initiatives, strategies and products.

"The ICT Stakeholder forum is an ideal opportunity for ICT stakeholders from across the Commonwealth and beyond to interact. The Forum will achieve what most other similar events do not: results. And chiefly, Least Developed Countries have an unparalleled opportunity at the Forum to examine how ICTs can be deployed to help them achieve their Millennium Development Goals", said Dr Mohan Kaul, CEO of the Commonwealth Business Council.

More information including the full agenda is available here

For more information contact:

Dr Cosmas Zavazava
Head, Least Developed Countries Unit
Telecommunication Development Bureau
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Tel: +41 22 730 5447
Mr Shondeep Banerji
Programme Manager — ICT4D
Commonwealth Business Council (CBC)
Tel: +44 20 7024 8229

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Updated : 2004-10-27