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International Telecommunication Union
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Pacific ICT Ministers set priorities to "connect the unconnected"

ITU launches new partnerships for ICT development in the Pacific

Geneva, 20 February 2009 — The Pacific ICT Ministerial Forum: Connecting the Unconnected wrapped up today in Nukualofa, Kingdom of Tonga. Thirteen ICT Ministers from Pacific Island Countries, including two Prime Ministers agreed to a set of priorities and actions to spur ICT development. The Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Mr Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, joined with partners to launch new complementary initiatives.

In a joint communiqué issued at the end of the Forum, participating governments called for greater coordination among partners to minimize overlap and maximize the impact of investments in ICT development projects. Ministers welcomed the Forum as a means of bringing partners together to share their activities and coordinate efforts. They agreed to explore the possible establishment of a Pacific association of regulators to harmonize activities. Ministers called for rapid implementation of regional connectivity initiatives and for reinforced efforts to build human capacity in ICT. They also directed officials to work towards establishing a shared regulatory resource centre at the earliest possible date and encouraged Island states to make full use of ICTs for early warning and response systems to improve disaster preparedness.

"The Pacific Island Countries have clearly stated their objectives and priorities," said Mr Al Basheer. "ITU is fully committed to work with our partners in delivering results for the Pacific Island States."

Mr Al Basheer announced several new partnerships to assist Pacific Island Countries. "We are building on the expertise and resources of all interested partners to reinforce our collective impact on ICT development in the Pacific," he said. Partnerships include collaboration with:

  • the European Commission and the Pacific Islands Telecommunication Association on two projects to strengthen ICT capacity building for policy-makers and regulators
  • Cisco Systems to expand technical ICT training for young people
  • Nokia Siemens Networks to test low cost solutions to connect rural villages
  • One Laptop Per Child to provide connected laptops for school children
  • The Prime Minister of Tonga Dr Feleti Sevele expressed his thanks to Mr Al Basheer for organizing the Forum as well as to Mr Jim Maraurai, Prime Minister of Cook Islands and Ministers and partners for their contributions. He said, "We leave this meeting with a renewed sense of optimism and solidarity, focused on tangible actions that we can implement in the coming months and years for the betterment of the Pacific region."

    For more information, click here or contact:

    Sanjay Acharya
    Chief, ITU Media Relations and Public Information
    Tel: +41 22 730 5046
    Mobile: +41 79 249 4861
    Ashish Narayan
    ITU Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
    Tel: +66 2 574 8565 ext. 113
    Mobile (in Tonga): +676 77 17752

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    Updated : 2009-02-20