|Frechette calls for Fund to bridge Digital
At an unprecedented three-day "high-level meeting" of the Economic
and Social Council (ECOSOC) on information technology, Deputy
Secretary-General Louise Frechette stressed the UN's role in ensuring
that the benefits of globalization reached all countries. "In
order to make real progress, we must make information technology
an integral component of all our development programmes", she
told delegates. Stressing the importance of obtaining practical
resources from the private sector, she suggested the establishment
of a Digital Bridge Fund to overcome a serious gap which should,
and could, be bridged.
The initiative by ECOSOC President, Ambassador Makarim Wibisono
of Indonesia, dealt with one of the most relevant issues in today's
communication field. The United Nations is the most appropriate
venue to deal with it. During debates on information technology
in the Committee on Information and other bodies, the gap between
those moving with the speed of light and others unable - or unlikely
- to advance at any speed, was a major concern. Ms. Frechette's
proposal, therefore, is not only timely in the professional sense,
but also meets an ascertained international need.
In order to build on the welcome ECOSOC initiative, it may be
worthwhile to prepare more substantively for the next meeting
in order to ensure professional "high-level" and wider participation.
A positive opportunity was created by that meeting. It could be
seized to highlight the UN truly at the centre of international
information technology. Possessing one of the best public Web
sites in today's world, the UN could, and should, play that role.