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UN Launches Global Tech Alliance

It's one of a series of organized global efforts to promote technology initiatives, especially in developing countries. The alliance will encourage businesses and civic groups to help bridge the digital divide.
The United Nations is launching a Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development in Kuala Lumpur today.

Intel Corporation Board Chairman Craig Barrett chairs the alliance, which is one of a series of organized global efforts to promote technology initiatives, especially in developing countries. The alliance will encourage businesses and civic groups to help bridge the digital divide.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan approved the alliance in April as part of a larger effort to stress that information and communication technologies are essential for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

The goals include eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, fighting HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other disease, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.

UN Under-Secretary-General Jose Antonio Ocampo said through a prepared statement that Barrett has led the way in advancing the objectives of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and promoting a universal and inclusive information society.

Barrett participated in the WSIS held last November in Tunis, Tunisia. He advocates improving education worldwide and using technology to raise global social and economic standards.

Intel plans to spend more than $1 billion over the next five years to promote accessibility, connectivity and education through its World Ahead Program.

Robert Lifton, chairperson of the board and chief executive officer of Medis Technologies Ltd., said during a small UN technology gathering in January that he believes communication and information technology and private enterprise hold great potential for solving old problems.

In another technology initiative, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific opened the UN's first Information and Communications Technology for Development and Training. The same day, Microsoft pledged support for the facility, which will be a resource for policy-makers, ICT professionals and trainers from developing nations.