U.N.-Backed Alliance Aims To Improve Technology In Latin America

The organization wants to use information and communications technology to address social and economic problems in the region.
The United Nations has established a networked group of information and communication technology specialists to help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean use technology to fight poverty and promote development.

The group, part of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development, brought experts together to talk about policies and strategies for achieving the Millennium Development Goals; how innovation can eradicate poverty; how e-government can promote citizen participation, accountability, transparency, and efficiency; and how to bring information and communications technology into the mainstream.

After a two-day meeting of 100 experts in El Salvador last week, members made several recommendations to the Second Ministerial Conference on the Information Society in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The group recommended coordinating telecommunications regulations and universal access with social policies to evaluate the value of subsidies. To combat poverty, it recommended developing content and applications in mobile telephony; directing universal access funds to expand infrastructure and capacity; and measuring network coverage, access, and spending.

The U.N.-backed organization also recommended improved interoperability to benefit from economies of scale in terms of e-government applications and the promotion of such applications at the local level. Finally, it stressed the need for additional support for private-sector innovation and a mechanism to encourage coordination.

The group said it will continue to assess the needs and resources in the region and establish links among stakeholders to create and promote an agenda for action.

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